West Ridge MS EANESpiration Winners, 2021
Those who display leadership and commitment to the district by making a positive, noticeable and significant impact.
Ana Barrientos, Special Education Teacher
For a first-year teacher taking on both remote and in-person learning at the same time, Ms. Barrientos is the true definition of flexibility and commitment! In the most difficult of school years, Ana has been patient, resilient and compassionate with her students. She works to provide the best accommodations for all of her students so they all have the best chance of learning and that each individual is engaged. Ana comes in with an amazing attitude each day, and her love for her students is incredible! She puts in hours far beyond what is required of her in order to be the best educator she can be! She is an inspiration to her entire team!
Kristin Behnke, Reading Specialist
Ms. Behnke is the glue that holds RTI together at WRMS! Kristin has taken on so many roles to benefit all students at WRMS and ensure all students are receiving the support they need to be successful. From dyslexia specialist to reading specialist to running SST meetings, Kristin is a rockstar! Her students love her enthusiasm and excitement for learning.
Gabe Geering, Math Teacher
Mr. Geering is the type of teacher everyone wishes they had when they were in school. His cool and laid-back demeanor combined with his innovative teaching make learning math fun. Whether it's his original math rap videos or his use of virtual whiteboards, his lessons are engaging and thoughtful. He entertains the campus with his skills on the mic and you can always count on catching that Rebecca Black song blasting in the hallways on Friday. We are lucky to have Mr. Geering at WRMS.
Valerie Jackson, Special Ed TA
Ms. Jackson works so well with students every day in Modified Math class. She is creative in the way she instructs, patient and incredibly kind. She further breaks down math steps in a way that is engaging and clear to understand for them. She is such a huge asset to our teachers, and consistently helpful every single day! Valerie is always very positive and always encouraging the learning process. It is amazing to see our students grow in math knowledge and confidence because of her!
Kara Predatsch, Math and Yearbook Teacher
Ms. Predatsch willingly stepped up to take over the WRMS yearbook program after the start of this school year and has done an incredible job motivating her middle school yearbook staff to design an innovative publication that is engaging and fun. This is no easy feat during a pandemic when kids are both at-home and in-school and the usual school-based activities are virtual in many instances. Kara is constantly assessing the needs of all her students and creating individualized plans for students in need. She takes the time to follow up with students on assignments, loops in parents and case managers when needed, and goes above and beyond to help create personalized organizational systems and behavior plans for students in need. And on top of it all, she makes it look easy!
Lisa Ruggiero, Permanent Substitute
Ms. Ruggiero accepted a last-minute long-term sub position at the beginning of the school year for one of our colleague’s maternity leave. As soon as she said yes, Lisa hit the ground running; attending Zoom staff meetings, getting to know the team, and familiarizing herself with all of the beginning-of-the-year procedures necessary to teach the incoming 6th graders. Lisa amazed us with her strong work ethic and positive attitude. Not only did she spend 8 hours a day Zooming with students, she worked tirelessly on nights and weekends to grade papers, plan lessons, and prepare materials. Thank you, Lisa, for providing excellent instruction and giving your heart and soul to the new 6th grade students at West Ridge! And we are so happy that you have taken on a permanent sub position on our campus. Her reliability, generosity, kindness, and dedication make her an EANESpiration to everyone!
One who displays compassion, selflessness, or courage by taking initiative.
Sumitha Tharasingh, Volunteer
Ms. Tharasingh was on the career day committee and she spent countless hours away from her day time job during the day and away from her family in the evening tweaking the zoom virtual career day so that it could still happen at WRMS for our 8th-grade students. She really went above and beyond the call of duty to make this happen.
Those who perform an outstanding achievement that brings prestige to Eanes ISD, or do something that goes above and beyond the call of duty.
Howard Bushong, Permanent Substitute
Mr. Bushong has been an invaluable addition to our WRMS staff this year! He is always the first to jump in and volunteer for any and all jobs. Lunch duty? Got it. Office help? No problem. Cover teen skills? Band? Math? Basket weaving? Pick up a teacher whose car won't start? Don't think twice about it. Howard has been an absolute blessing for WRMS. Throughout this crazy COVID year, we could not have covered all needs without Howard and his never-ending support. Thank you, Howard. We're not sure how we survived before you joined our team. You are the best!
Katherine Collier, Volunteer
Ms. Collier helped us get both our wholeness room and school store up and running. She spent countless hours organizing and doing everything she could to provide a fabulous setup! Wherever there is a need, we find Katherine. She helps so much at school and always goes above and beyond to help staff and students. She is a wonderful supporter of all things West Ridge and we are extremely grateful!
Kelly Cummings, Science Teacher and Coach
Ms. Cummings is not only a gold star science teacher, but she has a heart of gold to match. She constantly tries to pull our faculty together with invitations to the "4:01 Club" after-school Zoom get-togethers, which has been a reminder that we still need to informally connect even in a time of continued social distancing. She is quick to volunteer to help with tasks beyond the scope of her teaching and coaching responsibilities; when proctors were needed for recent testing sessions on weekends, Kelly immediately said yes. Her input with students and how she reaches them emotionally and academically is amazing! While this has been a difficult year teaching remotely and in-person, she continues to rock it and make a difference to her students. Thank you Ms. Cummings for going the extra mile!
Sybille Pepper, Collaborative Teacher
Ms. Pepper has served many roles in Eanes schools through the years but recently made the jump to become a teacher and wow, she has made a huge impact! She is an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher that goes above and beyond and will do whatever it takes for her students to be successful. She consistently offers to lend a hand and her commitment to the campus and district is admirable. She has a positive attitude that is contagious, and the students and staff appreciate her so much.
Melissa Rones, Volunteer
Ms. Rones has gone above and beyond for four years, providing career day to our 8th-grade students. This year it took countless hours due to the virtual nature of the career day. She hosted evening practices and went beyond the call of duty to make it happen. So many students were able to benefit from her planning and organization! Thank you Melissa Rones!
Those who implement a creative or innovative program, teaching method, cost-savings, etc.
Rebekah Ellis, English Teacher and Student Council Sponsor
Knowing how important it is to keep communication lines open for sharing announcements with the student body, Ms. Ellis invited her Student Council group to run weekly announcements which are recorded and then broadcast each week for kids who are both in-person and remote. This allows students to keep up with messages, hear who's having a birthday that week, and to get to know the staff during spotlight "interviews" conducted by members of the Student Council organization. What a great way for WRMS to stay connected as a "family" even during COVID times!