"Together We Can" winners Eric Brown of Dobie High, Jean Duffey of Sam Rayburn High and Saul Hernandez of Red Bluff Elementary display their trophies at Thursday's awards luncheon.
Two high-school teachers - one of them proud to be "homeless" - and an elementary school teacher were named winners of the three major awards presented at the Pasadena ISD's "Together We Can" luncheon at the Administration Building on Thursday.
Dobie High science teacher Eric Brown was named winner of the "Achieve More" award, presented to the district teacher or employee who is "instrumental in contributing to student success or toward the accomplishment of a major school or department goal."
Sam Rayburn High math teacher Jean Duffey received the "Think Big" award, presented to "an employee who comes up with a brilliant idea that changes the way the district, a campus or a department approaches and solves a major issue."
Saul Hernandez, a bilingual third-grade teacher at Red Bluff Elementary, was named winner of the "Create Magic" award, presented to "an employee who creates an innovative classroom experience or finds a creative way to impact the lives of our students, our staff or our community."
The winners were praised for their dedication, creativity and, in Duffey's case, extreme self-sacrifice.
To better understand the needs of so-called "floater" teachers - those who, because of space limitations, move from classroom to classroom each period -- Duffey gave up the comforts of her own classroom to become a "floater" teacher.
That experience helped her write grant requests that resulted in more than $15,000 being awarded to the school to help meet the logistical needs of "floaters."
A total of 52 teachers and employees were honored as "Together We Can" campus and department winners, each selected by a principal or supervisor.
Brown was honored for his work in securing grants and donations to start a medical microbiology program at Dobie and to provide science classrooms with new microscopes.
He has developed a partnership with M.D. Anderson Hospital that provides Dobie students with hands-on training in an actual medical setting. He also serves as a member of the district's Alternative Teacher Certification Program advisory board.
Hernandez was praised for his innovative and creative classroom environment, one that features his many engineering skills. He often uses hand-built models to provide unique learning activities.
Duffey in recent years landed three grants to buy laptops and enhance mobile stations for "floater" teachers. She has served on several state and national committees, and conducted numerous seminars, all dealing with teacher mentor programs. Her mentoring efforts are considered a critical part of Sam Rayburn High's success in retaining quality teachers.
Campus and department winners in the "Achieve More" category are:
Letty Balderaz, South Houston Elementary; Barbara Berry, HOSTS Program; Melissa Carpenter, Miller Intermediate; Lorena Carrasco, Golden Acres Elementary; Robin Cate, Milstead Middle School; Carolyn Cochran, Atkinson Elementary; Peggy Craft, Pearl Hall Elementary; Elizabeth Daniels, Beverly Hills Intermediate; Cameron Dodson, South Belt Elementary; Donna Duke, Turner Elementary; Martycela Gamez, Sparks Elementary; Maria I. Gonzalez, Fisher Elementary; Noelle Hoke, South Shaver Elementary; Yadira Lozano, Freeman Elementary; Beth Anne Mullen, Moore Elementary; Nora Munoz and Cindy Naron, Special Programs; Jose Munoz, Richey Elementary; Carla Pace, San Jacinto Intermediate; Karen Price, Schneider Middle School; Melanie Resendez, Laura Bush Elementary; Charity Rice, Frazier Elementary; Cherie Steadman, Kruse Elementary; and Tom Swan, Community School.
Campus and department winners in the "Think Big" category are:
Lee Boler, Genoa Elementary; Gabriela Chapa, Jensen Elementary; Glenda Collins, Maintenance Department; Zelda Cryar, Tax Office; Olga Lloyd, Matthys Elementary; Pat Lozano, Morales Elementary; Kay McBride, Leadership and Instructional Support; Pam Murray, Transportation; Robin Pool, Administrative Services; Lisa Rieck, De Zavala Middle School; Amanda Ring, Jessup Elementary; and Olga Sanchez, Park View Intermediate.
Campus and department winners in the "Create Magic" category are:
Karen Bounds, Jackson Intermediate; Kimberly Buskirk, Gardens Elementary; Mary Carter, Melillo Middle School; Mary and Enrico Fonte, Southmore Intermediate; Silvia Garcia, Teague Elementary; Ana Head, Parks Elementary; Carrie Hunnicutt; South Houston Intermediate; Lloyd Love, Memorial High School; Lucia Pena, Williams Elementary; Shannon Raygoza, Visual Arts; Laura Rodriguez, Keller Middle School; Bertha Sherrill, Mae Smythe Elementary; Cecelia Stewart, Meador Elementary; and Claudia Valadez, Bobby Shaw Middle School.
"Achieve More" winner Eric Brown of Dobie High.
"Think Big" winner Jean Duffey of Sam Rayburn High.
"Create Magic" winner Saul Hernendez of Red Bluff Elementary.