Westlake HS EANESpiration Winners, 2018
Left to Right. Back Row: Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard, Chris Hanson, Josh Stevens, Kristen Carroll, Carol Niemann, Tony McClain, Raleigh Taylor and Principal Steve Ramsey. Front Row: Loira Ortiz, Laura Ringwood, Julie Fox, Rose Lamendola, Laura Bergman, Jim Mercado and Jennifer Meyer.
Educational Impact Awards
Those who display leadership and commitment to the district by making a positive, noticeable and significant impact.
Ms. Julie Fox
Julie routinely takes on the most difficult tasks with a smile on her face. When a problem is presented, she already has a solution to it. Over the past 19 years in the district, Julie has worked with some very challenging students and she's never wavered. She is truly an inspiration to everyone she works with, and the students absolutely love her. Julie enjoys working with students with disabilities and truly has a gift for this. She establishes a wonderful rapport with all of her students. In addition, Julie is one of the first people to volunteer to step in whenever something needs to be done. She always has a warm friendly comment for everyone and a smile on her face. The Eanes community is a better place because of Julie Fox.
Ms. Laura Ringwood
Laura Ringwood is the ideal educator. She understands what students need in order to learn mathematical systems and statistical applications while being attuned to students' unique strengths and weaknesses. She pays careful attention to the kids in her classes, recognizing when they are struggling academically or personally, and she takes action to help. She incorporates student interests into her teaching, and collaborates with colleagues in both expected and unexpected ways, demonstrating her high level of professionalism along the way. Students in her classes always speak highly of her grading system, her assignments, her flexibility and her kindness. She is one to admire for her calm in the midst of storms, her ability to organize what seems chaotic, and her focus on what really matters.
Mr. Josh Stevens
Josh is extremely dedicated to the students on his caseload. He goes above and beyond to meet students where they are at each day emotionally, behaviorally, and academically. He does this by finding/peaking areas of interest they might have when they are experiencing heightened emotions. This might mean distracting a student with a game of chess or reading a comic book together, or just problem-solving and finding innovative ways to re-explain situations so that they make sense to the student. Josh also goes out of his way to understand the work assigned to his students so he can academically support them when they enter the classroom. He will sit with them for as long as necessary and help students conduct research for colleges and even helps fund application fees for those struggling to afford them. He is truly a leader within the Behavior Support Team and helps our students facing daily obstacles to succeed at Westlake HS!
Those who perform an outstanding achievement that brings prestige to Eanes ISD, or do something that goes above and beyond the call of duty.
Ms. Kristen Carroll
Frau Carroll organized an Exchange Program with high school students from several different schools in Bavaria, Germany. Last summer, she traveled with Westlake students to Germany, and this year she coordinated hosting 16 German students at Westlake. Frau Carroll inherited the exchange program as a new teacher, and she enthusiastically took up the charge in addition to being the sole teacher for all sections of German class, the sponsor of the German Club, and the founder of the Westlake chapter of the National German Honor Society. Her students say "she brings fun into the classroom every day" and that she "educates in a genuinely interesting way." And, her colleagues benefit from her shared ideas and infectious laughter. Kristen Carroll is most certainly an Eanespirational Hero.
Ms. Rose Lamendola
For the 3rd year in a row, Rose has offered her time and expertise to Kindergarten Roundup to help a new elementary registrar facilitating Roundup on their campus. Many moving pieces go into holding Kinder Roundup on a campus, chief among them, is the collection of enrollment paperwork for incoming students. Rose has volunteered to assist brand new elementary registrars during Roundup to help with the intake and processing of enrollment documentation, as well as reassurance our new registrars can survive the hustle and bustle of an annual event that requires a calm, welcoming smile. Rose actively models what is required day-of and helps in the pre-planning to help make her colleague feel successful.
Mr. Tony McClain
Tony is constantly going above and beyond for students. He is always willing to change his lesson in order to meet the educational needs of each student. Tony is consistently working with students to make sure their individual needs are met. He has created lessons for students with disabilities all the while being able to include them with their peers, and make them feel equal. Whether it is basketball, kickball, or even daily stretches, all students feel welcome and coherent in his classroom.
