Staff recognition events honor Spring ISD employees for excellence, dedicated years of service

Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year surprised with new car and vacation, courtesy of Planet Ford

by Spring ISD

Olivia Ruiz started the day as she usually does, flipping on the lights in her third-grade classroom at Northgate Crossing Elementary, ready to welcome students in one of the last weeks of the school year.

She ended the day, to her surprise, with a brand-new car.

The dual-language teacher was named the Spring ISD Elementary Teacher of the Year, and with that recognition she won a brand new 2022 Ford Escape, courtesy of Planet Ford. It was part of the Employee Recognition Banquet, one of a pair of events this week that honored district staff and teachers.

The other event, the Rookie Teachers of the Year ceremony, celebrated those who were named by their respective campuses as the best of the first-year teachers.

For Ruiz, it was a night to remember.

“I was just so grateful to be in the room with so many wonderful educators,” she said. “Knowing that I’ve had so much support over the years — from my principals, from my family and friends. My reaction was just a sense of elation, gratitude, and definitely surprise. I just feel wonderful.”

The Secondary Teacher of the Year, Anita Foreman from Wells Middle School, was also surprised by her win — an all-expenses-paid trip, also courtesy of Planet Ford, which served as the platinum sponsor of the event.

“I am so excited. I am joyful, for sure,” the sixth-grade reading and language arts teacher said. “It’s just a blessing to be honored and recognized amongst all these great teachers in the district. This award, this vacation, has empowered me to go and do even more to effectively teach future generations.”

Employee Recognition Banquet Event: Download Photos

At the Employee Recognition Banquet, along with the Teachers of the Year, many other employees were celebrated, including those retiring from the district, Stellar Service staff who have been with Spring ISD for 20 or more years, winners of the Board of Trustees Employee Excellence Awards, and Principals of the Year.

Earlier in the week, at the Rookie Teachers of the Year event, more than 30 teachers were celebrated for excelling at what many consider the hardest year of a teaching career — the first. 

As each campus was recognized, Mae Armstrong, from Burchett Elementary, sat at her table waiting for her name to be called. The “rookie” teacher title was a bit of a misnomer, as Armstrong spent more than a decade teaching in her native Philippines before moving to the United States.

But the recognition was still important for the inclusion teacher. She started at Burchett in January 2020, just a few months before her classrooms went entirely virtual due to the pandemic.

“It was difficult teaching virtually. Learning the new classroom, the new school, and having to be virtual at the same time was an adjustment,” Armstrong said. “But since I had all my team, my awesome school and principal, they were able to guide and help me. I am so grateful for them.”

Both events were a return to relative normal, after two years of either canceled or highly modified events due to the pandemic. The sense of excitement at both celebrations was obvious, not just for the honorees and winners, but for the chance to return to traditions.

“This is our tradition. This is a time we get to recognize all of our employees across the district,” Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa said. “It is just an amazing time of the year for us here in Spring ISD to recognize all of our employees and the amazing work they do every single day for us, and most importantly for our children.”

Rookie Teachers of the Year

  • Milton Holmes, Dekaney High School
  • Sean Gill, Spring High School
  • Samuel Lopez, Spring Early College Academy
  • Linda Do, Carl Wunsche Sr. High School
  • Reagan Reyna, Bailey Middle School
  • Summer Woods, Claughton Middle School
  • Russell Savage, Dueitt Middle School
  • Lucero Priego-Pineda, Roberson Middle School
  • Kavin Green, Spring Leadership Academy
  • Abram Guerra, Twin Creeks Middle School
  • Jalon Lathan, Bammel Elementary School
  • Darius Brown, School for Int. Studies at Bammel PK-8
  • Chelsea Cook, Booker Elementary School
  • Mae Armstrong, Burchett Elementary School
  • Robert Walker, Clark Primary School
  • Megan Collins, Cooper Elementary School
  • Sa’Teal White, Eickenroht Elementary
  • Carin HaeHae, Hirsch Elementary School
  • Essynce Davis, Hoyland Elementary School
  • Sandra Martinez-Zuniga, Jenkins Elementary School
  • Alexus Hollis, Lewis Elementary School
  • LaToya Carson, Link Elementary School
  • Ishrika Miller, Major Elementary School
  • Priscilla Oyervides, McNabb Elementary School
  • Michelle Conti, Northgate Crossing Elementary School
  • Shanekia Hall, Ponderosa Elementary School
  • Wallace Wilson, Reynolds Elementary School
  • Shantavia Reddick, Smith Elementary School
  • Isla Lewis, The International School At Salyers
  • Gevanna Robinson, Thompson Elementary School
  • Andrea Arevalo, Winship Elementary School

