information for the community

superintendent's awards | MARCH 2014

Dr. Brian G. Gottardy recognized 230 staff members, students and community members for their devotion, ingenuity and initiative for NEISD during the March 4, 2014 Superintendent's Award ceremony.


Tez Pardo, Kalon Hargrove

These two Las Lomas second-grade students traveled with their parents to Austin to present a session with their teacher Lisa Carnazzo at the Tech Forum in November.  These students spoke before a large group of educators and demonstrated how technology in the classroom can be integrated in instruction to enhance the learning of students.  This was the first time students of this age had ever presented at this highly-respected conference. 



Kaitlin Alvarado, MacKenzie Cude, Rebekah Barone, Kasey Coyle, Sydney Short, Evelyn Smith, Kelsey Peters, Kaitlyn Nasis, Lindsey Arredondo, Hailey Hernandez, Kenedy Everest, Sophie Wright, Mehwish Rehman, Mia Chavez, Joshua Coleman, Madison Metze, Adria Berajas, Sydney Paulsen, Lily Mills, Emily Miller, Cody Butrico, Adam Angelico

These fifth-grade Ambassador Buddies exhibit exceptional leadership at Encino Park. They help in the morning, during the day and after school with the school’s special needs students. They serve as role models, learning ways to help meet their academic and social needs.  The Buddies have shown genuine interest in helping these students as they sometimes even give up their recess time to help in the classroom. Not only do our special needs students love spending time with their fifth-grade buddies, their parents truly appreciate the time they spend with their children.



Natalie Navarro, Brandon Ybarra, Adia Hopes, Cecela Gomez Ayala, Chris Adams, Alex Silva, Yazira Gonzalez-Miranda, Abby Soo, Isle Torres Armijo, Cecilia Munoz-Rivera, Dawn Johnson, Maria Basurto Armijo, Melanie Delgado, Braulio Garcia, Jeana Acton, Evelyn Soo, Angie Longoria, Stacy Vancil, Lori Chapa, David Herrera

Jackson Middle School coordinated a campus beautification project that took place at the school in December. These students planted several bushes along the front of the school, added dirt, mulched and put in edging. Because of the time they gave on a Saturday afternoon to do this for the school, Jackson’s ALE students will now be able to maintain and water the areas as part of their work skills program.



Barbara Hand

Before Barbara became a teacher at Coker Elementary, she was a parent and dedicated volunteer.  She has served on numerous campus committees and has held several leadership roles on campus.  She recently volunteered to be a member of the school’s Positive Behavior Support Team and also offered her support to the Lighthouse Team. For the past few years, she has met with her team in the summer to create and cultivate a comprehensive and integrated scope and sequence for her grade level to ensure her students’ engagement and success.  Also, she recently coordinated with community members to provide additional adult volunteers in order to help struggling students more adequately.  Her service and devotion to Coker is always visible--especially since she has recently volunteered to paint the Leader In Me murals on the school walls.



Rosalinda Mendoza, Rick Lopez, Maribel Lacey, Martha Diaz, Melissa Aleman, Lupe Negley, Lorraine Cirlos Martinez, Keli Pena, Jeanette Guerrero, Criselda Guerrero

NEISD Family Specialists hosted the annual Parent Involvement Conference on Nov. 1 at Region 20.  More than 300 parents actively participated in this conference, which provided opportunities and resources to help strengthen parenting skills in our Title I communities. These individuals were an integral part of the team that began planning  the event a year in advance and worked diligently to ensure its success- all of this, in addition to serving the students on their campus in their regular job role.



Ginny Daniels

Ginny is the music teacher at Fox Run Elementary. This year, the school wanted to include activities during their Specials rotation for children to be engaged in higher-order thinking and creative opportunities to foster critical thinking skills. The school decided to use that time for math games and art projects. Ginny volunteered and wrote lesson plans, gathered materials, and worked with assistants to make that session a great success. The children look forward to it every day, and it would not have happened if she hadn't taken the lead.



