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Spring ISD Board of Trustees Presents Employee Excellence Awards at Lewis Elementary and Claughton Middle School

HOUSTON – Dec. 19, 2019 – Two Spring ISD employees – one at Claughton Middle School and one at Lewis Elementary School – received special surprise visits Tuesday from members of the Spring ISD Board of Trustees, who visited their campuses to present them with Employee Excellence Awards.

Claughton Middle School seventh-grade English Language Arts teacher Suzanne Donohoo and Lewis Elementary School Principal’s Secretary Ruby Rubiano were selected as the most recent recipients of the honor, which is awarded to one employee each month during the school year. Due to previous scheduling conflicts both awards were given out this week.

At Claughton, Board President Rhonda Newhouse praised Donohoo for building strong, positive relationships with her students and consistently championing their success and growth.

“The students are aware that she cares about them and their education,” Newhouse said during the presentation in Donohoo’s classroom, which was attended by Claughton Principal Rodney Louis, along with other staff and students. During her remarks, Newhouse also said that Donohoo had developed a reputation for being a team player at Claughton who went above and beyond to support her fellow teachers, including those new to the profession.

About 20 of Donohoo’s students were present to see their teacher recognized, and some offered remarks of their own after the official award presentation had ended.

“She’s a caring and good teacher,” said seventh-grader Phylicia Le. “She’s always there for us.”

Her classmate, Nancy Ramirez, agreed, adding, “She’s a good teacher, and she’s nice to people.”

Donohoo – who had been told to expect visitors but was only anticipating a routine classroom observation – said she was moved by the award, and offered her thanks to the board members.

“It was very much a surprise,” she said. “I’m very honored.”

Lewis Elementary also received a visit from trustees on Tuesday. Campus administrators and staff members gathered just inside the building – beside the school’s brightly decorated holiday tree and Longhorn statue – to surprise Rubiano with her Employee Excellence Award.

During the presentation at Lewis, Newhouse joined Principal Grace Leal and others in congratulating Rubiano, whose warm and caring manner – together with her tireless advocacy for students and their families – helps build a sense of community at the school. Newhouse also took a moment to emphasize, from personal experience, just how important Rubiano’s role on campus is.

“I truly understand as a former principal,” Newhouse said, “the secretary runs the school!”

Among the special guests at Lewis for the presentation was Rubiano’s daughter, Carol Rubiano, who currently works as a member of the district’s human resources department.

“She truly is a jewel from God, put into woman form,” she said of her mother.

For her part, Rubiano said she was completely surprised to be receiving the award, and was just happy to be surrounded each day by people she cares about.

“I do this because I love it,” Rubiano said. “This is my family. If somebody’s sad, if somebody cries, if somebody’s happy, everybody’s together.”

Also on hand for Tuesday’s presentations were trustees Winford Adams Jr., Donald Davis, Justine Durant and Dr. Deborah Jensen, along with Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson, Chief of Staff Dr. Julie Hill and Chief of School Leadership and Student Support Services Dr. Lupita Hinojosa. Both Donohoo and Rubiano received a framed certificate and a special Spring ISD recognition pin, along with a check for $100. They will go on to join other 2019-20 winners at the district’s annual Employee Recognition Banquet next May for a chance to be awarded a $1,000 prize.

Both employees were nominated through the district’s “elevate” online submission form. Any employee, parent, or community member can enter a nomination on the site to be considered. To learn more, or to nominate a Spring ISD employee, visit