Rookie Teachers of the Year: Download Photos


  • Mary Abbott
  • Alma Alanis
  • Josefina Alexander
  • Alfred Amendola
  • Pamela Anderson
  • Kimberly Arnold
  • Sherial Atkinson
  • Leslie Barnhouse
  • Vevian Barrow
  • Ronny Bennett
  • Luther Berry
  • Gilbert Bigham
  • Edwin Bigsby
  • Michelle Braaten
  • Janet Brink
  • Darrell Burns
  • Linda Caden
  • Victoria Campbell
  • Beatriz Cardona
  • Sharon Carpenter
  • Omar Casazza
  • Gladis Castaneda
  • Alice Clark
  • Debbie Combs
  • Trent Cooper
  • William Davis
  • Janet Diaz
  • Derek Dow
  • Marla Estes
  • Rikki Fruen
  • Patricia Garrett
  • Lana Gaspar
  • Gene Gealow
  • Sharon Gibson
  • Cathy Gokey
  • Maria Gomez
  • Simona Gutierrez
  • Robert Hanchett
  • Toni Hart
  • Lori Hawkins
  • Kimberly Hayden
  • Darlene Johnson
  • Patricia Johnson
  • Solomon Johnson
  • Diane Kamradt
  • Bonnie Khan
  • Diana Kimberly
  • Melody Labauve
  • Lloyd Lamb
  • Myra Leslie
  • Annemarie Little
  • Antonia Longoria
  • Beth Lopez
  • Cindy Lunsford
  • Julie Martin
  • Gerry Mattern
  • Julieta Mazuera
  • Chestina Mcbeth
  • Sandra Mclain
  • Shake Mohamed
  • Margret Morris
  • Veronica Morris
  • Deborah Nelson
  • Son Nguyen
  • Billy Noske
  • Kevin Nunn
  • Holly Ocanas
  • John Olivarez
  • Nieves Ortega
  • Jeanne Parker
  • Lisa Pemelton
  • Rebecca Perez-Rangel
  • Maria Phalen
  • Hoa Phan
  • Penny Ragland
  • Donald Riles
  • Donna Riojas
  • Anna Robelia
  • Dorothy Robertson
  • Mary Rodarte
  • Sherry Runton
  • Bern Saintes
  • Audrey Scott
  • Rebecca Scott
  • Marsha Seals
  • Mary Simmons
  • Carl Smith
  • Sonia Spencer
  • Judith Stadler
  • Lina Swanson
  • David Taylor
  • Pamela Terasaki
  • Dolores Tomarelli
  • Arlinda Turner
  • Darrell Turner
  • Cristino Valiente
  • Jorge Vallejo
  • Elizabeth Varela
  • Jennifer Walker
  • Leslie White
  • Barbara Wingardh

20 Years of Service

  • Penny Ragland
  • Donald Riles
  • Donna Riojas
  • Anna Robelia
  • Dorothy Robertson
  • Mary Rodarte
  • Sherry Runton
  • Bern Saintes
  • Audrey Scott
  • Rebecca Scott
  • Marsha Seals
  • Mary Simmons
  • Carl Smith
  • Sonia Spencer
  • Judith Stadler
  • Lina Swanson
  • David Taylor
  • Pamela Terasaki
  • Dolores Tomarelli
  • Arlinda Turner
  • Darrell Turner
  • Cristino Valiente
  • Jorge Vallejo
  • Elizabeth Varela
  • Jennifer Walker
  • Leslie White
  • Barbara Wingardh
  • Cynthia Adams
  • Myrna Adriano
  • Patricia Alcazar
  • Barbara Bennett
  • Vivian Bernardi
  • Matthew Bowden
  • Jeffrey Brennan
  • Jamie Brown
  • Amy Carbo
  • Noemi Carrillo
  • Tyria Chase
  • Lillia Corona
  • Ana De Lopez
  • Geraldine Dupas
  • Angela Edwards
  • Michelle Elmore
  • Shanell Felder
  • Barbara Flores
  • Patricia Fruit
  • Laurie Gabik
  • Sonia Garcia
  • Jessica Gilland
  • Shelly Gloria
  • Jennifer Gustavus
  • Christy Hedrick
  • Lafeta Henson
  • Maria Hernandez
  • Justina Iyere
  • Chandra Johnson-Pearson
  • Lana Kennedy
  • Nan Kiesewetter
  • Joyce Kwarteng
  • Shujan Majano
  • Mireya Mares-Torres
  • Chestina Mcbeth
  • Florence Mckelvy-Guinn
  • Sara Mclain
  • Maria Mendoza
  • Ingrid Miller
  • Isabel Montoya
  • Sandra Moore
  • Bertha Nunez
  • Daniel Ponce
  • Lucy Pulido
  • Kimberly Rose
  • Kathy Runyon
  • Magdalena Saenz
  • Kimberly Sharp
  • Mark Shirey
  • Stacy Smith
  • Susanna Solano
  • Hilda Velasquez
  • Jose Velasquez
  • Maryjean Wade
  • Shawn Wade-Smith
  • Ernest Webb
  • Lisa Weil
  • Stephanie Welch
  • Sabrina Williams
  • George Wood
  • Heather Woolford
  • Margaret Zirkle

