Since January 1984, the Board has recognized students and staff for major accomplishments beyond the District with Points of Pride awards. ABCD awards are presented to individuals or groups that go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.
Spotlight – United States Academic Decathlon
The Board began by recognizing faculty coaches and student team members who participated in this year’s U.S. Academic Decathlon (USAD) competition.
The USAD program provides high school students an opportunity to experience the challenges of rigorous academic competition through participation in team activities. The Academic Decathlon is designed to include students from all academic levels working together in nine-member teams. The competition consists of 10 events: Art, Economics, Literature, Music, Science, Social Science, Mathematics, Essay, Interview, and Speech.
“This year, a total of 19 teams from six surrounding districts competed in this competition over the course of two days,” explained Chief Communications Officer Shane Strubhart during his remarks at the meeting. The Spring ISD high schools that participated in this year’s competition included Early College Academy, Westfield High School, and Carl Wunsche Sr. High School.
“We would like to recognize our Academic Decathlon team members and coaches for their commitment, participation, and achievement,” Strubhart said. “We are excited to announce Spring ISD schools received awards in three events!”
The individual Spring ISD student winners were as follows:
- Tonimario Alvarado Reyes, a 10th grade student from Early College Academy, received 1st place in the essay portion of the competition.
- Gracie Dishongh, an 11th grade student from Wunsche, received 2nd place in the interview portion of the competition.
- Carl Omondi, an 11th grade student also from Wunsche, received 2nd place in the essay portion of the competition.
“We would like to congratulate our students for their accomplishments,” said Strubhart, adding thanks also to Academic Decathlon Coaches Daniel Cook and Tera George for their commitment and support of students. Also recognized were High School G/T Specialist Dominique Brown, as well as Early College Academy Principal Kristine Guidry and Wunsche Principal Dr. Alfred James for their leadership and support of the USAD program.
Spotlight – Spring ISD Academic UIL Participants
The Board also recognized participants in Spring ISD’s Academic UIL Grade 2-8 event.
The district’s third-annual Academic UIL event was held on Saturday, Feb. 4. Eleven elementary schools and all nine middle schools participated in the event. The event engaged students in expanding their subject knowledge, along with learning skills that will be valuable in college and career.
“This event creates a pathway for elementary and middle students to participate and excel in similar Academic UIL events in high school,” said Chief Communications Officer Shane Strubhart during his remarks at the meeting.
A total of 172 students participated in a variety of events including: Art, Chess Puzzle, Dictionary Skills, Impromptu Speaking, Mathematics, Music Memory, and Number Sense. Gifted and Talented (G/T) Specialists Kaitlen Getz and Christopher Sosa helped organize the districtwide event in coordination with campus-based staff, and Sosa explained that the number of events was expanded this year in response to high student interest after previous years’ district Academic UIL events.
“It was only our third-annual event, but it’s grown by leaps and bounds,” Sosa said after the meeting. “We’re all just excited to see where it goes from here.”
Participating elementary schools included Beneke, Booker, Clark, Heritage, Hoyland, Jenkins, Link, Major, Meyer, Northgate Crossing, and Smith. Booker Elementary was given a special shout-out for having the highest number of participating students in this year’s Academic UIL elementary and middle school competition.
Several student representatives were invited to attend the board meeting, including select winners in the Art, Chess Puzzle and Impromptu Speaking events. Also recognized were Academic UIL coaches, G/T faculty and staff, and campus principals for their support of this year’s event.
“Congratulations to our students, coaches, G/T Coordinators, principals, parents, families, and friends,” Strubhart said. “A special thank-you to the Spring Ninth Grade Center for their hospitality in serving as the host site for the event.”
This year’s student winners at the in-district Academic UIL Grade 2-8 competition, arranged by event category, were as follows.