Mr. Jim Mercado
Jim exhibits such professionalism and delight in serving food and helping others. Staff who are regulars in the Ninth Grade Center cafeteria are privy to his friendliness, the care and flourish with which he puts food on plates, and the obvious love he has for doing his job well while interacting with the people he feeds. He is always joyful and caring.
Ms. Carol Niemann
Ms. Niemann gets to know as much as possible about the students she serves and provides them with a true and valid process when selecting colleges. She is able to speak to the student for who they really are as a person and as a student when writing recommendation letters for students. Ms. Niemann masterfully addresses and handles difficult and trying situations, all while providing the student with both support and accountability. She is also a terrific team member for staff and supports well beyond her assigned students. Ms. Neimann has been a mainstay at WHS and we are so thankful for all she has done for the hundreds of students she has helped over the years.
Ms. Raleigh Taylor
Last year, Raleigh Taylor answered a desperate call for help and helped organize and run the regional Latin Area F Convention. This year, Raleigh remembered it was time for Area to happen again, and she reached out and offered to help once again! The event typically has over 500 participants who compete in an average of four or five events each. Raleigh was there at 6am and she worked her heart out for our kids. With the benefit of last year's experience and planned improvements this year, Raleigh helped make the event run much more smoothly and trained volunteers throughout the day. Raleigh ran scantrons, sorted contests by levels and type, ranked results, counted tie breakers, completed award sheets for contests, and made sure everyone had something to eat and drink while they worked too. Raleigh's organization and dedication, as well as her enthusiasm and upbeat attitude, made this possible. It has been a pleasure to work with her, and we find her truly Eanespirational.
Those who implement a creative or innovative program, teaching method, cost-savings, etc.
Ms. Laura Bergman
Laura Bergman inherited a legacy program and, with respect and grace, she has made it her own. Laura communicates with her students in French in so many ways -- a welcome at the door, deep & meaningful conversations, silly scenarios to practice new grammar concepts, friendly encounters outside of class, and through a myriad of partner, small group, and station work. Laura has brought back countless ideas and strategies from professional development and the Teacher Innovation Academy. She seeks out ideas and feedback on best practices from other teachers- always trying to improve upon her already-innovative ideas for teaching and helping students. She has even tried strategies for innovating assessment, along with her middle school colleague, to maximize what students learn while minimizing the length of assessments and students' stress. As if this were not enough, she has done all of this with new materials for 4 levels of language study. She is amazing!
Mr. Chris Hanson
Chris has been an amazing asset to the campus this year. He was instrumental in bringing Albert.io to our campus. We now have over half of the WHS student body enrolled (153 classes and 90 teachers). While we do not have specific stats just yet, there have been reports from staff of 10-15 point increases for teachers using it this semester. This tool been beneficial for increasing student averages in classes and it is also makes available quality SAT and ACT practice exams with self-correcting information to students at no cost. Chris is a go-getter and we are so grateful he worked to get this innovative tool made available to staff and students.
Ms. Loira Ortiz
When we needed an AP Spanish teacher, Loira Ortiz enthusiastically answered the call. Loira updated the class materials and revamped the AP Spanish program to make it better align with the updated AP standards as well as ACTFL language standards. She has infused fun, meaningful learning experiences and more spoken language in an already-rigorous class. Loira also began a Spanish Honor Society and inducted her first class this year. Students must meet academic and other standards to apply for the Honor Society, and they volunteer and are active members once they are inducted. With her extra-curricular work and her innovation of the AP curriculum, Loira has implemented meaningful innovation -- both within and beyond the classroom -- that has increased participation in the AP program and provided new opportunities for so many students at Westlake High School. Loira Ortiz is truly deserving of an Innovation Award, and she is Eanespirational for us all.
Good Samaritan Award
Those who display compassion, selflessness, or courage by taking initiative
Ms. Jennifer Meyer
Jennifer Meyer stepped into the role of the Food Coordinator for Westlake Theatre this year and has been a lifesaver. On very short notice, she has been known to organize parent donations to feed a crowd of hungry actors and technicians, and has also gone above and beyond her volunteer responsibilities in coordinating help for the UIL One Act Play District Contest we hosted this year. She is levelheaded, even-keeled, and simply a delight. She has saved our bacon on numerous occasions and has done so with no word of complaint. For this and so much more, we are truly grateful.