West Ridge Middle School 7th-grade science teacher Brett La Bissoniere was named Eanes ISD Educator of the Year at the Employee Recognition and Retiree Celebration May 6. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the event was held with limited capacity and livestreamed.
Brett was hired as a first-year teacher at West Ridge seven years ago and she has remained there, saying it is her dream job. She teaches 7th-grade science and is the science department head, National Junior Honor Society sponsor, track coach and more.
Brett is always researching and creating new, relevant content for her students. She connects with her students and through that connection, encourages and inspires them. Brett has embraced and integrated Universal Design for Learning into science classrooms to boost student engagement and make sure every student's needs are met. Especially during COVID, she has gone out of her way to engage her in-person and remote students.
Brett has headed school-wide programs to raise awareness and money for leukemia research, raising over $40,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society last year and over $45,000 this year despite a pandemic and the winter storms!
Because COVID delayed her wedding plans last year, Brett had scheduled wedding festivities this week so she was not able to attend the dinner. The Westlake Rotary Club will recognize her at a luncheon next week.
The nine campus winners participated in an interview process to select the 2021 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: Eddie Dauernheim, Special Education Support Teacher
Mr. Eddie Dauernheim builds strong relationships with his students. They know they are always safe to try difficult things because he is always there to catch them. His students trust him and love going to his class. He juggles multiple classrooms, grade levels and learning environments with a positive "can do" attitude no matter how crazy things may get. He goes above and beyond to advocate for his students and is always ready and willing to jump in for his coworkers. Parents are a fan of his, too, as he is notorious for his regular communication and offers of support. He has a kind, gentle, caring approach. “Mr. D” treats all students as equal human beings and gets creative in making learning fun and meaningful. He is compassionate, inclusive, collaborative and a true team player.
Bridge Point Elementary: Katy Schueller, 1st-Grade Teacher
Ms. Katy Schueller has eight years of teaching, with four of them in Eanes ISD. She is humble, creative, kind, energetic and accommodating. She goes above and beyond for her students and fellow staff members in need of support. She is intentional and wants to do everything within her control to ensure every child feels loved, acknowledged, valued and successful. Katy is always prepared and deeply engaging. She puts in the time it takes to make sure she is planning for kids, in addition to leading her 1st-grade team. Even in a year like no other, she seamlessly engages all of her in-person students while at times teaching up to half the class remotely. Katy continues to show grit, enthusiasm and extreme character no matter the day or circumstance. She has taken on multiple career challenges and has risen to the top of each one. Katy is a true hero at BPE!
Cedar Creek Elementary: Robyn Post, 4th-Grade Teacher
Ms. Robyn Post is a master teacher, and she has applied her natural and learned skills to be the best remote, the best in-person, blended and HyBlend teacher, and the best teaching partner with her team. In August, she was a learner, and she sought resources, studied, practiced and executed, keeping an eye on her students. She went way above and beyond on behalf of her remote students. She created an intimate learning environment for students in the classroom while managing safety protocols, professional responsibilities and balance. She has a constant pursuit of more. All master teachers know if there is a better way, we must pursue it and then meet the professional obligation to share new and best practices, which she absolutely does. Ms. Post teaches not just her students but their families, her colleagues and our community.
Eanes Elementary: Stephanie Wright, Special Education Teacher
Ms. Stephanie Wright is an absolute rock star with her students. They all adore her, and it is obvious why. She has taken everything thrown at her with such grace and strength. Her tailored instruction for her students is unmatched and her classroom is such a fun place to be. She manages data and researches best practices and innovative classroom techniques. No matter how students react to the school day, her responses are positive, practical, calm and continually help students move forward. She collaborates with other teachers and teaching assistants in a kind and generous way and she is incredibly patient and empathetic with the families of her students. The life skills department is so fortunate to have her!
Forest Trail Elementary: Karen Purdy, Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Purdy is a veteran teacher who teaches with common sense, humor and love. She is passionate about finding ways to inspire her students and holds them to a high academic standard while honoring each student's unique personality and abilities. She is wonderful about celebrating when students hit milestones or even when they produce a nice piece of writing of which they are proud. You walk into her room and kids are engaged, laughing, collaborating, learning and always wanting to be close to her. Ms. Purdy is always on the cutting edge of best practice implementation for teachers and searches for better ways to deliver appropriate and meaningful curriculum. Ms. Purdy is a team player who goes above and beyond in all things and is a true collaborator and problem solver for students and teachers alike. She is loved by all and her mark on FTE is forever!
