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Lembcke, Marks selected as AISD’s top teachers

Deborah J. Lembcke was named Aldine ISD’s Elementary/Intermediate Teacher of the Year, while Leslie B. Marks was named the district’s Secondary Teacher of the Year during AISD’s Teacher of the Year Breakfast, held April 4 at the Sheraton North Houston Hotel.

Lembcke, who teaches first grade at Odom Elementary, and Marks, who teaches French at Shotwell Middle School, were two of six finalists chosen for the prestigious award by a committee of fellow teachers, administrators and community members.

The four other finalists were Chaiwat Rodsuwan of Bethune Academy, Michelle Schroeder of Anderson Academy, Donna Andrich of Teague Middle School and Curtis L. Wood of Eisenhower Senior High School.

Lembcke and Marks, along with the semifinalists and each campus teacher of the year, were also honored by a number of businesses in the Greenspoint area who provided gifts for the two winners and the others.

Continental Airlines presented Lembcke and Marks each with a round trip airfare to anywhere Continental flies in the continental United States. Lincoln Properties presented each of the winners with $200, and the semi-finalists with $100 each. Halliburton presented each of the winners $500, while the Aldine Teachers Credit Union provided $200 each to Lembcke and Marks. Apartment Directors provided gift certificates to the six finalists, while the Sheraton North Houston Hotel provided the four semi-finalists with a weekend get away package. Outback Steakhouse presented all of the campus Teachers of the Year with a gift certificate, while Gallery Furniture provided a duffle bag full of goodies to all 59 campus Teachers of the Year.

The two winners and four semi-finalists also received gift certificates and prizes from Greenspoint Mall to be used at department stores and specialty stores in the mall.

Lembcke said she sees her role as a teacher as that of one who directs her students in their drive to reach academic achievement.

“Outstanding educators map out where they want their students to be at the end of the year,” she said. “They look at the individual child and help them become problem solvers. They welcome their entire classroom with equal enthusiasm. For them, working with young learners and sharing in their excitement, achievements and wonder is magical.”

Marks said teachers must be well rounded to prepare students for the challenges they will face in the future.

“Outstanding teachers must have patience, a true love of the subject they are teaching, a genuine desire to fill children with knowledge and information necessary for them to be successful in the 21st century,” she said. “Outstanding teachers must enjoy working with children and readily accept them for who they are and what they bring to the classroom.”

Prior to the naming of the six finalists, each of the district’s building Teachers of the Year were introduced by their campus principals.
Joining Lembcke, Marks and the four semi-finalists at the breakfast were:

Debra A. Jones of Aldine Middle School, Akilah A. Walker Willery of Aldine Ninth Grade School, Wendy D. Harris of Aldine Senior High School, Vickie Marie Thompson of AEPC (Alternative Education Place Center), Tamisha D. Higgins of Black Elementary School, Sharon Denise Hicks of Calvert Elementary School, Debbie A. Mullone of Caraway Intermediate School, Kathleen A. Mitchell of Carmichael Elementary School, Elena J. Johnson of Carroll Academy, Kimberly A. Pruitt of Carter Academy and Regidor L. Tanig of Carver High School.

Other building Teachers of the Year were: Jodi C. Crofford of Conley Elementary School, Donna J. Blackney of deSantiago EC/Pre-K Center, Deborah C. Fields-Harris of Drew Academy, Sheryl A. Alvarez of Dunn Elementary School, Mason A. Kuhn of Eckert Intermediate School, Kimberly Encalade of Magrill Elementary School, Kasha L. Reece of Mendel Elementary School, Meredith Smith of Nimitz Ninth Grade School, Deborah Jesse Barker of Nimitz Senior High School and Karen Baxter of Northwest Intermediate School.

Also honored were Fran L. Williams of Eisenhower Ninth Grade School, Kim K. Williams of Ermel Elementary School, John E. Wilson of Escamilla Intermediate School, Suni S. Thompson of Francis Elementary School, Jennifer L. McCracken of Goodman Elementary School, Zannavia Y. Ray-Willpitz of Grantham Academy, Beverly J. Campbell of Gray Elementary School, Refugio A. Rodriquez of Hambrick Middle School, Lara I. Egolinsky of Harris Academy, Maria Mapula Gonzales of Hinojosa EC/Pre-K Center, Carolyn Marie Milton of Hoffman Middle School, Traci L. Carballo of Johnson Elementary School, Norma E. Carachure of Keeble EC/Pre-K Center, Stacey A. Herring of Lane School, Tim Timpani of MacArthur Ninth Grade School and Aquilla T. Aubrey of MacArthur Senior High School.

Others honored were: Gayla J. Landrum of Oleson Elementary School, Connie Reimer-Cobb of Orange Grove Elementary School, Juergen “Carl” Mueller of Parker Intermediate School, April T. Lawles of Raymond Academy, Monica L. Lewis of Reece Academy, Diane R. Hudson of Reed Academy, Lillian A. Grimm of Sammons Elementary School, Rhonda D. Merriweather of Smith Academy, Stephen B. Bedford of Stehlik Intermediate School, Dea’Vanca Simon of Stephens Elementary School, Karen D. Love-All Griffen of Stovall Middle School, Julie A. DeKovic of Stovall Academy, Rosetta R. Simpson of Thompson Elementary School, Martha I Valbuena of Vines EC/Pre-K Center, Robert A. Jones of Wilson Intermediate School and April S. Montague of Worsham Elementary School.

Linda Scott, program director of elementary science, chaired the Teacher of the Year committee.