The Humble Independent School District Board of Trustees dedicated the greater part of its September meeting to recognizing its middle and high school Teachers of the Year for 2016-17 and the district's top Advanced Placement students. It also announced a number of grants and funds totaling more than $1.675 million. The money will be used in the coming school year for specific programs, including new clean-air diesel buses. Teachers of the Year at elementary school teachers will be honored next month.
Administrators Melissa Hayhurst and Trey Kraemer made individual presentations to the Teachers of the Year. Hayhurst described the importance of good teachers at the middle school level.
“Middle school is a time when students gain experience for making choices in their lives. It’s not easy to transition from childhood to the teenage years. Fortunately, our students are not alone. They are not only supported by their families but by dedicated teachers,” Hayhurst said. She called forward each middle school’s Teacher of the Year and presented a personalized plaque. The Teachers of the Year are: Darryl Legaspi (Woodcreek Middle), Sarah Zerface (Riverwood Middle), Skye Kenny (Kingwood Middle), Tischia Gordon (Humble Middle), Michelle McCrary (Creekwood Middle, also a district finalist), Tedisha Jack (Atascocita Middle), Falisa Watson (Ross Sterling Middle), and Brooke Twing (Timberwood Middle.)
Kraemer presented the High School Teachers with their plaques after highlighting their importance in students’ lives.
“All of us remember teachers who made us better, who inspired us, believed in us and shaped us into the people we are today. We remember those teachers our entire lives. These men and women being honored tonight are those teachers,” said Kraemer.
Hayhurst called the teachers forward individually to be recognized. They are: Julie Sahmel (Summer Creek High, also a district finalist), Angela Morales (Quest Early College High), Glenn A. Taylor III (Kingwood Park High), Rex Wolf (Kingwood High, also a district finalist), Brandy Rood (Humble High, also District Teacher of the Year), Virgilio Davis (Atascocita High, also a district finalist),Vernon Massey (Disciplinary Alternative Education Program), David Srubar (Career and Technology Education Center), and Jeremy Traughber (Cambridge School).
The grants and funds received at the meeting included $ 1,384,808 received from the Humble ISD Education Foundation. The outgoing chairman of the foundation, Brent Colescott, explained the source of the funds raised through the foundation to be used by the district.
“To break that down, $395,854 was from two prize posse grant giveaways where we were able to provide grants to teachers through the foundation,” he said. Colescott highlighted the contribution of $100,000 awarded to the district by H-E-B for winning the coveted H-E-B Best Large School District in the State of Texas. “For the first time ever we were able to have two Prize Posse Days,” Colescott said. “Prize Posse Days are those special days when The Humble ISD Education Foundation, alongside dozens of volunteers and donors, enter classrooms with pompoms, hand clappers, and giant checks to recognize the hard work and innovation of the Humble ISD educators.”
In addition to the money represented in the Prize Posse Day awards, $444,271 was donated to campuses that have annual fundraising campaigns and $539,182 was donated by companies and individual donors to support designated projects throughout the district.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) provided the district with a grant to help replace five old diesel-powered buses with new “clean diesel” buses that meet strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.
Robert Veazie, program manager for the area council’s School Bus Program, said, “We are proud to award the district with the $291,096 grant for the replacement of five diesel school buses.” Humble ISD Director of Transportation Jeffery Prowell said, “We are excited to partner with H-GAC to bring these new buses to Humble ISD.”
Prowell pointed out that the grant requires replacing older “dirty diesel” buses, not just adding the new buses to the fleet. The old buses must be disposed of and put out of service as part of the program. He explained the grant will fund 60 percent of the cost of five new buses that meet the strict EPA guidelines. In addition to clean diesel buses, the school district also has 20 propane-powered buses on order, using another grant for $1.1million. They are expected to be in service by late November.
“We will continue to work with H-GAC to fund additional bus purchases in the future,” Prowell said.
Following the recognitions and receipt of grants, Dr. Charles Ned, the district’s director of advanced academics, presented a report of outstanding performance throughout the district in the Advanced Placement (AP) program that is available for students who desire to earn advance credit toward college. He explained it is a voluntary program that can save parents and students up to thousands of dollars in tuition and college costs by earning advance credit. Last year more than 6,400 exams were taken by 2,624 students, a 26-percent increase over the previous year. Ned announced that 59 percent of the students who participated outperformed the state’s overall average performance and the total potential college credits earned by these students was a 100 percent increase over the previous year.
“Our kids did great,” Ned said. He explained that the highest recognition level of accomplishment is the achievement of “AP National Scholar.” There were 24 students in the Humble district from three high schools achieved that level.
“It is quite an accomplishment. I thought it would be fitting to commemorate the actual accomplishments of these students with this banner bearing the names of all 24 students,” Ned said as he unveiled a large banner containing their names and the highs schools the students attended. Humble Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen and the trustees graciously accepted it on behalf of the district.
School board meetings are normally held at 7 p.m., the second Tuesday of each month at the Humble ISD Administration Building, 20200 Eastway Village Dr. They are open to the public and agendas are posted on the district website: humbleisd.net.