30 Years of Service

  • Lori Carroll
  • Teresa Clark
  • Marla Estes
  • Karen Jones
  • Kathleen Wurdeman
  • Cassie Landrew
  • Susan Lauterbach
  • Carrie Schamerhorn
  • Toni Wiggins

40 Years of Service

  • Kay Wurdeman

Employee Excellence Award Winners

  • Aug. 2021: Dr. Marlene Blandon, Westfield HS
  • Sept. 2021: Dr. Joe Clark, Performing and Visual Arts
  • Oct. 2021: Kristina Noland, Thompson ES
  • Nov. 2021: Taylor Reynolds, Bailey MS
  • Dec. 2021: Howard Ware, Spring HS
  • Jan. 2022: Latasha Dixon, Southridge
  • Feb. 2022: Andre Jones, Spring ISD Police Department
  • March 2022: Janet Goodwyn, Thompson ES
  • April 2022: Gaila Lister, Hoyland ES
  • May 2022: Jennifer Hofferek, Data Coordinator

Principals of the Year

  • Grace Leal, Lewis Elementary School
  • Shundra Brown, Bailey Middle School

Elementary Teachers of the Year

(finalists in italics, winner in bold)

  • Jon Dawkins, Anderson Elementary
  • Britney Johnson, Bammel Elementary
  • Francisco Turrubiates, School for International Studies at Bammel PK-8
  • Amanda Coffey, Beneke Elementary
  • Maria Mathews, Booker Elementary
  • Sarah Carlisle, Burchett Elementary
  • Kenisha Butler, Clark Intermediate
  • Monica Flagg, Clark Primary
  • Caitlyn Cramer, Cooper Elementary
  • Paulina Suarez, Eickenroht Elementary
  • Samantha Nixon, Heritage Elementary
  • Richard Smith, Hirsch Elementary
  • Shaunda Roberts, Hoyland Elementary
  • Kotrina Daniel, Jenkins Elementary
  • Yonathan Thomas, Lewis Elementary
  • Ericka Olivares, Link Elementary,
  • Kotrina Daniel, Jenkins Elementary
  • Jennefer Cruz, Major Elementary
  • Mehreen Iqbal, Marshall Elementary
  • Sylissa Sanders, McNabb Elementary
  • Joe Perez, Meyer Elementary
  • Olivia Ruiz, Northgate Crossing Elementary
  • Brianna Detwiler, Ponderosa Elementary
  • Tara McClarity, Reynolds Elementary
  • Markquill Easter, International School at Salyers
  • Kimberly Jankowski, Smith Elementary
  • Trey Bradford, Thompson Elementary
  • Kesline Petit-Mat, Winship Elementary

Middle School Teachers of the Year

(finalists in italics, winner in bold)

    • Jasmine Wyatt, Bailey Middle School
    • Jerry Griffin, School for International Studies at Bammel PK-8
    • Kendra Nunez, Claughton Middle School
    • Latrishola Watson, Dueitt Middle School
    • Chad Hardy, Spring Leadership Academy
    • Bobby Scott, Springwoods Village Middle School
    • Jennifer Hero, Virtual Academy
    • Royce Abdalla, Roberson Middle School
    • Jessica DuPont, Twin Creeks Middle School
    • Anita Foreman, Wells Middle School

High School Teachers of the Year

(finalists in italics)

    • Donnell Esdaille, Dekaney High School
    • Kevin Nunn, Spring Early College Academy
    • Gretchel Robles, Spring High School
    • Portia Oliphant, Westfield High School
    • Lykethia Collins, Carl Wunsche Sr. High School 

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