Frank Ortiz. Front Row: Laurie Ackerman, Cindy Phillips, Randy Ratliff, Leah Pagano, Reesa Thorne
Educational Impact Award
Those who display leadership and commitment to the district by making a positive, noticeable and significant impact.
Ms. Cindy Phillips
Ms. Phillips is described as one who goes well beyond what is expected of a substitute teacher. She is dependable, trustworthy, hardworking, creative, holds students accountable, and never says "no". She has been there for the visual art department in several long-term substitute situations and has moved the students forward, which makes the students and faculty grateful. She has also helped out quite a bit substituting in the Special Education department. It is hard to keep up with her as she may be in 4 or 5 different places in a day- where ever she is needed. And through all of this and despite obstacles, her sense of humor never wanes. We are so lucky to have her in the district!
Mr. Randy Ratliff
Mr. Ratliff works as a TA with our Special Needs students. He does such a great job of showing dignity to students while being able to have fun with them and maintain a level of authority in order to maximize the students' educational experience. He is quick with a laugh and always makes time to have fun with the students. Mr. Ratliff is flexible and always willing to go the extra mile. He is a pleasure to work with and a treasure for Westlake.
Good Samaritan Award
One who displays compassion, selflessness, or courage by taking initiative.
Ms. Leah Pagano
Ms. Pagano has been a consistent and enthusiastic advocate for staff wellness. She planned and promoted fun and healthy events such as smoothie mornings, yoga, and boot camp. She has helped highlight healthy lifestyle choices with accessible and no-pressure activities. Ms. Pagano also has been active on our SEL morning discussions. She has a true understanding of SEL and implements SEL in the classroom and with her students. She is awesome at what she does and is always looking for other ways to serve. Ms. Pagano is very passionate about improving the atmosphere here at WHS. She is invested in the students and staff's well-being. She is positive and always encouraging. Leah Pagano is a great asset to WHS!
Ms. Ana Rooke
Ms. Rooke put many hours into organizing the academic awards for WHS. She took on the monumental task of organizing and facilitating the end-of-year teacher recognition awards. She was able to communicate to teachers the changed format for this year and set up a procedure for teachers to submit their recognitions. When needed, Ms. Rooke gave teachers gentle reminders, including showing up at their classroom doors if needed. She also made sure that the awards to be presented in the classroom were printed and placed in teachers mail boxes for distribution. This was all accomplished with humor and grace. Ms. Rooke, we appreciate you and the many hours you worked to make student recognition a success.
Ms. Reesa Thorne
Ms. Thorne has organized and led weekly free after school yoga at WHS for any who are interested. She is always patient and positive, yet challenges us to do our best. She is dependable, motivated, caring, and very committed to the WHS PTO. She gives so much of her time to make WHS a better place.
Ms. Thorne not only helps us physically, but she also helps us mentally. She challenges us to get out of our comfort zone and try harder. She has made a positive change in the lives of the people in the class and is truly amazing.
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. Laurie Ackerman
Ms. Ackerman has risen to a high level of help and understanding with the faculty, staff, students and parents of WHS. She always takes the time to listen to issues or requests and comes up with a solution or plan of action. She has such a welcoming face for all who visit - she is amazing and the epitome of customer service. When Laurie is sick or out of the office, it is amazing that the campus can function! We are so grateful for her smile, her friendliness and willingness to help anyone, everyone, every time!
Ms. Gayle Morris
Gayle Morris allows no clue to go undetected. No job is too small or too big for "Blue Moon Detective Agency". It is rare for a case to not be solved. She goes above and beyond with every task she is given. She relates well to students and staff alike. She makes her job fun for the kids, but when called for, she is strictly business and professional.
We have seen Ms. Morris in very serious and sensitive situations. She is a master at showing compassion and strength. She is a valuable resource to EISD and always has the safety and security of WHS as her top priority--and always with a smile on her face. She is truly a kind and compassionate person-one of a kind! We cannot imagine WHS without Thunder on duty!
Mr. Frank Ortiz
Mr. Ortiz is always supportive of any requests, going above and beyond for everyone. From jump starting an employee's car battery, to hauling furniture or equipment, to fishing a cell phone from a storm sewer for a student, he never says no. He often comes in early to take care of business and is known to step in and help when it was not his job to do so. He takes care of whatever issue is at hand, and always cheerfully and with a smile. He is such an asset to have in EISD and we all appreciate him so much!
Ms. Suzanne Rosato
Ms. Rosato is the theatre department's biggest supporter. She single-handedly organizes snacks and meals for our students for all of our dress rehearsals, shows and other events (three shows in the fall semester, and three in the spring). She is an amazing designer, and has created posters, programs, tickets, and other items for our department. Ms. Rosato also maintains our website, keeping parents and students up-to-date with schedules and information. She is always on-call to run "emergency" errands or to help with last minute items. Our students agree, saying: "She is one of the kindest and most selfless people," "She goes above and beyond to help our theatre program," "She's one of the theatre program's biggest supporters." And we agree! Thank you!
Mr. David Tolin
Mr. Tolin is the glue that holds much of what we do in fine arts together. He is calm, cool, and collected, even when last minute requests for complicated technical elements (props, lights, sound, set, even pyrotechnics) come to him. He moves between dance, theatre, band, and choir to fulfill all of our needs for production and design, and never once complains about the multiple tasks he's juggling. What's more, all of his work is flawless. He truly leads by example by teaching his students to conduct themselves in a similarly professional manner.
Our theatre students also shared: "He is my hero in life," "He's welcoming and kind," "He is a good influence," "He always has our best interests at heart," "No one is better at what he does."