If anybody in Lake Houston knows what makes a great teacher, Katherine Persson certainly should.

“My dad and mom were teachers,” she told more than 80 exceptional teachers at the Humble Civic Center, “two of my sisters taught, my husband was a teacher, and my daughter-in-law teaches.”

Oh, and Dr. Persson teaches, too.

She’s president of Lone Star College-Kingwood and she spoke March 27 at the Lake Houston Chamber’s annual Teachers of the Year Luncheon. She praised as natural leaders the 80 teachers from Humble ISD, schools east of I-45 in Spring ISD, area private schools and Teachers of Excellence from Lone Star College-Kingwood.

The 80 teachers are selected, one from each campus, by their peers as that campus’ Teacher of the Year.

“Teachers make great leaders but they don’t always realize it,” Persson said, “they are leaders in the their classrooms. Leading is just a natural thing for them.”

Lone Star’s Persson says  teachers make great leaders

Citing Hurricane Harvey throughout her presentation, Persson listed nine reasons why teachers make good leaders.

“Teachers know how to create a strong, healthy culture,” she said. “Post Harvey, 73 percent of our teachers had to develop a new business plan and move to teaching online when all of our campus buildings flooded. Most of those teachers had never taught online before.”

Teachers also know how to set high expectations and, Persson said, her faculty were not about to let Hurricane Harvey lower Kingwood’s goals.

“Teachers can prioritize. They know what matters,” she said, “and with 1,200 displaced students, our faculty reached out to those students and reassured them we would take care of their education.”

Persson emphasized how teachers must plan purposefully and never wing it.

“Students will ‘eat you alive’ if you’re not prepared,” she said

These teachers were honored by the Lake Houston Chamber as Teachers of the Year. See this story at OurTribune.com for the complete list of the honored teachers. Photo by Tom Broad

And, in spite of a hurricane, teachers execute every day taking care of their students and their business, she said.

Teachers always are learning and revamping their classes to keep up-to-date and, she said, at least 150 of the Kingwood teachers had three weeks to learn to teach online.

“You can see, because of Harvey, how teachers had to persevere through incredible adversity, and they showed how resourceful they are,” Persson said.

Most important of all, Persson said, teachers empathize and understanding what students were going through was particularly useful in dealing with so many Harvey-traumatized students who just needed time to talk-over and work-through post-Harvey.

“This is day number 209 post-Harvey,” she said, “and it’s a good day. It’s a long journey, we have so much farther to go, but every day is a good day.”

At the end of the luncheon, Houston City Council Member Dave Martin and the Kingwood division of the Houston Police Department cited Humble ISD Superintendent Liz Fagen and Kingwood Park High School for allowing the police and rescuers to use Kingwood Park as a command post during Hurricane Harvey.

The next Chamber luncheon, Community Matters, will be held April 19, 11:30 a.m., at Walden Country Club. The luncheon will focus on Lake Houston’s non-profit sector, shining a light on those residents most in need, how our community is working to help, and what needs to be done. For more information or to register, call 281-446-2128 or lakehouston.org.

Teachers honored at the luncheon:

Humble ISD – Teachers of the Year

Atascocita Springs Elementary - Cornelia Davis

Bear Branch Elementary - Stacy Seay

Deerwood Elementary - Mary Torres

Eagle Springs Elementary - Debbie Havnen

Elm Grove Elementary - Tricia Zinnecker

Fall Creek Elementary - Susan Gonzales

Foster Elementary - Carole Robison

Greentree Elementary - Patti Ciotti

Groves Elementary - Amanda Kopp

Hidden Hollow Elementary - Brooke Hebert

Humble Elementary - Broderick Lindsey

Jack Fields Elementary - Elaine Hallford

Lakeland Elementary - Nikki Miles

Lakeshore Elementary - Pam Julian

Maplebrook Elementary - Audi Huberty

North Belt Elementary - Carla J. Craig

Oak Forest Elementary - Emily Warnack

Oaks Elementary - Jeanette Kelley

Park Lakes Elementary - Travis Setterbo

Pine Forest Elementary - Darcy Scharff

Ridge Creek Elementary - Kim LeBlanc

River Pines Elementary - Madison Rodon

Shadow Forest Elementary - Shawna McGrath

Summerwood Elementary - Nicole Edwards

Timbers Elementary - Carmen Gause

Whispering Pines Elementary - Nadia Campbell

Willow Creek Elementary - Kim Smith

Woodland Hills Elementary - Kimberly Wallace

Atascocita Middle - Baely Leone

Creekwood Middle - Michael Block

Humble Middle - Joshua Grimes

Kingwood Middle - Matthew Smithson

Riverwood Middle - Daniel Green

Ross Sterling Middle - Simon Perry

Timberwood Middle - Michelle Kirkpatrick

Woodcreek Middle - Amber Wal

Atascocita High - Katie Spence

Humble High - Sergeant Major David Watkins

Kingwood High - Miguel Carlos

Kingwood Park High - Caryn Rasberry

Summer Creek High - Terri Hart

Quest Early College High School - Jeffrey Alexander

Career & Technology Ed. Center - Amy Walker

Community Learning Center - Kevin Krueger

Lone Star College – Kingwood – Teachers of the Year

Alicja Jac-Kucharski

Lee Ann Liebst

Mari Menard

Spring ISD – Teachers of the Year

Anderson Elementary - Laura Mathus

Booker Elementary - Susan Fears

Burchett Elementary - Meliane Allison Dean

Cooper Elementary - Galicia Grandos

Hirsch Elementary- Lorri Gillespie

Jenkins Elementary- Kotrina Daniel

Marshall Elementary- Shaisley Charles

McNabb Elementary- Victoria Joyner

Northgate Crossing Elementary- Ladell Whitfield

Salyers Elementary- Omar Bolden

Smith Elementary- Nicole Hill

Winship Elementary- Ivey Busby

Bailey Middle- Kendra Lee

Duiett Middle- Diane Moretti

Twin Creeks Middle- Susan Foy

Dekaney High School- Aubrey Sam

Spring High - Annie Hero

Wunsche Academy- Keith Underwood

Holy Trinity Episcopal School Teacher of the Year

Meredith Crowe

Rhodes School for the Performing Arts – Teachers of the Year

Ashley Foster

Renelda White

Damaris Givens

LaShaun Barnes

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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