- Delilah Arciga, Booker ES, 1st Place
- Elena Aldana Galeas, Booker ES, 2nd Place
- Kariyan Lockett, Booker ES, 3rd Place
- Camila Cotto, Link ES, 1st Place (tie)
- Giselle Balderas, Link ES, 1st Place (tie)
- Camila Oviedo, Link ES, 2nd Place
- Ronald Velasquez Jr., Link ES, 3rd Place
- Zhiare Butler, Major ES, 1st Place
- Daniel Martin, Major ES, 2nd Place
- Eli Carrillo, Heritage ES, 1st Place
- O’myah Gonzales, Heritage ES, 2nd Place
- Zafreen Sheik Mohamed, Northgate Crossing ES, 3rd Place (tie)
- Aden Vo, Northgate Crossing ES, 3rd Place (tie)
- Chloe Weeks, Northgate Crossing ES, 1st Place
- Lauren Harrison, Northgate Crossing ES, 2nd Place
- Aden Vo, Northgate Crossing ES, 3rd Place
- Keri Nguyen, Claughton MS, 1st Place
- Daniel Orihuela, Bailey MS, 2nd Place
- Jamall Scott, Bailey MS, 3rd Place
- Ange-Rahim Kone, Roberson MS, 1st Place (tie)
- De’Niya Coffman, Roberson MS, 1st Place (tie)
- Nadiyah Cornish, School for International Studies at Bammel, 2nd Place
- Kaitlin Nelson, Spring Leadership Academy, 3rd Place (tie)
- Hassuni Ouedraogo, School for International Studies at Bammel, 3rd Place (tie)
- Alexander Broyles, Spring Leadership Academy, 1st Place
- Evanam Adubra, Springwoods Village MS, 2nd Place
- Christopher Heskett, Springwoods Village MS,3rd Place
- Adrian Juarez, Smith ES, 1st Place (tie)
- Jackson Moy, Smith ES, 1st Place (tie)
- Nellie Luis, Smith ES, 2nd Place
- Rachel Andino, Smith ES, 3rd Place
- Angelina Creado, Smith ES, 1st Place
- Daniel Tixal, Booker ES, 2nd Place
- Adelena Padron, Smith ES, 3rd Place
- Braxton Ropp, Smith ES, 1st Place
- Summer Stubblefield, Smith ES, 2nd Place
- Olivia Riggs, Smith ES, 3rd Place
- Connor Mohs, Meyer ES, 1st Place
- Stellar Lopez, Meyer ES, 2nd Place
- Lexi McKeegan, Jenkins ES, 3rd Place
- Kaden Tran, Major ES, 1st Place
- Isabela Martinez-Serrano, Northgate Crossing ES, 2nd Place
- Leonardo Rojas, Booker ES, 3rd Place
Spotlight – Tri-Club 2023 Court
Spring ISD’s 2023 Tri-Club Fair Queen, Jr. Fair Queen and Fair Princess attended the meeting for a special recognition. The students also extended a special invitation both to trustees and to the entire Spring community to attend the 72nd Annual Spring Livestock Show and Fair, taking place April 13-15 at the district’s Nagy Pavilion off of Hardy Rd.
This year’s Tri-Club Court consists of the following students:
- Fair Queen – Catara Motley, Spring High School, Grade 12
- Junior Fair Queen – Eliza Briscoe, Spring High School, Grade 10
- Fair Princess – Jordan Harrold, Roberson Middle School, Grade 7
Also recognized was Spring Tri-Club pageant sponsor Claudia Zimmer, an agriculture, natural resources and environmental science teacher in the Career and Technical Education department at Roberson Middle School.
During her remarks, Motley explained that the Spring Livestock Show & Fair gives students from Spring ISD’s FFA (Future Farmers of America), FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) and 4-H organizations a chance to exhibit and sell projects they have worked on throughout the year, including livestock, homemade food, paintings, photography, and more. Underclassmen regularly reinvest money they earn each year into subsequent years’ Tri-Club projects, while seniors benefit by raising money to help pay for college and career training after graduation.
“Our hope every year is to sell every project,” Motley said. “Through great community members like yourselves we have been able to do that for the last few years, and hope to do it again this year.”
Trustee Rhonda Newhouse heartily encouraged members of the community to come out and enjoy the event and support the Tri-Club student participants. She described the annual livestock show and fair as a unique local opportunity filled with arts, crafts, food, and of course, livestock of all types and sizes raised by the students themselves.
“These young people have worked all year, starting in August, through April, preparing their animals,” Newhouse said. “If you guys are not out at the Spring Livestock Show, you are missing a treat!”
The Superintendent’s Stampede Buyers Group was formed by the district in 2007 to purchase livestock exhibited at the show and to donate the processed meat to local assistance ministries that serve area communities and families in times of need.
District employees can make donations to the Stampede Buyers Group directly through their campus or department. Donations can also be made online at SpringISD.org/Stampede.
Spotlight – Spring ISD Elementary and Secondary Principals of the Year
The Board recognized Cooper Elementary School Principal Mayra Garcia as Spring ISD's Elementary Principal of the Year and Claughton Middle School Principal Rodney Louis as Spring ISD's Secondary Principal of the Year.
Each year, Spring ISD has the opportunity to select one Elementary and one Secondary principal of the year. The district has a comprehensive process which includes reviewing school performance and attendance data for both growth and achievement purposes. Assistant Superintendents also examine principals' leadership using a rubric on areas such as the implementation of the district’s SpringWay Systems and Routines, culture, and leadership excellence.
Garcia and Louis will advance to the Region 4 Principal of the Year competition, and will also be recognized at the district’s annual Employee Recognition Banquet to be held near the end of the semester.
ABCD Award – Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
The Board recognized Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., under the local leadership of Brian McLemore, for the organization’s work as a longstanding supporter of the district, its staff and students.
