Teaching is more than a profession, Dr. Fagen says.


A 2-year-old is handed an iPhone. Within seconds, he finds the correct movie app, begins the cartoon, realizes the cartoon is in the middle, so works his little fingers to start the cartoon from the beginning.

Among the area teachers honored by the Lake Houston Chamber were: Humble ISD elementary, middle and high school teachers of the year. Pictured with the teachers are State Rep. Dan Huberty, Humble City Mayor Pro Tem Norman Funderburk, and Humble ISD Trustees Nancy Morrison and Robert Sitton. Also honored were teachers from Lone Star College-Kingwood, Spring ISD, Humble Christian School and Holy Trinity Christian School.

“A 2-year-old!” Humble ISD Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen exclaimed to the capacity crowd Oct. 18 at the Lake Houston Area Chamber’s annual Salute to Teachers at the Humble Civic Center.  

Fagen was praising the 60 teachers from Humble ISD, schools east of I-45 in Spring ISD, area private schools and Teachers of Excellence from Lone Star College-Kingwood and, at the same time, creatively featuring videos during her PowerPoint presentation.

“From the beginning of time, teachers have prepped students for their future jobs,” Fagen said, “and as you can imagine, the jobs we’re preparing them for are different from the jobs we prepared them for when I started teaching.”

And the students that teachers must prepare for those new jobs have changed as well, Fagen pointed out as she played the video of the 2-year-old easily operating an iPhone.

“The context of our work has changed,” she said. “Teachers now must unlock the capabilities of youngsters like that 2-year-old you saw in the video who already demonstrates complex thinking.”

Some students are hurting, Fagen explained, as she described a young girl in her mother’s seventth-grade class who had chopped off the fronts of her shoes.  

“This is Iowa. It’s cold. My mom asked the little girl why she cut her shoes Fagen,” recalled. The little girl told her that she had to because the shoes didn’t fit anymore.

“You know that teaching is more than a profession,” said Fagen. “We care deeply for our students and their needs go beyond school.”

She then played a touching scene from the movie, “Freedom Writers,” in which a young man, reading his writing assignment to his classmates, describes his family being evicted from their home.

“Why go to school if I’m homeless,” the young man reads emotionally, “but I go into my teacher’s classroom and I am home.”

“Teachers will do anything, even move heaven and earth in order to give kids what they need,” Fagen said. “I see it time and again. Teachers motivate students to exceed because we believe in them.”

She described education as both exciting and challenging.

“You are pioneers,” Fagen told the teachers, “going down a path never explored. Working together is an important aspect of our success.”

Fagen thanked the teachers, and then they received their awards plus commendations from Congressman Ted Poe, State Rep. Dan Huberty and Houston City Council Member Dave Martin. 

To close out the occasion, students from River Pines Elementary School popped up on the screen and told the teachers, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”  

The Lake Houston Area Chamber will recognize small businesses at their annual Salute to Small Business Luncheon Nov. 15 at 11:30 a.m., at the Clubs of Kingwood. The luncheon also will include a Victory Party as the Chamber’s Total Resource Campaign comes to an end. Total sales will be announced and top producers will be revealed. Register at lakehouston.org.



Humble ISD – Teachers of the Year 

Atascocita Springs Elementary - Jennifer King, 3rd Grade 

Bear Branch Elementary - Meghan Goodman, 1st Grade 

Deerwood Elementary - Donna Acosta, 3rd Grade 

Eagle Springs Elementary - Samesia Hamlett, Special Education 

Elm Grove Elementary - Sarah Watson, Kindergarten 

Fall Creek Elementary - Aaron Austin, 5th Grade 

Foster Elementary - Kelly Tomasino, 5th Grade 

Greentree Elementary - Julia Arcuri, 4th Grade 

Hidden Hollow Elementary - Glenda Taylor Carlos, 4th Grade 

Humble Elementary - Giselle Torres, Kindergarten 

Jack Fields Elementary - Maria Teros, 4th Grade 

Lakeland Elementary - Sarah Szczepaniec, 5th Grade 

Lakeshore Elementary - Courtney Turner, 1st Grade 

Maplebrook Elementary - Wendy Walker, 1st Grade 

North Belt Elementary - Lorena Curiel, 1st Grade Bilingual 

Oak Forest Elementary - DeLynn Buchanan, Special Education 

Oaks Elementary - Helen Suan, 2nd Grade 

Park Lakes Elementary - Darrell Rogers, Special Education 

Pine Forest Elementary - Jennifer Howard, 5th Grade 

Ridge Creek Elementary - Patrick Andrus, 5th Grade 

River Pines Elementary - Beatriz Anaya, 2nd Grade Dual Language 

Shadow Forest Elementary - Julie Chriswell, Special Education 

Summerwood Elementary - Courtney Breeding, Kindergarten 

Timbers Elementary - Laura Smith, 2nd Grade 

Whispering Pines Elementary - Merideth Seiler, Kindergarten 

Willow Creek Elementary - Joylyn Trigg, Kindergarten 

Woodland Hills Elementary - Samantha Morgenroth, 4th Grade

Atascocita Middle - Tedisha Jack, Science 

Creekwood Middle - Michelle McCrary, Social Studies 

Humble Middle - Tischia Gordan Special Education 

Kingwood Middle - Skye Kenny, Math 

Riverwood Middle - Sarah Zerface, Special Education 

Ross Sterling Middle - Falisa Watson, RELA 

Timberwood Middle - Brooke Twing, Reading Strategies 

Woodcreek Middle - Darryl Legaspi, Science 

Atascocita High - Virgilio Davis, Spanish, Art 

Humble High - Brandy Rood, Theatre Arts 

Kingwood High - Rex Wolf, Math 

Kingwood Park High - Glenn A. Taylor III, Physics 

Quest Early College High - Angela Morales, Spanish 

Summer Creek High - Julie Sahmel, Student Leadership 

Cambridge School - Jeremy Traughber, MOSAIC 

Career & Technology Ed. Center - David Srubar, Technology and Business 

Disciplinary Alternative Ed. Program - Vernon Massey, 6th – 12th Grade 

Spring ISD – Teachers of the Year 

Wendy Lindsey - Salyers Elementary School 

Holly Pusok - Burchett Elementary School 

Roberto Martin Soracco - Cooper Elementary School 

Charles E. Dorsey Jr. - Hirsch Elementary School 

Kenny Moses - Jenkins Elementary School 

Francis Burgarin - McNabb Elementary School 

Lori Douglass - Northgate Elementary School 

Brittani Hatten - Booker Elementary School 

Lindsey McCullough - Dueitt Middle School 

Chase Gregory Jones - Twin Creeks Middle School 

Sara McLain - Spring High School 


Humble Christian School – Teachers of the Year 

Wanda Puckett – Elementary 

Renessa Washington – High School 

Holy Trinity Episcopal School – Teachers of the Year 

Kerri Pakalnis

Lone Star College – Kingwood – Teachers of the Year 

Steve Davis – Professor of History 

Lisa Darling – Professor of English

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