HOUSTON — May 3, 2019 — More than 600 people turned out Thursday night for Spring ISD’s annual Employee Recognition Banquet that culminated in the naming of Eboni Jenerette of Twin Creeks Middle School as the secondary teacher of the year and Courtney Hamlyn-Rice of Thompson Elementary School as the elementary teacher of the year.
The top honors came with a special surprise, courtesy of Planet Ford, which gave a new vehicle to Jenerette — either a Ford Fusion or Escape — and a fully paid cruise for Hamlyn-Rice. The two teachers were announced as the winners in the district’s Teacher of the Year program that included 10 finalists.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Jenerette after hearing her name called by Planet Ford’s Shawn Burns. “I’m just grateful to be able to represent my village.”
Burns told the audience it was a difficult decision to pick just two recipients from a field of such worthy educators but said that both Jenerette and Hamlyn-Rice distinguished themselves through their excellent work.
Excellence was the theme throughout the evening, designed to celebrate teachers, substitutes, staff and retirees for contributions to the district and its students. Khambrel Marshall of KPRC Local 2 served as the emcee of the evening, which also featured performances by students from both Spring and Westfield high schools.
“This event is truly a special occasion,” said Board President Rhonda Newhouse. “There is no one more important to Spring ISD than each of you sitting in the audience tonight. Without your work and dedication, our district would not be the special place that it is.”
The dinner event was held for the first time ever in the Houston CityPlace Marriott at Springwoods Village, with a program that featured not only the campus Teachers of the Year, but the district’s Rookie Teachers of the Year, Substitute Teachers of the Year and Principals of the Year.
In addition, eight staff members who received the Employee Excellence Award during the school year were recognized. Among those, Westfield High School Counselor Dr. Clara Lauderdale was selected as the grand prize winner and presented with a $1,000 check by the Board of Trustees.
Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of service awards for employees with 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years of service given to only one employee — Renee J. Jones, a Special Education Aide at Salyers Elementary.
“Your dedication is commendable,” Marshall told the longtime employee, who was also invited to the stage for a special photo with Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson.
Spring ISD Chief of Human Resources Deeone McKeithan thanked everyone for attending the banquet and the evening’s sponsors for making it possible. In addition to Planet Ford, the sponsors included the Houston CityPlace Marriott at Springwoods Village, Thompson & Horton LLP, and the University of Texas at Arlington Online.