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Yvonne Lopez-Taylor, Dawn Brimhall named AISD top educators: Sandra Doria, Jeana Morrison-Adams named district’s top principals

PICTURED: Dawn Brimhall and Yvonne Lopez-Taylor, center, were selected Aldine ISD’s top educators at the Educator of the Year Breakfast held Friday, March 6 at the Hilton North Houston Hotel. Brimhall was named the district’s Secondary Teacher of the Year, while Lopez-Taylor was named the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year. Pictured with them are Aldine ISD Board President Paul Shanklin, Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, members of the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees, AEF President David Smith and the four district-wide finalists.

Aldine ISD celebrated its top teachers and principals at the Boots and Bling Educator of the Year Breakfast, held Friday, March 6 at the Hilton North Houston Hotel.

Aldine ISD Trustees, district administrators, campus administrators, teachers and business partners donned their best western wear to celebrate Aldine ISD teachers and campus administrators.

Yvonne Lopez-Taylor of Carter Academy was named the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, while Dawn Brimhall of Davis High School was named Aldine’s Secondary Teacher of the Year.

The four Teacher of the Year finalists were Darilyn Daniels of Jones Elementary School, Ian Herran of Parker Elementary School, Thomasina Gatson of Victory Early College High School and Lauren Settecerri of Teague Middle School.

For the first time ever, the district selected a rookie elementary and secondary teacher of the year. Kimberly Grein of Francis Elementary was named the Elementary Rookie Teacher of the Year and Derrick Houston of Grantham Academy was named the Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year.

In addition, the district’s Principals of the Year and Rookie Principal of the Year were also announced.

Sandra Doria of Worsham Elementary was named the Elementary Principal of the Year, while Jeana Morrison-Adams was named the Secondary Principal of the Year and Aisley Adams of Nimitz Ninth Grade School was named the Rookie Principal of the Year.

All honored educators received monetary awards from the Aldine Education Foundation. Lopez-Taylor, Brimhall, Doria and Morrison-Adams will receive round trip airfare tickets from United Airlines. Lopez-Taylor and Brimhall also received a cash prize from InvesTex Credit Union. All campus Teachers of the Year received gift bags with items donated by community partners: three-year planners, pens, note pads, lunch kits with a water bottle, plastic storage container, restaurant gift cards and AEF Teacher of the Year shirts.

Additional door prizes included gift baskets from local restaurants, gift certificates to local restaurants, Amazon gift cards, stays at local hotels, two iPads and two tickets to the March 6 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Chief of Schools Katy Roede announced the Principals of the Year.

Doria said she takes her responsibility as her campus’ leader seriously and believes it is crucial to the learning process to have a staff that is centered on its students.

“I believe all students can learn and grow,” she said. “As the campus leader, it is my responsibility to ensure our staff has the necessary materials and capacity to provide student-centered instruction that is rigorous, on-level and allows for student growth.”

Morrison-Adams believes providing her students with a solid education can result in success later in life.

“I believe education is a catalyst for enrichment and empowerment,” she said. “I believe that each student should have the benefit of a nurturing, social and emotional and safe instructional learning environment that strengthens character and encourages potential.”

Dr. Javier Villarreal, chief of human resources, announced the Teachers of the Year.

Lopez-Taylor said she uses her creative talents to help her students hone their own creativity.

“I want to inspire a new generation of thinkers, explorers, artists and designers with their own determination for success,” she said. “My students learn to critique constructively. They learn how to express opinions without causing tears. They learn to help one another achieve goals. It is important to let students make mistakes and problem solve.”

Brimhall enjoys making educational connections with her students.

“I encourage the students to enhance their learning through trial and error, both in a simulation game and in the analysis of primary sources,” she said. “Additionally, I am able to individually work with students, helping them to make connections and encouraging them to explore new avenues of inquiry.”

