Westlake High School English teacher Kitty Mellenbruch was named Eanes ISD Educator of the Year at tonight's Employee Recognition and Retiree dinner.
Principal Steve Ramsey & Kitty Mellenbruch
Mellenbruch is in her 27th year teaching English at Westlake High School, which includes her student teaching completed at WHS. She is described as an inspirational and popular teacher, as shown by her six Golden Apple awards, which are voted on by students. Kitty is also known as an incredible mentor to new teachers.
It is her approach to this academic year that inspired her colleagues to nominate her for Educator of the Year at the campus level. This year, Kitty is working with a new pedagogy, embracing new teaching methods with professionalism and a willingness to learn. Her focus has been to create activities that best fit her students' needs and not rely on what has always been done. Kitty challenges students to write and express their understandings at the highest levels while nurturing them as 14 and 15 year olds. Kitty was doing wonders with Social Emotional Learning before the term had been created.
The committee was impressed by Kitty's desire and ability to make connections with students to build relationships. She also showed the importance of teacher growth as she has become more of a risk taker with technology after self-admittedly being somewhat of a reluctant adopter.
The Campus Educators of the Year are:
Barton Creek Elementary – Caroline Kelner, Life Skills Teacher
Caroline Kelner has 10 years of teaching under her belt, with five in Eanes ISD. Currently she is a Life Skills teacher at Barton Creek Elementary. Previously, she worked as an Inclusion teacher in Chicago and also worked with autism students before moving to Texas and finding her way to BCE.
Bridge Point Elementary School – Marni Osofsky, GT Specialist
Marni Osofsky is a Gifted & Talented Specialist at Bridge Point Elementary. She has 25 years teaching experience, with eight years in Eanes ISD. Prior to BPE, Osofsky worked as a fourth grade teacher, coach and athletic director at the Austin Jewish Academy. She also worked 10 years at Cedar Creek Elementary as a fourth and fifth grade teacher.
Cedar Creek Elementary School – Allison Eicke, Campus Support Specialist
Allison Eicke has 11 years of teaching under her belt, wrapping up her ninth year at Cedar Creek. She serves as the Campus Support Specialist, working with dyslexic students on how to decode and encode words at their specific reading level. She has also taught first grade at CCE.
Eanes Elementary – Tracey Aycock
Tracey Aycock has 27 years teaching experience, with three years heading the music program at Eanes Elementary. Prior to EE, Aycock spent 24 years teaching music and directing choirs in Spring Branch ISD.
Forest Trail Elementary – Sarah Culpepper Chen, Kindergarten Teacher
Sarah Culpepper Chen is in her fourth year teaching Kindergarten at Forest Trail Elementary, with 10 years of experience teaching in the U.S. She taught ESL in Bejing while going to graduate school, then returned to the states to work on her certification before joining Comal ISD for five years.
Valley View Elementary – Dr. Holly Moore, Educational Technologist
Dr. Holly Moore is the Educational Technologist at Valley View Elementary, where she integrates technology while supporting curriculum development and teaching. Before joining the VVE staff, Moore served as an assistant professor at Texas Woman's University, and also held teaching positions in Austin ISD and Irving ISD.
Hill Country Middle School – Lee Anne Verret, 6th Grade Science Teacher
Lee Ann Verret has 24 years of teaching experience, with 20 in Eanes ISD. Currently she teaches 6th grade science at Hill Country Middle School and is in her fourth year as department head. Prior to HCMS, Verret taught 7th grade science at the Longfellow Career Exploration Academy in Dallas ISD.
West Ridge Middle School – Teresa Bowerman, 6th & 8th Grade English Teacher
Teresa Bowerman has taught 6th and 8th grade English at West Ridge Middle School four years. She previously served as a substitute in Eanes ISD seven years, including teaching during the 1:1 iPad rollout. Prior to Eanes ISD, Bowerman was an English and Drama teacher at Olympia High School in Washington.
Campus Educators of the Year
Employees with 25 years experience and those retiring were also recognized.
Bill Bechtol, VVE/Central Admin/BCE
Julie Campbell, WRMS
Janet Espinosa, WHS
Cheryl Floyd, HCMS
Michel Froneberger, WHS
Gloria E. Garza, Ph.D, WHS
Constance Hanselka, WHS
Oscar James, WHS
Danae Kozelsky, HCMS
Denise Murphy, HCMS
James Rosch, M&O
Stephen Shands, WHS
Diana Silva, WRMS
Julia Skinner, HCMS
Michelle Vendetti, BCE
25 Year Employees
Pamela Bush, HCMS
Cheryl Floyd, HCMS
Norman Hopkins, M&O
Linda Kimbrough, FTE
Laurie Lee, Central Admin
Susan Murphy, WRMS
Thomas Perez, HCMS
Marolyn Smith, BCE
Pamela Stryker, BCE
Michele Vendetti, BCE
Congratulations to all of our employees who were recognized.