HOUSTON – June 18, 2020 – The Spring ISD Board of Trustees recently caught up virtually with the monthly winners of the Spring ISD Employee Excellence Award for February, March, April and May 2020. Although recent awards ceremonies had been postponed due to COVID-19, the board members used videoconferencing to surprise the recipients in the middle of online faculty gatherings, virtual department check-ins and end-of-year campus meetings.
Lula Coleman, Salyers Elementary School
Salyers Elementary School staff member Lula Coleman was recognized as the February 2020 Employee Excellence Award recipient. Coleman – who on any given day might be found working as a front office assistant, a copy room clerk, a book-room clerk, or a substitute teacher – was praised for never hesitating to step in and help wherever needed.
“Ms. Coleman, I understand you are a lady of many, many talents,” Newhouse said. “I don’t know how Salyers could run without you.”
Salyers Principal Sharon Carpenter agreed, saying that Coleman was a key team member who helped keep the school running smoothly. She congratulated Coleman with flowers and thanked trustees for helping spotlight employee excellence at the district’s schools.
“Thank you, Ms. Newhouse,” Carpenter said, “and all the rest of the board, for the recognition for Ms. Coleman. We all work so hard, but she truly is deserving of this honor.”
Mary Branch, Dekaney High School
Dekaney High School Head Custodian Mary Branch was honored as the March 2020 award recipient. She was nominated for her leadership skills, for the pride she takes in her work, and for her dedication to serving the students of Dekaney – taking the time to build positive relationships with them and encouraging them to always do their best and be successful.
“You have been a dedicated employee,” Newhouse told Branch during an online staff meeting with Dekaney teachers and administrators. “Someone said you are transforming the nation. You go above and beyond securing your campus, keeping it immaculate.”
Before coming to Dekaney, Branch worked on the team at Claughton Middle School when Trustee Justine Durant’s daughter attended the school. Durant said she had seen firsthand Branch’s caring nature, dedication, and compassion in action.
“I love my job, and I sure love these children,” Branch said. “It has been a great pleasure to work for the district and see it grow and change in the time that I have been here.”
Sherry Osgood, Technology Department
Student Information Systems Analyst Sherry Osgood, a member of the district’s technology department, was awarded the excellence recognition for April 2020. Osgood’s efforts help ensure the reliability of Spring ISD student data and support the day-to-day work of a wide range of employees across the district’s campuses and administrative departments who depend on the timeliness and accuracy of the information in the system.
“Your department thinks very highly of you,” Newhouse said during a virtual technology team meeting called by Information Technology Officer Jeff Kohrman. Newhouse went on to describe Osgood as a committed team player who regularly goes the extra mile without asking for special treatment, recognition or reward.
“You’re one of those people who just want to make things go right, and you always do,” Newhouse said. “When things are going wrong, we never know it, because you’re in the background working to make sure that issues are corrected and things are going right.”
Newhouse and the other board members took the opportunity to thank Osgood and the entire technology team for helping the district end the 2019-20 school year successfully, despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 and the campus closures.
“Thank you all very much,” Osgood said. “I don’t even know what to say, but thank you.”
Natasha Punch, Jenkins Elementary School
Finally, Jenkins Elementary School Paraprofessional Natasha Punch received the award for the month of May 2020. A dedicated educator with many years of experience working in special education, Punch was singled out for her ongoing commitment to serving students with special needs, as well as for being supportive of students and fellow staff members even in the most challenging situations.
“I think you need to know that they think that you are absolutely the glue that holds the program together,” Newhouse told Punch after a brief welcome from Jenkins Principal Tiffany Weston. Newhouse went on to describe Punch’s untiring efforts, incredible patience and caring nature as gifts to the entire Jenkins community.
“You should feel appreciated,” Newhouse said, “because you deserve the recognition for the hard work that you’ve done. Working in special education is not that easy, and the bond that you have with your students and your staff and faculty there, it’s tops, and we just want you to know that we appreciate so very much the things that you have done.”
Weston described Punch as a humble individual and as an asset to the school, always ready to lend a helping hand in support of students and fellow team members.
“Thank you so much, I really appreciate this,” Punch said. “I just do it because I love my job, and I appreciate this so much.”
All four employees received a framed certificate and a special Spring ISD recognition pin, along with a check for $100. Coleman, Branch, Osgood and Punch were nominated through the district’s “elevate” online submission form. Any employee, parent, or community member can enter a nomination on the site. To learn more, or to nominate a Spring ISD employee for a future award, visit www.springisd.org/employee-recognition.