Prior to the announcement of the Teachers of the Year, Principals of the Year and Rookie Teacher and Principals, every campus Teacher of the Year was introduced by Chief Communications Officer Sheleah Reed and Human Resources Director Raul Fonseca. The teachers and their principals showed off their best Western dance moves. Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, Board President Paul Shanklin, fellow trustees and members of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) also helped with introductions. The audience was also treated to a video of the six Teacher of the Year finalists produced by Luke Rabalais of the district’s Communications Department.

The program began with a welcome from Nimitz High School FFA (Future Farmers of America) student Angel Allen, which was followed by the posting of the colors by the Eisenhower High School JROTC.

Board Vice-President Rose Avalos delivered the invocation. Reed then introduced AISD Trustees, Dr. Goffney and members of her ELT.

Following the introduction of the campus Teachers of the Year, AEF Board President David Smith recognized the sponsors who helped make the EOY Breakfast possible.

The presenting sponsor was H-E-B Tournament of Champions. WCA was the platinum sponsor, while The Edu-Source Corporation was the Gold Sponsor. Silver Sponsors included Aetna, Caldwell Companies, Cigna, East Aldine District, McDonald’s and Xerox Business Solutions Southwest. Campus Sponsors were BakerRipley, CenterPoint Energy, Edgenuity, Estrada Hinojosa, Josten and Tarkett.

Additional funds of support were received from Noble Drilling Services, Rosewood and Sigma Tube and Bar.

Mr. Shanklin and Dr. Goffney provided closing remarks.

“On behalf of my fellow Trustees, we want you to know what a pleasure it has been to share this wonderful day with so many of Aldine ISD’s finest educators,” Mr. Shanklin said. “We want to congratulate each of you for being champions for all students.

“Teaching is a calling, and those who answer that call play a vital role in preparing students for college, successful careers so that they can enjoy bright and unlimited futures. All of you have selected the most worthwhile profession on earth. You provide vision, direction and leadership for the community and you incorporate working together to achieve desired goals effectively and efficiently. You have a profound influence on your students and we are confident you are well aware of that fact.”

Dr. Goffney thanked the principals and the teachers for their service to Aldine ISD students and to the community.

“I want to congratulate all of our Educators of the Year with a big thank you for all you do for our students,” she said. “Last year, we took about 20 young ladies to see former First Lady Michelle Obama during her book tour in Houston. During her remarks she spoke about the importance of teachers and her comments resonated with me: We all remember the impact a special teacher had on us – a teacher who refused to let us fall through the cracks, who pushed and believed in us when we doubted ourselves; who sparked in us a lifelong curiosity and passion for learning.

“Decades later, we remember the way they made us feel and how they impacted our lives. You all have impacted a student’s life and made a positive impact. I am sure of it,” Dr. Goffney said.

She also thanked the many sponsors who made the EOY Breakfast possible.

“I also want to offer appreciation and thanks to our sponsors for supporting the teachers and students of Aldine ISD through the Aldine Education Foundation,” she said. “There is nothing like having business leaders and community members who believe in education and support it financially and with their time.”

The Teacher of the Year Committee consisted of Rose Avalos, Donna Burrell, Dr. Keena Bradley, Shannon Decena, Courtney Delco, Mark Mitchell, Kennia Penaloza, Jermel Viltz and Dr. David Villareal.

The Rookie Teacher of the Year Committee consisted of Ruby Allen, Dr. Bradley, Mitchell and Dr. Villareal.

The Principal of the Year Committee consisted of Sherrie Batro, Raquel Briones, Cindy Buchanan, Richard Cantu, Twiana Collier, Raul Fonseca, Patricia Rodriguez, Akilah Willery, and Dr. Robin Williams.

The Rookie Principal of the Year Committee consisted of Dr. Todd Davis, Katy Roede, Dr. Tamika Alford-Stephens, Sheleah Reed, Dawn Ayers-Rodriguez, LaTonia Amerson, LaToya Wynn, Mable Holt, Todd Lindeman and Patricia Rodriguez.

Nimitz High School FFA students served as district ambassadors and ushers for the event.

Prior to the start of the breakfast, the Davis High School Jazz Band provided entertainment.