Westlake High School basketball coach and teacher Robert Lucero was named Eanes ISD Educator of the Year at tonight’s Employee Recognition and Retiree Celebration.
Coach Robert Lucero has been teaching at Westlake High School eight years and has an overall teaching experience of 19 years. He has taught everything from AP World History to basketball, to P.E. to yoga. His positive, inspirational attitude is contagious and his compassion for students’ well-being is enviable.
This season, Lucero was named the District 26-6A Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, as the Chaps turned in their 5th-consecutive undefeated district season and the program’s 7th-consecutive district title. Coach Lucero has an overall record of 274-46 while going 68-4 over the last two years. He is known for his expertise in building a culture of excellence based on character in his basketball program and he is respected and valued for the time he puts into managing the mental and physical aspects of his players and staff.
Lucero is a leader on campus in so many ways - visible and behind the scenes. It was no surprise in his interview when he said his most memorable moments were not basketball victories and awards, but rather when he could help a struggling student and make an impact. His heart is bigger than any championship he could ever earn.
The nine campus winners participated in an interview process to select the 2022 District Educator of the Year. The Westlake Rotary Club sponsors the award and Rotary members serve on the District selection committee. The Westlake Rotary Club will recognize all nine Educators of the Year at a Rotary meeting May 13, 2022.
The Campus Educators of the Year are:
Barton Creek Elementary – Stephen Presley, P.E. Coach
Coach Stephen Presley has nine years of teaching experience, five of those years were split between Eanes Elementary and Forest Trail Elementary and four years at Barton Creek Elementary. He has served on the Veterans Day Committee, Sunshine Committee and most recently pulled off an epic Circle of Games field day event.
Coach Presley’s teaching students goes much deeper than making learning fun. He has an extraordinary calmness and special way of commanding students' respect and attention without ever raising his voice. He is patient, kind and meets all students where they are. He is a master at planning engaging, student-centered activities. In his daily interaction with our students, it is clear that he loves kids and he loves what he does. Coach Presley is an inspiration to everyone at BCE.
Bridge Point Elementary School – Meredith Joseph, 3rd-Grade Teacher
Ms. Meredith Joseph has 16 years of teaching experience, with all 16 at Bridge Point Elementary. Currently, she teaches 3rd-grade language arts and social studies. Mrs. Joseph is an exemplary teacher. Her students are her priority and that is clearly seen when you walk into her classroom. She is a reading and writing workshop expert and uses small groups in her classroom to differentiate and meet students where they are at. She advocates and seeks out ways and strategies from other teachers who work with her students so that she can differentiate for them during her ELA and SS blocks. She models kindness and empathy while holding her students to their classroom expectations. We are lucky to have Mrs. Joseph at BPE!
Cedar Creek Elementary School – Ashley Riley, Educational Partner
Ms. Ashley Riley has six years of teaching under her belt, with three of them in Eanes ISD. Currently, she is the Educational Partner at Cedar Creek Elementary. She has served as a team leader, is a member of the EISD Institute for Excellence Leadership Academy, the Sunshine Committee chair and is a member of the EISD district curriculum writing team. She has represented the campus on the campus equity team, campus leadership team, and the WIN task force committee. She is also a recipient of the EANESpiration Award for Educational Impact.
Ashley is one of the most even-keeled people you will meet. She remains calm in the toughest of situations and manages to keep a smile on her face no matter what. She is incredibly professional and has transitioned from a teacher leader to a campus leader with ease and grace. Ashley has a vast depth of knowledge about curriculum and instruction and has assisted greatly with Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings and campus professional development in the past year. She also has a knack for ensuring staff have opportunities to socialize and have fun. CCE would not be the same without her!
Eanes Elementary – Julia de Paoli, Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Julia de Paoli has six years of teaching under her belt, all of which have benefitted our Eanes ISD community.
Julia teaches Kindergarten at Eanes Elementary and cultivates a rich environment where all students are invited to learn and grow. Whenever you’re having a rough day, it’s always an uplifting and joyful space to visit! Mrs. de Paoli is the Pigpal class, and she’s even been known to don a full pink pig suit to wear on National Pig Day!
Mrs. de Paoli has served as kindergarten team leader and has represented the campus as one of the PLC leaders, a representative for kindergarten in district science meetings, and a teacher mentor for new-to-profession teachers at Eanes Elementary. Mrs. de Paoli is truly a master teacher, constantly creating a welcoming environment for her students, allowing each child to embrace curiosity, imagination, and creativity.
Forest Trail Elementary – Priscilla Martinez, 1st-Grade Teacher
Mrs. Priscilla Martinez has six years of teaching experience, all of them at Forest Trail Elementary. Currently, she teaches first grade and has served as a kindergarten teacher at FTE as well.