Valley View Elementary: Quen White, 2nd-Grade Teacher
Ms. Quen White is a master teacher who makes it look easy, even though we know teaching, especially this year, has been anything but easy. Her calm, consistent and caring personality is evident in her classroom, where every student feels welcomed, seen, valued and loved. She took on this very challenging year with an open mind and open heart. She masterfully transitioned to teaching both in-person and remote learning when necessary. She mastered blended learning better than anyone and made sure all her students, no matter if they were learning in person or remotely, felt connected, cared for and were learning at their best capacity. Quen knows how to bring every lesson to a 2nd-grade child's attention and learning ability. She is flawless in her structure, routines and expectations, which make her students feel safe and able to learn. VVE would not be the same without her!Hill Country Middle School: Brittaney Morrison, 7th-Grade ELA Teacher
Ms. Brittaney Morrison, year in and year out, has provided quality instruction to students. She is incredibly understanding, patient, kind, caring and flexible with all students. She has always made time for students, parents and faculty. Brittaney is an excellent communicator and always willing to work with the special education staff to ensure all students' needs are met. Brittaney is fair and always retrieves the best from her students. In every observation made of Brittany teaching her students, you can see the passion, dedication and hard work coming out. Students in her classroom feel safe, confident, comfortable and equal. Brittaney clearly shows a wealth of knowledge in her subject area and does a fantastic job sharing it with her classes. Brittaney is seen as a leader in her department and certainly a leader on campus. She does a great job of creating lessons and opportunities that promote student engagement and her structure and daily routines make it so easy for her students to learn. HCMS is proud to have such a wonderful, quality teacher!
Westlake High School: Cathy Cluck, AP History Teacher
Ms. Cathy Cluck is a rock star teacher. She is a master at her content and her craft while making authentic learning experiences even during a pandemic! Cathy took the most challenging year for a teacher and made it a unique experience for her students. She took to the road using her own resources to bring history alive for her students. She traveled to historic sites and told beautiful, engaging stories of the events that occurred in those locations, and the students loved the lessons! Cathy embodies the Westlake mission statement and the Eanes ISD Educator Profile attributes. The relationships she creates with her students last a lifetime. But beyond that, Cathy loves teaching and she loves her students. She expects the best out of them. She has been a great support to her students and colleagues alike; her students love her and they learn so much from her!
Employees with 25 years’ experience and those retiring were also recognized.
Retirees: have a combined 585 years of service in EISD and 765 years total in education!
Debra Bailey, CA
Kent Carroll, WHS
Jackie Clifton, WHS
Nancy Douglas, WRMS
Pam Friday, HCMS
Carolyn Foote, WHS
Colleen Gunter, WRMS
Holly Hubbell, WHS
Susan Johnson, WHS
Julianne Lenhardt, CCE
Jane Lewis, FTE
Karen Linder, FTE
Kate McIvor, CDC
Kitty Mellenbruch, WHS
Mark Misage, WHS
Susan Murphy, WRMS
Jan Noonan, SPED
Sylvia Nunez, WHS
Kerry Oestrick, TR
Judith Cabaza-Perez, WRMS
Ann Richards, WRMS
Jane Roetman, EE
Steve Stracke, CN
Pam Stryker, BCE
Timothy Teague, TR
Valerie Taylor, WHS
Bob Witowski, WHS
Ramona Wilson, VVE
25 Years of Service:
Cheri Look, FTE
BCE-Barton Creek ES, BPE-Bridge Point ES, CA-Central Administration, CCE-Cedar Creek ES, CN-Child Nutrition, EE-Eanes ES, CDC-Child Development Center, FTE-Forest Trail ES, M&O-Maintenance & Operations, VVE-Valley View ES, HCMS-Hill Country MS, SPED-Special Education, TR-Transportation, WHS-Westlake HS, WRMS-West Ridge MS