Robert Garcia, Sammy Gutierrez, Anthony Luna, Ernesto Moreno, Jose Aguirre, Estela Gonzalez

These members of the Canyon Ridge Custodial Team have gone above and beyond their daily duties in the absence of one of their team members who has been out with a broken leg since mid-December.  The team jumped right in and took over all of his workload. Each custodian has had to work quicker and harder in order to get everything done each day for the school.  You would never know that they had so much extra work because of their positive attitude, and the spotless appearance of the school.  This amazing group of hard workers rearranged their schedules and worked together to take care of one of the largest elementary campuses in NEISD. 



Pat Unruh

Coach Unruh is the Canyon Ridge Elementary P.E. teacher. While she maintains a high expectation for student health and wellness, she also goes above and beyond to support the health of the school’s staff. She began this school year encouraging staff members to attend an after-school fitness program that she would lead on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After each fitness session, she sends out an email to all staff highlighting the workout plan for that particular day and encourages anyone unable to participate to complete the fitness activities at another time during the week. She also sends out a fun Friday Fitness Facts email, otherwise known as the FFF. The FFF is short, easy to read and includes research-based health and fitness tips that anyone can use. The entire campus is a healthier place because of her efforts.



Lisa Carnazzo

Lisa serves as a leader at the Las Lomas campus, in our district, and across the state.  She recently presented at the Tech Forum in November with two of her students who we honored earlier. Her presentation focused on utilizing technology in the classroom to enhance teaching and student learning. She also presented at the district’s principals’ meeting in November and has had several invitations from NEISD campuses to come and present on their campus. She has been a teacher for more than 20 years and was recently named a finalist for the TCEA 2013 Teacher of the Year award.



Brent Fessler, Mark Gottsberger, Ramiro Salazar, George Cunningham

The S.T.E.M. Academy nominated these individuals from the Hallmark College of Technology for working directly with their students and assisting in the development of CyberPatriot teams at Lee High School, for both ROTC and S.T.E.M. During the school year, Mr. Salazar and Mr. Cunningham, Hallmark professors, volunteered their time and expertise to teach two classes, twice a week, on networking and cybersecurity. They also coached the teams at the Saturday competitions and provided input to help strengthen the technology program. Mr. Gottsberger, Director of Hallmark School of Business, has been instrumental in coordinating this effort and identifying key professors to work with the students. He also volunteered his time at the Saturday events and made the Hallmark facility available to students. Brent Fessler, President of Hallmark College of Technology, provided the resources and labor to make this partnership so valuable to the S.T.E.M. Academy. The Hallmark Team is a prime example of how business partnerships enrich educational experiences, while also promoting college and career readiness for our students.



Mary Solis, Mary Jung, Anissa Pavel, Samantha Fewell, Samantha Nunez, Kim Cadwell, Cynthia De La Pena, Leticia Barrientos, Elizabeth Ortiz, Jerry Reyes, April Tena, Sandra Quintanilla, Destiny Castillo, Kristen Lewis, Maritza Amador, Melissa Fohn, Brenda McWhorter, Laura Dove, Joy Barton, Katy Bowen, Chen Cao, Denise Hayes, Mel Molina, Trina Heim, Melinda Ganaway, Ron Flugger, Robert Westbrook, James Rios, Selanie Villareal, David Lopez, Oscar Gomez, Zachary Knox, Janet Doyle, Crissel Balentina, Ashlee Farmakakis, Leslie Griffen, Valerie Ballesteros, Elaine Castillo, Dee Raley

Each of these individuals helped make Redland Oaks’ third annual Fit Family Fun Night a huge success, bringing to light to the importance of health and wellness.  Our health partners set up tables to give mini-presentations like you would see at a large heath fair. They gave information and resources to parents and students for healthy living.  Zumba instructor Valerie Ballesteros led a free, hour-long class for parents, students and staff. Medical Center Ophthalmology gave free vision screenings and the NEISD Nutrition Department discussed the importance of eating fresh, well-balanced meals. Also, NEISD Speech volunteers talked to parents about speech screenings for their preschoolers. We thank all the groups in attendance, including H-E-B, the American Heart Association, Community Health First Plans, Epilepsy Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Institute, Massage Therapy, Methodist Health Care System, San Antonio Fire Department, SA Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Stone Oak Pediatric Dentistry, Texas Health Steps and VK Orthodontics. Each organization's representatives worked for several hours to ensure the event's success. 



