At the end of every school year, the Pasadena Independent School District honors four Teachers of the Year at the end of each school year whose creativity and dedication push students to excel and reach their highest potential. Our Elementary Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year will go on to represent Pasadena ISD in the 2010 Texas Teacher of the Year competition.
Also, as a local honor, our district notes the accomplishments of an Elementary First-Year Teacher and a Secondary First-Year Teacher, who have come to our district this year with enthusiasm, new teaching strategies and motivational activities that have inspired their students and peers.
Elementary Teacher of the Year
Elizabeth Neubauer from Moore Elementary was a second grade teacher at Moore for 15 years and then volunteered to become the school's Special Education SUCCESS teacher three years ago. Neubauer has a special needs child of her own and understands how to work with students in the SUCCESS class.
"Mrs. Neubauer also knows that all of her students can learn and pushes them to reach their full potential," said Moore principal Jill Lacamu. "Even though it may take her students longer to learn something or they need a lot of repetition before mastering a skill, she never gives up on them."
Lacamu said it is important for the students in the SUCCESS class to be included in the every day activities at the school and Neubauer makes sure this happens. All of her students have school jobs, from picking up the recycling to helping sweep the floors, and they are included in all school programs and pep rallies. If there is special dress days like Go Western Day or Book Character Day, Neubauer brings each one of her students an outfit to wear.
She also feels it is important for her students to seen in the community and that they learn important life skills. She has built a partnership with the local HEB and McDonalds and takes her students on community based instruction trips so they can have real world experiences.
First Year Teacher of the Year
Moore Elementary School's Leah Laredo is a fourth grade teacher who is currently working on her alternative teaching certification. According to Moore principal Jill Lacamu, Laredo goes above and beyond expectations to help her students become successful.
"Fourth grade is one of the hardest grades to teach in elementary school and she meets with her team on a daily basis to make sure she is covering the curriculum and following district timelines," Lacamu said. "On several occasions, her team has mentioned what a quick learner Leah is and how she is just a natural teacher."
Lacamu said Laredo incorporates real world examples and makes learning relevant for her students. "Her positive approach to teaching and tasks is appreciated by all," she said.
Laredo also stresses the imporatance of parent involvement. "Leah understands the importance of involving parents in the education process, Lacamu said. "Because she is proactive when dealing with students and parents, she has earned the respect she deserves."
Secondary Teacher of the Year
Mona Robinson of Memorial High School was chosen as the district's Secondary Teacher of the Year. She was selected because of her abilities to bring English alive each day for students.
Robinson has worked closely with her students and peers in order to help students find success in such a crucial time period in their lives. Assistant Principal Derek Moody says, "Mrs. Robinson demonstrates leadership qualities and is always professional and well prepared to do whatever has been asked of her. She is an asset to the school and will continue to make a difference in the lives of her students."
As a true believer that one never stops learning, Robinson has served as an Abydos Learning International trainer for 20 years. To that end, her students have had consistently high test scores on TAKS tests and she is passionate when it comes to her students success. She also leads many other district and campus staff development workshops during the year.
Outside of the classroom, Robinson is constantly active in extracurricular events such as being an Academic Decathlon coach, UIL coach and serving on various committees.
First Year Secondary Teacher of the Year
Memorial High School science teacher Kristi Trahan has been named the district's First Year Teacher of the Year.
In the classroom, Trahan holds each and every student accountable. They do not leave her classroom unless she has checked personally that they know the information. She takes personal time after school to write and perfect each and every lesson plan. She makes sure to address the needs of all students in every lesson and includes hands-on activities during science lessons.
"Kristi is dedicated to her students. She advocates for them to anyone who will listen. According to her, she has the brightest, most fantastic students in the school. She sees their potential and wants everyone, especially the student, to know about it," said Derek Moody, Memorial assistant principal.
Trahan spends time supporting her students in extracurricular activities as well. She chaperones choir activities with her husband, Paul and has also agreed to be the Co-Cheerleader sponsor for next school year.