Bridge Point Elementary fifth-grade teacher Tracie Mojica was named Eanes ISD Educator of the Year at today's virtual Employee Recognition and Retiree Celebration. Due to COVID-19 and schools closed, the event was held via Zoom amongst hundreds of attendees.
Tracie began her teaching career in Eanes ISD 18 years ago at Bridge Point Elementary, and that’s where she has stayed. Currently Tracie teaches 5th grade but she has also taught 3rd and 4th grade at BPE.
Her passion for teaching and for the well-being of her students is evidenced by her relentless dedication to truly knowing her students and investing in them 100%. She is a master at building relationships and bringing out the best qualities in everyone. Tracie doesn't need a scripted lesson plan to teach a lesson; her creativity shines in the classroom as she comes up with meaningful lessons that the kids enjoy. Tracie loves her students, parents and her job with a passion. She has been a light to be around for all in her presence.
Tracie has served the district as a member of the District ELA, Social Studies, and RSB Curriculum Committees, In addition, she was a mentor teacher for the Central Texas Writing Institute and a teacher sponsor for the Westlake Women’s Lacrosse program. Tracie has served Bridge Point as a 5th Grade team leader for 8 years and represented the campus as a member of the Bridge Point Discipline Committee, Sunshine committee and the Campus Leadership Team.
The nine campus winners participated in an interview process to select the 2020 District Educator of the Year. The Westlake Rotary Club sponsors the award and Rotary members serve on the District selection committee.
The Campus Educators of the Year are:
Barton Creek Elementary – Leslie Abbott, Kindergarten Teacher
Leslie Abbott has six years of experience in education with Eanes ISD. She began her journey at Barton Creek Elementary School as a Teaching Assistant and moved on to become a Kindergarten teacher in 2017. Currently, she serves as a Team Leader and is a member of the UDL Early Adopters Committee. Mrs. Abbott has been recognized for her talents as an EANESpiration Impact Award recipient and Outstanding First Year Teacher by the Delta Kappa Gamma Society.
Mrs. Abbott embodies all the characteristics you would expect of an Educator of the Year. She is selfless and always ready to help others, fearless when it comes to trying new things, and patient and kind to her students. Mrs. Abbott can light up a room with her positivity, enthusiasm and spunky personality. Never shying away from a stage, you can always count on her to co-host a talent show in full costume or choreograph a flash mob dance routine to “Baby Shark” for a school assembly. She is the epitome of resilience, grit, determination, and optimism.
Cedar Creek Elementary School – Shannon Hardiman, 2nd-Grade ELA Spanish Immersion Teacher
Shannon Hardiman has served as a 2nd-grade team leader at Cedar Creek Elementary, and most recently as the English teacher for the 2nd grade Spanish Immersion program. Shannon has been a teacher for seven years and a part of the Eanes School district for six years. She has served on the Campus Leadership Team, the District ELA and District Science teams, the CCE Social Committee and as Team Leader for 2nd grade.
Shannon is described as having the ability to always be thinking of others. She earned an EANESpiration Award, for this very quality. She is always checking in with students and staff, asking how they are doing, truly goes out of her way to build strong relationships and bonds with her students and works so hard to create lessons and a learning environment which engages students in learning. Shannon has made a positive difference at CCE!
Eanes Elementary – Jennie George, First-Grade ELA Spanish Immersion
Jennie George serves as the English Partner for the Eanes Elementary 1st-Grade Spanish Immersion Program. Mrs. George has been an educator for 11 years, with 10 of those in EISD at Eanes Elementary School. She has served as a leader in a number of capacities on campus and across the district as a Central Texas Writing Project Consultant and Mentor, an EE Team Leader, an EISD ELA Leader, a Spanish Immersion Advisory Committee Member, an ELA Curriculum Writer and a professional learning leader at EE for morning meeting implementation.
Mrs. George is a voracious reader, and she has strolled down the red carpet for the 1st Grade I Love to Read Days as a variety of literary characters including Beauty from Beauty and the Beast, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, The Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid, Pink from The Day the Crayons Quit, and Wemberly from Wemberly Worried. Mrs. George's class mascot is Curious George, and she loves to encourage her students to be curious while learning and growing in her classroom. She creates a loving and welcoming classroom home for students each year, and Eanes Elementary is proud to call her their Educator of the Year!