Cathy Reichart

Cathy is a Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union volunteer who has been an active member of the Redland Oaks Campus Improvement Committee this year. In addition to attending regularly scheduled afternoon meetings that last well past her quitting time, Cathy has found additional ways to support Redland Oaks. In the fall, the school held its annual “Wipe-Out Penny Challenge” fundraiser. Cathy facilitated the usage of the electric coin counter at the local RBFCU several times a week so that the children could calculate and strategize which class to “Wipe-Out” with their silver coins. Shortly after that campaign, the school held its kick-off “School Rock Challenge”.  Parents, students, teachers and staff ran or walked two miles around the track to take a running leap into the fitness challenge. Cathy came through again and RBFCU provided water for the event. In December, Cathy also volunteered as one of our Junior Achievement presenters in a third-grade classroom and the children couldn’t wait for her to come back.



Christina Zalaznik, Diana Weeks, Maria Barrett, Sally Vasquez, Blythe Arguez, Ashley Pullin, Laura Lieck, Don Rogers, Adam Dawson, Stephanie Woods, Rudy Gonzalez

These volunteers from Padgett Stratemann made the “Junior Achievement Day” possible for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Redland Oaks. The students were excited to learn about money management, deposits, withdrawals and savings plans. At the conclusion of the presentations, they treated the teachers to a catered lunch in the library; a rare treat that still remains a topic of conversation in the teachers’ lounge. While visiting Redland Oaks, Padgett Stratemann learned about the Leader In Me process and the school’s commitment to building leadership skills in all its students. As a result, the organization donated more than $600 to assure that their Teacher Lighthouse Team would be able to attend the Symposium held in January. Their partnership and commitment to our students is greatly appreciated.



Lisa Ringler, Wallace Bacon, Diane Meade, Beth Chastain, Joe Chastain, Otho Jordan, Silvia Esparza, Malcom McQueen, Marlene Patton

John Calvin Presbyterian provides reading mentors to Montgomery Elementary every week during their third-, fourth- and fifth-grade intervention periods. Each day, three mentors meet with approximately 54 students for 30-minute reading sessions. The program has been successful in establishing a positive relationship with students and encouraging reading.  In addition, John Calvin Presbyterian provides many volunteers to help with school events during the year including the fall festival, holiday gifts, classroom volunteers and book art projects.



Emilio Martinez, Juan Castillo, Dave Moreno, Shawn Moylin, Karen Spangrud, Jonathan Vanglider, Garrett Mai, Mike Garcia

OfficeMax manager Emilio Martinez provided a generous donation of approximately $300 to help the Thousand Oaks Garden Club's wish of multiple raised garden beds come to light.  Then- Emilio and these members of his team, along with volunteer Garrett Mai spent an entire day at the school building the garden beds.  They provided the hard labor of hauling, dragging, drilling, and pounding the timbers and rebar to create three beds.  They then filled up the beds with soil and mulch making them ready for the eagerly awaiting members of the Garden Club.



Mary Ann Waldrip, Pam Phillips, Gayle Elliotte, Demie Mayfield, Cheryl Brewer, Christina Martinez, Robyn Myers, Mary Flannigan

San Antonio Youth Literacy has provided many reading tutors for the past five years at Harmony Hills Elementary.  These reading tutors work with at least two second graders who are not reading on grade level, once a week for 30 minutes per student.  These tutors have devoted their time for the past two years helping children become better readers and along the way, making a difference in children's lives.  They have also sponsored children for the holidays by providing gifts - and have supported the school financially through donations.  They have gone above and beyond to meet the needs of our students. A special thank you goes to, Christina Martinez, Robyn Myers and Mary Flannigan who do a great job overseeing this very effective program at Harmony Hills.



