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Spring ISD Announces the 2019-20 Rookie Teachers of the Year

HOUSTON – March 5, 2020 – When Steven Herbert stood in front of a room full of first-year Spring ISD teachers on Tuesday, he immediately began to reflect on his personal journey as a new teacher in the district.

Herbert, who teaches the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, shared his first-year story to 31 rookie teachers during the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year celebration, held at the Spring ISD Community Engagement Center. He says although his start as an instructor was a bit shaky, sharing his passion for being an EMT is what ultimately worked for his students.

“Being an EMS provider, I thought I was prepared for anything,” said Herbert. “I had seen it all, read it all, and done it all – until I walked inside of a classroom.”

Now, with another year of experience under his belt, Herbert’s story resonated with other new teachers, who turned out for the celebration on Tuesday. Herbert reminded all the new educators in the room that he was in their position just last year, when he was named the district’s 2018-19 Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year. He credited Spring ISD for helping him successfully make the transition from working as an EMT to teaching it at Wunsche.

“I can’t speak for other districts, but this has got to be the best,” Herbert said. “Every single person that I ran into provided all of the information I could possibly want or have. Everyone here is family and great team members. They continue to support me until this day.”

This year’s group of rookie teachers were selected by their principals for their ability to inspire and persevere during what many consider the hardest year in a teaching career. In May, two teachers will be chosen as the district’s top rookie teachers.

The event featured an address from Chief Human Resources Officer Deeone McKeithan, who shared his personal journey as a student and encouraged each first-year teacher to remember how important they are to their students.

“There’s nothing like a teacher where students love to be in your classroom, and you all are those teachers,” said McKeithan. “I pray that every single one of you knows that you are so impactful to every single student you touch. You are creating legacies.”

Bailey Freeman, a new sixth-grade math teacher and the very first rookie recipient from Springwoods Village Middle School, said it was an honor to be recognized by the district.

“I work with some amazing teachers,” said Freeman. “I’m truly grateful and I appreciate everything that Principal [Kim] Culley is putting into this.”

Asia Walter, a fourth-grade English Language Arts teacher at Booker Elementary, said she’s come full circle with her decision to teach in Spring ISD.

“It’s pretty cool to share stories with my students and tell them, ‘I was sitting right where you are and went to school right around the corner. It’s nice to talk to them about that and to see so many familiar faces everywhere I go.”

Hirsch Elementary School teacher Diane Moore, who previously worked at a charter school before joining Spring ISD, said she stayed focused on the ultimate goal of becoming a certified teacher.

“It is a tremendous honor, and I can't even explain it because I never thought I would fulfill my lifelong dream,” said Moore. “I’m going to be 60 in June, so it’s never too late.”

Hirsch principal Dr. Clare Resilla spoke highly of Moore, praising her for being a motivation to others while facing personal challenges outside of the classroom.

“When we talk about the year 2020, we always associate it with being perfect vision, but no, I’ve always said this is the year of a clear, purposeful vision,” said Resilla. “For Diane right now, her vision and her purpose of what she is here for is finally aligned. She does the best that she can for our kids and is always willing to help out.”

Moore echoed her principal, stating that Dr. Resilla and the entire team at Hirsch have embraced her within her first year at Spring ISD.

“We all bring something to the table and the support is amazing,” said Moore. “It’s all about teamwork, and at the end of the day, we’re all there for the kids.

Secondary 2019-20 Rookie Teachers of the Year:

  • Ivette Brown, Dekaney High School
  • Sheri Davis, Spring High School
  • Cameron Alvani, Virtual Learning Program
  • Kendra Hampton, Westfield High School
  • Taylor Shepeard, Carl Wunsche Sr. High School
  • Derrick Woodley, Bailey Middle School
  • Keisha Reaves, Bammel Middle School
  • Diana Bounpaseuth, Claughton Middle School
  • Ashley Egland, Dueitt Middle School
  • Chad Hardy, Spring Leadership Academy
  • Bailey Freeman, Springwoods Village Middle School
  • Teresa Carpenter, Twin Creeks Middle School

Elementary 2019-20 Rookie Teachers of the Year:

  • Shayla Mercer, Anderson Elementary School
  • Mellisa Tejada, Beneke Elementary School
  • Asia Walter, Booker Elementary School
  • Briana Creggett, Burchett Elementary School
  • Kathline Lindsey, Clark Primary School
  • Leslie Reames, Cooper Elementary School
  • Jason Holloway, Heritage Elementary School
  • Diane Moore, Hirsch Elementary School
  • Madison Templeton, Jenkins Elementary School
  • Bintu Meeks, Lewis Elementary School
  • Samantha Rollins, Link Elementary School
  • Dera Moy, Major Elementary School
  • Kelli Lewis, Marshall Elementary School
  • Victoria Okosun, Meyer Elementary School
  • Wanda Guerrero, Northgate Crossing Elementary School
  • Samantha Gualandri, Reynolds Elementary School
  • Starlashia Nelson, Salyers Elementary School
  • Brittany Cole Bogan, Thompson Elementary School
  • Seth Kimpel, Winship Elementary School