“There are many factors that contribute to a student’s academic and future success,” said Chief Communications Officer Shane Strubhart during his remarks. “While we as educators focus on their scholastic ability, it is important that we also address their social and emotional needs. Mentoring is a great source of support for students, and it is our honor to recognize an outstanding community partner who has served our students for many years.”
Strubhart explained that Alpha Phi Alpha’s Houston-area Xi Eta Lambda chapter, under McLemore’s leadership as its current president, has gone above and beyond in serving students in Spring ISD. Fraternity members have mentored students at Roberson Middle School for the past seven years. Prior to that, they mentored students at Westfield High School for many years, utilizing the organization’s signature "Go-to-High-School, Go-to-College" program – established in 1922 – which concentrates on the importance of completing secondary and collegiate education as a road to advancement.
Altogether, Alpha Phi Alpha has spent nearly 20 years working with district students, including offering college readiness workshops and college visits in addition to direct mentoring.
“They have introduced and reinforced skills that prepare our students for success both academically and in life,” Strubhart said. “They also participate in workshops that teach them valuable life skills such as time management, conflict resolution, and how to build positive and healthy relationships.”
McLemore thanked the trustees for honoring the group’s work and reiterated Alpha Phi Alpha and Xi Eta Lambda’s belief in the potential of students to thrive when given the chance and needed support.
“Alpha Phi Alpha promotes leadership, brotherhood, and academic excellence while providing advocacy and service for our communities,” McLemore said. “We are excited, we are honored, we are privileged, and we are happy that we have the opportunity to partner with Spring ISD.”
McLemore also praised the work of fellow fraternity member Charles Brown, who steers the committee that oversees the local chapter’s "Go-to-High-School, Go-to-College" initiative.
“We want to say thank you for this recognition,” McLemore added, “and we are excited about continuing working with Spring ISD.”
Board Secretary Kelly P. Hodges, who chairs the Board’s Community Engagement Committee, offered McLemore and his fellow fraternity members thanks on behalf of the district.
“On behalf of Spring ISD, our Board of Trustees and our senior leadership, I just want to thank you for all that you do, and we appreciate your support,” Hodges said. “Alpha Phi Alpha has been around since 1906, and it’s been doing great work in the community. We truly appreciate the impact that you’ve had on our students here in our Spring community.”
Point of Pride – Kathy Voisin, Dekaney High School Athletic Trainer
The Board presented a Point of Pride award to Dekaney High School Athletic Trainer Kathy Voisin, who was recently named a recipient of the Athletic Trainer Spotlight Award by the Texas State Athletic Trainers' Association (TSATA). In December, Voisin was named by TSATA as a recipient of the organization’s Spotlight Athletic Trainer Award, representing TSATA Region 6 and the Greater Houston Area.
“The Spotlight Athletic Trainer Award was established by TSATA to recognize dedicated young athletic trainers throughout the State of Texas who display noteworthy professional excellence, as well as a deep commitment to the health and safety of the student-athletes they serve,” said Chief Communications Officer Shane Strubhart.
“Voisin demonstrates these qualities every day in her service to Dekaney High School and the Spring ISD community,” he continued. “She brings a special passion to the position and is a skilled healthcare provider, serving as a positive role model to her students and an effective mentor to the school’s athletic training student aides.”
Voisin works diligently behind the scenes to positively impact both students and fellow staff members. Last May, she was also recognized by her peers as the inaugural recipient of the Dekaney High School Athletics Servant’s Heart Award.
“Voisin is committed, passionate, and student-oriented in her approach,” Strubhart said, “and acts as a great advocate on behalf of Dekaney High School athletics and the student-athletes of Spring ISD.”
Point of Pride – Callyncia Lanaux, Major Elementary School Counselor
The Board also presented a Point of Pride award to Major Elementary School Counselor Callyncia Lanaux, who was named a recipient of the 2023 Walter Kase Educator Excellence Award by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Southwest Region.
Lanaux – who is one of only three recipients of the award this year across the entire ADL Southwest Region – was honored for her work as a “No Place for Hate” Coordinator at Major Elementary and for her commitment to building a learning community of inclusivity, respect, and equity among her students and fellow educators.
Believing that educators are crucial to promoting the understanding and appreciation of diversity, the Walter Kase Educator Excellence Award was created by the ADL Southwest Region to celebrate the efforts of those who nurture mutual understanding and respect among diverse school populations, and who challenge their students to question stereotypes and confront hate in all of its forms.
The award is named in honor of Walter Kase, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor, who together with his father spent World War II in five different concentration camps, including Auschwitz, before being liberated by Allied forces in May 1945.
After his own Holocaust survival and eventual relocation to the U.S., Kase grew up and went on to speak frequently to young people, educators, and community leaders in the Houston area and elsewhere about the dangers of prejudice and bigotry and the importance of love, respect, and understanding. He died in 2015.