Bill Swan, Jim Chandler, Mike Gentry, Sally Yost, Steve Behr, Lou Behr, Robert Woody, Art Ramseur, Judith Anthony, Joe Lamm, Joan West

Over the past several years, volunteers from the Church of Reconciliation have made a big impact at Serna Elementary. They come two days a week after school and tutor at the school and the local apartment buildings. They also volunteer many hours in the summer enrichment program. These individuals recognize and understand the value of giving to others and while these wonderful volunteers expect nothing in return, it is evident they too are rewarded when they make strides with our students.



Mary Longloy, Amy Little, Kelly Forester, Alyson Sparks, Kelly Campsey, Kim McManus, Michaele Pansza, Caron Canady, Brooke Lucero

The Redland Oaks Lighthouse Team has been vigilant in their efforts to lead the campus to achieving Lighthouse status from the Leader In Me, Franklin Covey organization. They attended professional development and put in many long hours. The team increased the number of student school-wide leadership roles from three organizations to 9, providing more than 160 students with leadership opportunities. They have helped each of their teams implement and improve Student Leadership Notebooks, Classroom Mission Statements, Classroom Leadership Roles, Classroom and School-wide Scoreboards, hallway student work displays, and age-appropriate student-led conferences. The team also planned and hosted a Leader In Me Night, where students and their parents participated in a fun and interactive 7 Habits Scavenger Hunt.



Alan Rochkus, Libby Querry, Tina Galindo, Rene Comalander, Jenni Brooks, Dawn Caussade, Kathy Davis, Monica Laughlin, Leigh Anne Roeber, Sherri Bozer

Principal Alan Rochkus, the Lighthouse Team, staff, students, and parents worked tremendously hard to earn this distinction. Becoming a Lighthouse School requires full implementation of the Leader in Me process, which can take two to three years to achieve. Every student has a leadership role at Leader in Me schools. These young people are engaged, connected, and goal oriented. They really are the leaders of tomorrow, because they are already learning to lead right now. This brings the total number of Lighthouse schools in North East to 6…and there are only 65 in the entire world. 



Andrea Robbins

Andrea makes the Thousand Oaks campus beautiful and is the go-to-gal when the school needs to transform the campus.  She is a genius at taking themes and translating them visually; the cafeteria becomes a garden for the Kinder "Garden" celebration, or the lobby becomes a corral during Rodeo.  Her main canvas is a floor to ceiling wall in the lobby that changes as the season or activities change. It has been turned into an enormous bucket as the counselors introduced Bucket Fillers, a city under construction during the PTA membership drive, and a movie marquee celebrating the theme "Be Your Kid's Biggest Fan." .



Michelle Velasquez

Michelle volunteers throughout the year to make Wilshire Elementary a positive and inviting environment for students, staff and the community.  She works tirelessly to hand draw, paint and cut out displays for the front foyer that are themed for the month and/or season.  Her passion for the Wilshire community can be seen by all as she greets parents and encourages them to also get involved with the school. 



Greg Bradley

Greg is the epitome of what makes North East a successful school district.  He is a retired 8th grade history teacher from the district.  Every Tuesday afternoon, Greg can be found in the library at Wood Middle School helping students.  He works with small groups and individuals to master difficult concepts, making real-world connections and building relationships. He also has volunteered for Social Studies Super Saturday camps, Commended Camp, and the school’s History Zone this spring in preparation for April’s History STAAR test. 



Shirley Gebhardt

Master Gardener Shirley Gebhardt shares her time and talent with Thousand Oaks Elementary as she teaches members of the Garden Club how to garden.  A former educator and retired Thousand Oaks counselor, she creates lesson plans for each club meeting and engages the members as she teaches them not only how to plant a garden, but also how to select plants, take care of them, and monitor their growth.  On weeks that the club doesn’t meet, she is at the school watering the plants, weeding the beds, and measuring growth patterns.  Ms. Gebhardt also donates cuttings and plants from her own private collection and shops for supplies donating her own funds and creates a special mulch mixture so the plants will thrive. 