All teachers want their students to be successful, but Mrs. Martinez lives for it. Her first-graders are instilled with a mindset of success and empowered to meet her high expectations. She is the model of determination and hard work we want in our students, and she herself walks the walk. Martinez first came to Forest Trail as a student teacher, and then a long-term substitute, then accepted a position as a campus teaching assistant. She became a classroom teacher six years ago and in that time she has earned the respect of her peers and the trust of our families.
Valley View Elementary – Kathy Hatch, Music Teacher
Ms. Kathy Hatch has been teaching music around the world for 20 years. She previously taught at Bridge Point Elementary and is currently completing her third year as the music teacher at Valley View Elementary. Kathy has served on multiple committees at the campus and district level. Most recently, she has played an active and positive role in the exploration of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on the campus and district DEI teams. Kathy is an integral part of her specials team, supporting and leading with grace, enthusiasm and positivity every day.
Ms. Hatch has a beautiful visual on her wall. It is a colorful array of sticky notes from every student on campus. On each note is a value statement about what music class feels like or how music impacts their life. At first glance, the colorful array appears to be a flowing rainbow of color or a wave of musical notes across the wall, but upon closer inspection, it is a glimpse into the heart and mind of each child. This visual concept captures Kathy so beautifully. She flows in and out of the lives of children each day, touching them with grace, inclusivity, generosity and fun. Mrs. Hatch does that same for every parent or staff member. She is very real, genuine, sincere and the utmost professional and upstanding human being. We are honored to call her our own and to recognize her as VVE’s Educator of the Year.
Hill Country Middle School – Katy Bratton, Choir Teacher
Mrs. Katy Bratton has been filling Hill Country with beautiful music for 13 years. Her passion for music and students is evident through the innovative and fun projects she has for her students where everyone can be successful. Students learn contemporary music, choreography and how to read music, in addition to more challenging classic pieces, all the while led by Katy's enthusiasm and joy. COVID had a huge impact on choir, but Mrs. Bratton did not let that deter her. Students sang at home and submitted their individual singing for feedback. She created several amazing virtual choir performances that took countless hours to edit and create.
During hybrid teaching, Katy integrated a new website so she could teach in-person and remote students music at the same time. Even having their performers in two different places did not deter her students from creating music. She figured out a way to have in-person and remote students represented in the virtual performances they created. HCMS has also been fortunate to have Ms. Bratton serve in many leadership roles over the past 13 years. She has been a department chair, campus leadership team member, has taken the lead on campus PBIS initiatives and was an integral member of our Advisory Committee. We are so grateful to have Mrs. Bratton at Hill Country!
West Ridge Middle School – Kate Templeton, Special Education Teacher
Ms. Kate Templeton has served as an educator for 25 years, with 20 years in Eanes ISD. Currently, she teaches Special Education at West Ridge Middle School. Specifically, she teaches Modified ELA and Reading classes and is the case manager for some of our lucky Wildcats. She has served as a constant positive, knowledgeable and compassionate voice in the special education program and has mentored many both formally and informally over the years.
Mrs. Templeton is THE BEST at taking very good care of our students and their families. She has the ability to make something as "boring" as ARD paperwork come to life and paint a meaningful picture of each student's journey. Her students are nurtured and supported as individuals in all of her classes. She truly meets each student where they are to help them surpass their perceived learning potential. Mrs. Templeton has the admirable ability to make everyone - students, parents and colleagues - feel important, welcomed, cared for and like they have a place where they belong. She is an amazing teacher and colleague!
Employees with 25 years of experience and those retiring were also recognized.
Nancy Abell, VVE
Rhonda Abshire, WRMS
Janeen Bailey, FTE
Pat Betzner, WHS
Stephen Bonner, Transportation
Deborah Callan, Child Nutrition
Carin Champion, EE
Sok-Sun Chon, WRMS
Todd Dodge, WHS
Julie Fox, ATS
Felix Grimmett, HCMS
Connie Gulley, Child Nutrition
Linda Hopkins, CCE
Norman Hopkins, M&O
Dona Jordan, WRMS
Peggy Katterjohn, WHS
Joshua Kight, WRMS
Erin Krieger, EE
Mary Lane, HCMS
Deborah Machicek, WHS
Angela Manley, M&O
Bill McDonald, WHS
Vicky Mireles, VVE
Gayle Morris, WHS
Steve Poldrack, CCE
Lisa Taylor, BCE
25 Years of Service
Nancy Abell, VVE
Angelette Bethke, WRMS
Carin Champion, EE
Isabel Cuellar, VVE
Erin Hannigan, EE
Pat Martinez, WRMS
Jeff Montgomery, WHS
Norman Morgan, WHS
Edward Snouffer, WHS
Lee Anne Verret, HCMS
Rebecca Webb, WRMS