Point of Pride – Spring ISD Child Nutrition Department named ‘Best of the Bunch’
The Board presented a pair of Point of Pride awards to district departments for recent honors, with the first going to the Spring ISD Child Nutrition Department, which was named a recipient of this year’s Farm Fresh Challenge “Best of the Bunch” Award by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).
“Best of the Bunch marks the highest level of achievement a district can obtain in the TDA’s annual Farm Fresh Challenge,” Chief Communications Officer Shane Strubhart told trustees, going on to explain that he Farm Fresh Challenge is part of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s Farm Fresh Initiative to connect Texas farmers and ranchers with school nutrition programs.
Spring ISD’s Child Nutrition Department was once again awarded Best of the Bunch status for the district’s commitment to offering locally sourced Texas foods and providing educational opportunities to help students learn more about nutrition and Texas agriculture.
Throughout the month of October 2022, participating schools championed healthy foods and Texas agriculture by providing multiple Texas-grown foods as part of their weekly menus, offering agricultural education opportunities, and sharing about students’ experience on social media.
Spring ISD has been named Best of the Bunch for seven years in a row, and was one of only 76 Texas school districts or charter school organizations to earn the honor in this year’s contest.
“The Farm Fresh Challenge is a big part of my commitment to building the next Farm Fresh generation,” Commissioner Miller said in a statement. “The annual event educates our young Texans on how healthy eating contributes to their success and the success of our hard-working Texas farmers and ranchers. I congratulate all the participating schools for their first-rate efforts to ensure a healthier future for the Lone Star State.”
Point of Pride – Spring ISD Procurement Department receives TASBO Award of Merit for Purchasing Operations
Finally, the trustees awarded a Point of Pride to the Spring ISD Procurement Department, which was recognized by the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) with a 2023 Award of Merit for Purchasing Operations.
The Award of Merit was established in 2009 to recognize Texas school districts, open-enrollment charter schools, and education service centers that are committed to following professional standards in the acquisition of goods and services. Each year, volunteers with the TASBO Purchasing & Supply Management Research Committee evaluate the award criteria to ensure it represents the latest best practices. They then review new and recertification applications.
For 2023, only 71 recipients statewide met the stringent criteria to qualify for the award.
Spring ISD’s Procurement team was honored for the achievement during an awards reception held during the 2023 TASBO annual conference in San Antonio in February.
Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa began her remarks by welcoming everyone back from Spring Break, which occurred the week before the meeting.
“Hopefully everyone had the opportunity to get a little bit of rest, some relaxation, and spend some time with family and friends,” she said. “But we are ready to get started and finish the year strong!”
She then shared more information on the upcoming Tri-Club Show, which features the year-long efforts of Spring ISD students who are involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America), FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), and Spring 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, Health). This year’s event will be held April 14-16 at the Nagy Pavilion at 24037 West Hardy Road.
Specifically, Dr. Hinojosa mentioned the annual Superintendent’s Stampede Buyers Group, which was formed in 2007 in an effort to purchase livestock exhibited at the show in order to donate the processed meat to local organizations.
“The [goal] for us this year is to collect $25,000,” Dr. Hinojosa said. “The children, the young people, will use the money for their scholarships, and to continue in the program in future years.”
Donations can be made at springisd.org/stampede.
She then moved on to mention a special surprise at Dekaney High School earlier that day, where senior Aaron Hernandez was surprised with a $100,000 scholarship from APQC.
“He wants to go to a university in Portland, Oregon, Lewis and Clark University,” Dr. Hinjosa said. “We're just so very excited and so very proud. This is just getting us warmed up for our graduations that will be coming up, and all of our seniors that right now have applied for colleges and universities that are getting their acceptance letters, and then, of course, their scholarships.”
She then recognized Roberson Middle School, which was ranked on Children at Risk’s annual list of best public schools in the Houston area, coming in at number 10 on the list of the 15 best middle schools in the region.
Following that, Dr. Hinojosa mentioned the upcoming Girls’ Empowerment and Leadership Summit, which is happening on Saturday, March 25, from 7:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Girls’ Empowerment and Leadership Summit aims to inform and challenge Spring ISD students to become leaders, high achievers and change agents in their schools and communities, and will feature conversations about self-esteem, friendship, and relationships, as well as college and career advice, etiquette lessons, entertainment, giveaways, and more. The event is free to attend for Spring ISD students in middle school or high school. Interested students can register online here or call 281-891-6060 with questions.
Dr. Hinojosa also mentioned that a Boys’ Empowerment and Leadership Youth Summit is set for Saturday, April 22, 2023. Registrations for that event can be found here.
She finished her remarks by introducing two new leaders in Spring ISD. Floralba Reyna was recently named the principal of Ponderosa Elementary School, and Ramonda Olaloye was named the Assistant Superintendent of Research, Accountability, and Testing.