Jose Colon, Joseph Ward, Paul Castellano, Edmundo Ramos

These gentlemen have volunteered as Watch DOGS at Harmony Hills at least one day, every week this year.  What makes these gentlemen so special is their motivation to help students by mentoring and tutoring on a consistent basis. Grandpa Jose Colon comes on Wednesdays and has committed two hours of his time to working with kindergarten students who need one-on-one with reading.  Joseph Ward comes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and has committed his time tutoring and mentoring a fifth-grade class.  He also has given numerous free self-defense classes to parents and staff. Paul Castellano has given numerous free lessons on body awareness focusing on teaching staff members and parents physical skills on how to de-stress. Edmundo Ramos comes every Friday and devotes at least two hours tutoring kindergarten students one-on-one in various subjects.



Kathy Ross

Most of the volunteers at Johnson High School come once every two weeks for a few hours. Kathy comes EVERY morning to help out.  Before school is the busiest time and Kathy offered to help out without hesitation. She helps with computer logins and assists with printing.  She also volunteered to create large displays in the library. She goes out to purchase needed materials and often will drive down to the Resource Center at Central Office to cutout phrases and other decorative pieces.  She seems to know instinctively what needs to be done and does it willingly and efficiently.  Kathy is a dedicated and proud mom of a senior football defense player, Mark, and she occasionally opens up her home to the varsity football defense team for dinners. 

Jessica Medina

When she is asked to help in the Dellview cafeteria, front office, with parental involvement activities, teacher/student projects or any other events, Jessica always says yes with a smile. She is an active member in the PTA and campus Parental Involvement Committee. Currently, she is the school’s Box Tops Queen.  Her enthusiasm, commitment and leadership have helped Dellview raise $1,400.  She continuously comes up with new incentives and ideas to motivate students in their collection process.  Her goal is to turn in 50,000 Box Tops by the end of the year. Her innovative ideas, school spirit and contagious smile have brought so much positive energy to the school. 



Pat Nesrsta

Pat is a great grandmother who always volunteers and helps in any way that she can at Dellview. She is known by all as “Grandma Pat.” She has been a Dellview volunteer and PTA member for 50 years. In fact, she has been volunteering at the school since her own children were in elementary school. She volunteers at least three hours a week by helping in the cafeteria, facilitating parent academy classes, volunteering in the classroom, taking projects home to complete for teachers, helping collect Box Top Points, and helping during classroom activities. She will do anything that is asked with a smile.



Allen Hodapp Sr

Mr. Hodapp has two children at Redland Oaks.  Since the first day of school, he has served as one of the Watch DOGS during the early morning arrival times daily. He helps parents and students moving through the drop-off lanes, riding their bikes, or walking to Redland Oaks. His bright and happy disposition remains constant. He always helps students begin their day in a warm and welcoming manner. Mr. Hodapp models to all our children the importance of positive parent involvement.



Fidencia Gonzalez, Rosa Harlan

Montgomery PTA President Fidencia Gonzalez and Treasurer Rosa Harlan have displayed leadership, initiative and dedication by always taking on multiple projects for the school.  Both work as a team to develop and complete additional fund raising projects on their own time. They organize “Fun Fridays” after school, twice a month, to provide healthy snacks for parents and raise funds for the PTA. In October, they provided all the meal items for the fall festival, which raised additional school funds. Several times a year they have family movie nights and dances that promote school unity.



Katie Taylor

Katie is a positive, friendly and outgoing parent volunteer that jumps right in wherever there is a need. Last year, she and her son Logan were new to Canyon Ridge. She immediately asked what she could do to help - and took on the annual Bike Rodeo event. She organized several hundred bikes, students and parents. It was such a success, she volunteered for Bike Rodeo duty again this year. She is also at the school daily to pick up and fill spirit orders, and helps every Friday in the spirit store. This year alone, she has already given 280 hours of her time.



