It was the first time in two years since Lake Houston got together in person to honor their best teachers.

“These teachers have done a great job and personify the resilience that makes the entire Lake Houston area so great,” said Erica Johnston, chair of Partnership Lake Houston. She was hosting Partnership Lake Houston’s annual Teachers of the Year luncheon March 22 at the Humble Civic Center.

“Thank you to all our teachers in attendance for all that you do,” she said.

“What an honor it is to be Teacher of the Year. I am honored and privileged to share this moment with you,” Dr. Roger Brown said as he made his way to the Partnership podium.

Dr. Brown was substituting for Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen who was scheduled to be keynote speaker but was out ill.

“Dr. Fagen would have loved to have been here,” said Brown who is Humble ISD’s deputy superintendent. “She was feeling ill, couldn’t make it, and asked me to step me. So here we go!”

As he began, Brown revealed that he is the grandfather of five, four of whom are Humble ISD students “ … and when I am with my grandchildren, I think how their school experience is so different from what I experienced as a student.”
Brown took the teachers and audience on a history lesson, emphasizing what he would share, the younger people in the audience may have to “ … Google it to figure what I am talking about.”

“This is called an 8-track,” Brown said, holding up an 8-track tape of Lynyrd Skynyrd that he kept along with a box of other 8-track tapes in his 1967 Firebird. “Those were the guy tapes but, when you were on a date, you threw in a little Barry Manilow,” holding up a Manilow 8-track.

Brown explained how he communicated with other young people — CB radios in the cars. Brown’s “handle” was “the Bird Man” he admitted to audience laughter.

Research for school involved going to what we called a library, Brown said, where we did our research using encyclopedias.

“Oh, how things have changed,” Brown said, raising up his iPhone. “You can do everything you want right here — your music, your communication, your research. Last night, my wife and I were watching ‘Bewitched’ and wondered how long it had been on.”

They Googled it, Brown said, and got their answer immediately — on from 1967 to 1972.

“The tools have changed in education but there is one thing that has never changed — and that is you,” Brown said, pointing to the teachers.

Brown talked about Melinda Keely, his sixth grade teacher, one of the best teachers he had ever seen. In her classroom, Brown and his classmates got to grow things, play with spiders and snakes, and the coolest thing of all, “ … she let us play tackle football at recess.”

What Brown remembered most about Ms. Keely was her coming to his home “ … sitting on the sofa, talking to my mom. I can see her at our football games. She always attended. And, you know, she kept in touch with me after sixth grade.”

Brown then held up messages on cards from Ms. Keely that he received through the years including after he was married.

“She may never have known how much she touched me. That is an amazing teacher. She is the teacher of a lifetime. Think about that in your world,” he said to the teachers in the audience. “Are you important, is what you do important as a teacher?”

Brown answered his own question, “Absolutely. You never know how many Rogers you will have in your classroom that you are going to touch. And they will live with that forever and talk about you even when they are 61 (Roger Brown’s age), and I still think about Ms. Keely and what a difference she made.”

As he finished his moving talk, Brown said, “The greatest gift you have ever received was given to you when you were conceived. So why do so many people choose to overachieve? The answer isn’t found in a book. It comes from within if you will only believe.”

“Thank you,” he concluded, “for helping your students because that is the most important role we have in education.”

Besides receiving their Teacher of the Year award and a tasty lunch from the Partnership, all teaches received gifts from the luncheon sponsors and certificates of appreciation from Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw, Texas State Rep. Dan Huberty, Houston Mayor Pro-Tem Dave Martin and the Humble City Council.

The luncheon can be viewed on the Partnership’s YouTube channel, ow.ly/15Lp50Irya6. Upcoming Partnership luncheons and events, lakehouston.org.

The 53 teachers were selected, one from each school, by their peers as that campus’ Teacher of the Year:

 

Humble ISD Elementary Schools

Melissa Swann - Atascocita Springs

Chinele Poole - Autumn Creek

Anne Lynch - Bear Branch

Stacy Coughlin - Centennial

Jamie Phelps - Deerwood

Melanie Pessetti - Eagle Springs

Abigail Cline - Elm Grove

Adrienne Laygan - Fall Creek

Jill Honeycutt - Foster

Jasmin Cradic - Greentree

Andrea Iwinski - Groves

Christopher Guajardo - Hidden Hollow

Deissy Landeros-Reynolds - Humble

Tamara Ojeda Bonilla - Jack Fields

Patricia Perez - Lakeland

Rachelle Hall - Lakeshore

Deanna Galeucia - Maplebrook

Maria Osornia - North Belt

Andrea Harisis - Oak Forest

Kelle Banda - Oaks

Adrienne Despaux - Pine Forest

Olivia Eastland - Ridge Creek

Tiffani Perkins - River Pines

Jennifer Sanchez - Shadow Forest

Sarah Shivers - Summerwood

Stacey Ward - Timbers

Angela Smith - Whispering Pines

Lindsey Rinnan - Willow Creek

Linda Azzollini - Woodland Hills

 

Humble ISD Middle Schools

James Hogue - Atascocita

Janelle Hunt - Creekwood

Richard Davis - Humble

Jessica Eoff - Kingwood

Jordan Stoll - Riverwood

LaQuanta Irvin-Smith - Ross Sterling

Brandi West - Timberwood

Gracie Zamarron - West Lake

Gwenanne Gabel - Woodcreek

 

Humble ISD High Schools

Mark Pyeatt - Atascocita

Rachel Pama - Guy M. Sconzo Early College

Ashlee Noel - Humble

Cindy Welch - Kingwood

Kory Kaspar - Kingwood Park

Nathanael Wooley - Summer Creek

Tina Ewing - Community Learning Center

Lone Star College – Kingwood

Antoinette Sheppard

Dr. CaLandra Pervis

 

San Jacinto College – Generation Park

Dr. Madhu Gyawali

 

Holy Trinity Episcopal School

Mike Waller

 

St Mary Magdalene Catholic School

April Dandridge

 

Humble Christian School

Denise Wilson

Patricia Perkins

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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