During the final Central Office Staff Meetings of the 2022-23 school year on May 17, Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa gave special recognitions honoring employees who have demonstrated a commitment to service-oriented excellence and the Spring ISD Leadership Definition over the course of the school year.
- Officer Bruce Arnold, Spring ISD Police Department, was honored as a familiar and reassuring face both in Central Office and out on campuses. Arnold was praised for his dedication to Spring ISD and promoting the interests of both staff and students each and every day. His nomination stemmed specifically from his efforts to ensure the district remains proactive in identifying students with truancy issues. Early in the current school year, Arnold proposed a new system of truancy warnings, then, as Hinojosa explained, “took the idea from concept to reality, revising the district-level truancy process and serving as a subject-matter expert supporting administrators in addressing this vital part of our role as a public school district.”
- Jon Peters, Research, Accountability and Testing, was singled out as an employee for whom, as Hinojosa said, “There is never a task too daunting.” Part of Peters’ Service-Oriented nature is his collaborative spirit and willingness to assist any campus, department, office, or team with any request. Whatever the need, Peters will always “actively listen and provide feedback, partnering with teammates and other departments to maximize outcomes,” Hinojosa said. Peters was praised for regularly going above and beyond the call of duty, responding to urgent late-night requests for next-day coverage and graciously accepting any call to service, no matter how humble. Peters’ character “exemplifies our Spring ISD Leadership Definition,” Hinojosa said, “and the Department of Research, Accountability, and Testing are proud to work alongside him every day.”
- Frankie Johnson, Communications Department, was recognized for the many ways her dedication and hard work have contributed to the success of Spring ISD over the course of her 22-plus years of service. Johnson embodies excellence, setting a high bar not just for herself, as Hinojosa explained, “but for all of us, while personifying outstanding customer service.” Johnson was praised for consistently creating an environment of trust and respect, and going the extra mile to ensure that each interaction is memorable and exceeds expectations. With in-depth knowledge gained during her time with the district, Johnson has made herself invaluable, and has become someone others call on and count on to provide insights and solutions. Hinojosa thanked Johnson for bringing style and grace to her roles, and for serving as a mentor for others. “She has never looked down on anyone, unless it’s to extend a hand to help them up,” Hinojosa said. “She truly embodies the spirit of kindness and mutual respect that we value so deeply here in Spring ISD.”
- Kelly Ponce Vargas, Transportation Department, was celebrated for exhibiting strong leadership qualities and always leading by example. “Whether serving students directly or their fellow employees, this individual brings a positive attitude to work every day,” Hinojosa said. “They practice active listening, and they encourage and support their team through positive feedback and acknowledgment of a job well done.” Even when adapting to constantly changing circumstances, she remains respectful and strives to end every interaction on a positive note. Ponce Vargas has also taken part in campus career days, and her nomination described her as having “a good and kind heart and an awesome sense of humor.” Hinojosa especially thanked her “for spreading joy while serving others.”
- Ernest Pallares, Technology Department, was recognized as a passionate employee “who is completely dedicated, no matter the task,” as Hinojosa said. Whether collaborating with team members in his own department or with others across the district, Pallares goes to great lengths to make sure every project is considered from every possible angle in order to ensure the best possible outcomes. Hinojosa especially thanked Pallares for his dedication, which often sees him working after-hours to solve a tricky problem or assist other teams with urgent projects. Pallares has also been involved in the district’s adoption of a new Student Information System, and, as Hinojosa said, “goes above and beyond every day to ensure solid decision-making and project implementation.”
- Jennifer Fasano, Child Nutrition, was recognized for being “a true cheerleader for our students and their well-being, and one who approaches meeting their needs with the mind of a subject-matter expert and the heart of a servant-leader,” as Hinojosa explained. Fasano daily balances the diverse nutritional needs of students against a range of state and federal regulations, “all the while supporting our school-based staff as well,” Hinojosa added. She thanked Fasano for “addressing unique needs so that every student has the opportunity to be successful – and healthy – each and every day.”
Employees attending the meetings also received an overview of the ongoing budget approval process for 2023-24, as well as updates on happenings at the 88th Texas Legislative Session currently underway at the State Capitol in Austin.
Representatives from Universal Benefits Consortium (UBC) and CareATC were also on hand to share details about Spring ISD’s district-managed, self-funded healthcare plans. Topics included the district’s Health & Wellness Centers – operated through a partnership with CareATC – where routine medical care as well as many specialized services are available at no out-of-pocket cost for employees and their covered family members.
For more information, employees can visit www.ubc-benefits.com/spring-benefits.