Marie Price, Elsa Alva

Marie and Elsa are extraordinary Stone Oak Elementary PTA representatives who support Dellview, Stone Oak’s sister school, in a variety of ways. They have organized school supply drives, clothing drives and very successful food drives for Dellview families.  During the holidays they organized the “Decorate for Dellview Food Drive.” Students had the opportunity to purchase turkey feathers for 25 cents. Each classroom set a goal as to how many feathers they wanted to purchase to decorate their classroom turkeys.  All monies raised, were used to purchase food baskets for Dellview families. Marie and Elsa are very compassionate, spirited, and caring individuals with a lot of positive energy. 



Amy Sadler, BriAnne Woodward

Before the winter break, Amy and BriAnne became aware of a sad situation with one particular student at Driscoll Middle School. This young man was in both of their classes and was most likely not going to have a very merry Christmas because of his family's financial circumstances.  Amy and BriAnne took it upon themselves to reach out to the Driscoll staff and collected donations to purchase gifts for the student's family.  The response was overwhelming.  They presented the student with all the gifts before he left for break. Then, BriAnne delivered even more gifts to the student’s home. The family was extremely grateful and this was a great reminder of what the true spirit of the holidays is all about. 



Amanda Kuykendall

Amanda not only serves as a dispatcher for the Transportation department, she has also donated her time and energy to several worthy causes for her co-workers and community. Each year, she coordinates the collection of clothing items from the three NEISD Bus Terminals. Twice during the year, she collects all the items and delivers them to the SAMM Shelter. She also coordinates the Transportation North Terminal Elf Louise Toy Drive, collecting and donating several hundred dollars worth of toys and more that $500 in cash each year. Amanda puts up the flyers announcing the toy drive, collects the toys and cash donations and delivers everything in time for Christmas delivery each year.  Additionally, Amanda boosts employee spirits by posting motivational notes every week for the drivers and assistants. And when she’s not doing this, she is managing the Transportation North softball team. 


Cynthia Villarreal, Danica Sarmiento, Bonnie Oyervides, Luz Alejandro, Sylvia Alejandro, Elizabeth Alejandro, Esther Cisneroz, Mark Chambers, Carol Chambers, Catherine Chambers, Joshua Chambers, Julie Chambers, Glenda Cuellar, Juneanne Holder, Patti Jo Rushing, AnaEliz Harford, Peggy Turner, Ruben Portillo, Amabel Lopez, Raven Lopez, Julianna Lopez, Luke Lopez, Mary Medrano, Linda Millerviargues, Patricia Pena, Jarryn Pena, Kaemon Pena, Stacie Kinsey, David Kinsey, Elizabeth Tabler, Armando Jimentel, Holly Hayes

Each year, the district coordinates an Angel Tree Project with help from many wonderful volunteers including staff, spouses and children. This year, three families from our Title 1 campuses were selected to receive the gifts and donations. Before that though, the families received Thanksgiving dinner care packages. Armando from Lubys, Holly from Bill Millers and our own Safety Specialist Ruben Portillo donated turkey dinners for each of the families to enjoy. Then, work began setting up the Angel Tree project – spearheaded by Peggy Turner. In total there were 21 children from 7 months to 12 years of age who were in need of gifts. More than 200 gifts were collected for the three families. In addition, two large boxes of extra gifts were wrapped and donated by Ruben. One of the families’ young daughters had asked Santa for a dollhouse, something outside the normal Angel Tree gift items. Employee AnaEliz Harford stepped up and donated one for her that Santa was able to deliver himself. Among our volunteers, David Kinsey played our wonderful Santa and Elizabeth Tabler drove the school bus for all the deliveries. Everyone reached into their pockets, but most importantly into their hearts, to make Thanksgiving and Christmas extra special for three of the district’s neediest families.



Posted on March 5, 2014