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
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
Lee Ann Liebst
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
Rhodes School for the Performing Arts – Teachers of the Year