Forest Trail Elementary – Kelly Dunning, Art Teacher
Kelly Dunning has 15 years of teaching under her belt, with the last eight in Eanes ISD and Forest Trail. Currently she teaches Art at Forest Trail. Kelly has served as team leader for FTE’s specials department, Campus Leadership Team (as a staff member and previously as a parent) and yearbook advisor. She has represented the campus on the EISD Inclusion Committee, served as Destination Imagination campus liaison and as a former Central Texas Region DI board member. Outside of campus she has served as Girl Scout Leader, and as a member of the National Charity League.
Before SEL was SEL, Forest Trail emphasized character, and at the conclusion of every school year the students and staff of FTE receive character rocks which feature a character trait. Kelly has a collection of rocks with the words "pioneering," "perceptive," "quality" and now she has one that says "educator of the year." As a staff member who directly affects every person in the building and serves every student, she is a trusted and valued member of the FTE community. Her students are the benefactors of a master class in art history, appreciation and application every time class is in session. Kelly goes out of her way to create opportunities for every student to be involved in schoolwide events and has become famous for her Open House interactive exhibits which create memories for our families. She is a master teacher who is loved and respected by all who know her.
Valley View Elementary – Brooke Anderson, Student Support Counselor
Brooke Anderson has served 19 years as a social worker. For the last three of those years, she has served as the Student Support Counselor at Valley View Elementary School. Mrs. Anderson is an active participant on the District SEL Committee and leads the campus SEL committee. She established the first student-led SEL committee and reestablished the 5th-Grade Safety Patrol. She serves on the Campus Leadership Team, Safety/Crisis Team and Administrative Team at VVE.
Mrs. Anderson is often the first person VVE students, staff and visitors see on campus. Rain or shine, she can be found with a bright vest, stop sign in hand and music playing at 7:10am every single school day. Mrs. Anderson is optimistic, energetic, compassionate and kind. She is intuitive and can be found helping children or adults on any given day at any given time. She is childlike and playful, professional, articulate, creative and fun. Mrs. Anderson brings a positive energy that fills the school and brightens our days. During remote learning, Mrs. Anderson provided daily connections by producing morning announcements, making personal phone calls, attending class Zoom meetings, visiting student’s homes (at a safe distance) and counseling to anyone who needed her. There isn't anything this talented social worker and inspirational person can't do! Valley View is honored to celebrate its Educator of the Year, Mrs. Anderson.
Hill Country Middle School – Sarah Yurko, Drama Teacher
Sarah Yurko has taught drama at Hill Country for the past 13 years. During this time, she has served on the Campus Leadership Team, the District Leadership Team, written and produced many of the student productions and served on a variety of committees. When describing Ms. Yurko, the word often used is passionate. She is passionate about building strong relationships with students, tapping into student creativity and confidence, being a positive light for students and staff, and most of all passionate about the important role of fine arts in schools.
Sarah has an infectious sense of humor and is always willing to go the extra mile for others. She will put a smile on your face when she walks in the room. Ms. Yurko is a huge asset to the Hill Country Community and the campus is proud to call her their Educator of the Year.
West Ridge Middle School – Fred Benitez, Educational Partner
Fred Benitez has served for 13 years in education, with four of them in Eanes ISD. Currently, he serves as an Educational Partner at West Ridge Middle School. Fred doesn’t “just” do his job and what is expected of him – he constantly goes above and beyond to help everyone. His focus on kids shines through as he also serves in other roles such as UIL Academic Coach and Ultimate Frisbee Coach.
Fred is the epitome of a team player, an innovative thinker, a kind soul and simply put...a phenomenal teacher. He is a consistent, gentle push who helps both students and staff learn and grow every day while also serving as an extremely approachable resource so staff can gain the tools needed to be the best. One of his colleagues said it well: “He continues to progress, adapt, and try new things for our school and district to grow. I am not alone in saying that we all appreciate Fred’s grind for the game that is education.”
Westlake High School – Chris Hanson, Educational Partner
Chris Hanson has 15 years of teaching under his belt with three of them at WHS. Currently, he is one of our Educational Partners. He has served in the inaugural class of the Institute of Excellence and the DLTF.
Chris is industrious, hard-working, intelligent, thoughtful, sincere, and challenging. Chris is known for his ability to stay calm and rational in high-stress times when it comes to technology. He is seen as a true designer for our teachers. His collaborative skills are at the highest levels.