HOUSTON – April 26, 2019 – Brooke McClinton wasn’t expecting district administrators with balloons and flowers at her Clark Primary prekindergarten class, but that was exactly what came through her door Thursday as she was congratulated for being named Spring ISD’s Elementary Rookie Teacher of the Year.
Her principal Cynthia Gomez, wiped away a tear, as she expressed pride in her first-year teacher. “As a new teacher, she is very successful because she is very open to coaching, always, and feedback. And she always wants to do better,” Gomez said..
McClinton echoed that sentiment as she thanked the administrative team, saying, “It was easy to want to do better when I have such great support here.”
McClinton attended Texas A&M University and thought her favorite grade to teach would be second grade, but her first year at Clark Primary has showed her the power of Pre-K.
“We initiate our scholars’ very first experience in school,” she said. “It is our job to make it a positive one.”
Chief Human Resources Officer Deeone McKeithan said that the effort that McClinton makes for her students is just what his department seeks in a teacher. “What we recruit for is exactly what I’m able to see here in the classroom,” McKeithan said. “A passionate teacher who is excited about the work and what we stand for here in Spring ISD.”
On the other side of the district, another first-year teacher also received a happy interruption to his class on Thursday.
Steven Herbert was certifying students at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School in Basic Life Support, when his principal announced that he had been named as the district’s Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year.
Herbert was an Emergency Medical Technician before joining the teaching staff at Wunsche. With some experience in training other EMTs, and his desire to bring that experience to high school students, Principal Andria Schur said that Herbert was a natural fit for the career academy.
Herbert spoke of the district’s professional development opportunities that provided him with the idea of simulating “real-life” emergency medical situations in his classroom. “The class buzzes with excitement every day. My pupils stop by at transition just to find out what we will be working on today,” said Herbert.
Chief of School Leadership and Student Support Services Dr. Lupita Hinojosa said that both of the rookie teachers took advantage of the solid and consistent staff support that is a major component of the district’s five-year strategic plan.
“We want to grow and develop great talent. And both teachers that we have seen today have taken everything that we’ve given whether its training, coaching or resources that we provide, they have taken that and utilized it for the benefit of our students,” she said..
Assistant Superintendent of Performance Management Dr. LaQuita Carter said that the two district rookie teachers are selected from a field of campus rookie teachers. Those teachers are nominated by their peers and administrators at the campus, then submit to an interview process at the district level.
“This selection process is extremely rigorous, yet our teachers were so amazing that it made the process one that we really had a hard time selecting the district rookie teacher of the year,” said Carter.