Breanna Jagodzinski, Jaime Luna named AISD’s top educators: Shauna Showers, Heather Peterson named district’s top principals
Aldine ISD celebrated its top teachers and principals at the Educator of the Year Breakfast on Friday, March 12 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center. This year’s theme was “Adventure Awaits.”
Aldine ISD Trustees, district administrators, campus administrators, teachers and business partners donned their best travel wear to celebrate Aldine ISD teachers and campus administrators.
Breanna Jagodzinski of Houston Academy was named the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, while Jaime Luna of Davis High School was named the district’s Secondary Teacher of the Year.
The four Teacher of the Year finalists were Cindy Nguyen of Carmichael Elementary School, Oscar Acuna of Stehlik Elementary School, Christopher Ceaser of Nimitz High School and Jarrod Fredericks of Victory Early College High School.
For the second consecutive year, the district also announced its Rookie Educators of the Year. Reagan Burns of Hinojosa Primary School was named the Rookie Elementary Teacher of the Year and Leon Hunt of Davis Ninth Grade School was named the Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year.
In addition, AISD’s Principals of the Year, and Rookie Principal of the Year were announced.
Shauana Showers of Stephens Elementary School was named the Elementary Principal of the Year and Heather Peterson was named the Secondary Principal of the Year. Kimberly Dussette of Teague Middle School was named the Rookie Principal of the Year.
The two overall winners, the four finalists and all Campus Teachers of the Year received monetary awards from the Aldine Education Foundation. Jagodzinski and Luna each received round trip airfare tickets from United AirAldine ISD names Top Educators of the Year lines.
The two overall winners, the four finalists and all Campus Teachers of the Year also received gifts from Aldine AFT, the Houston Astros, Camdon Graphics, Chick-fil-A-Aldine, Comcast, Doggett, Good Reason Houston, Josten’s, Magoo’s PrintShop, the North Houston District, Raising Cain’s, Renaissance, and the Stewart Organization.
Chief of Schools Katy Roede announced the Principals of the Year and the Rookie Principal of the Year.
Showers said it takes a team to run a successful school and that she has created an atmosphere at Stephens Elementary where everyone works together for the betterment of their students.
“I am a servant leader and consider myself part of the team,” Showers said. “I want everyone of my teachers to be excited to come to work everyday. Teachers are given opportunities to collaborate as a team on every process that we implement at Stephens Elementary. I believe this creates the culture that builds our collective efficacy.”
Peterson said she is also a team player who leads by example.
“I have learned many things throughout my years as a building principal. I will not ask anyone to do something I am not willing to do myself,” she said. “That is the only way you can model professional and ethical behavior. Words mean nothing if deeds do not coincide.”
Dussette, who attended Teague Middle School growing up, said becoming a first-time principal during the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge, but one she willingly accepted.
“Becoming a new principal during a pandemic brings on it own unique set of challenges,” she said. “For me, most importantly I needed to ensure the social and emotional health of not only the scholars in the village, but the staff as well. I felt that I needed to guarantee that I had a campus that maintained environments that were physically and emotionally safe, supportive, challenging and socially and emotionally nurturing for all who entered.”
Dr. Javier Villarreal, Chief Human Resource Officer, announced the Teachers of the Year and the Rookie Teachers of the Year.
Jagodzinski said she strives to bring out the best in her students.
“I believe each person contains unique qualities that undeniably makes them meant to do one thing in this world,” she said. “I have made it my personal lifelong mission to help students find their ‘one thing.’ This starts in the classroom, through knowledge, discovery and experiences that shape who they are in every facet. Children must understand that it is no coincidence they were placed on this earth.”
Luna said he wants his Spanish students to be exposed to a different part of the world through is teaching.
“I approach teaching Spanish as a way to engage students in exploring the world around them,” he said. “In my class, we explore Latin America, as well as other regions and cultures. My main goal is for students to understand how people are connected. By choosing topics that interest my students, they begin to make connections as to how different societies are similar.”
Burns’ goal is to make her students life-long learners.
“Everyone deserves a chance to learn,” she said. “Education is something that can take you far and provide you many opportunities. As a teacher, I see giving the gift of education is something that no one can ever take away from my students. As a teacher, I am committed to making learning fun and meaningful each and every day.”
Hunt said he believes it is his duty as an educator to challenge his students each and every day.
“I believe that a teacher is morally obligated to enter the classroom with only the highest expectations for each and every student,” he said. “Thus, the teacher maximizes the positive benefits that come along with a self-fulfilling prophecy. With dedication, perseverance and hard work, their students will rise to the occasion.”
Aldine ISD Board President Paul Shanklin thanked all of Aldine teachers for their service and commitment to educating Aldine’s youth.
“On behalf of my fellow board members, I want to congratulate all of our campus Teachers of the Year, our six finalists, our Principals of the Year and our Rookie Teachers of the Year,” he said. “On behalf of my fellow Trustees, we want you to know how much we value each and everyone of you and we can’t thank you enough for your dedication and devotion to the children of Aldine.
“I’m sure you are all aware that teaching is a calling and those who answer that call play a vital role in preparing students for college, and successful careers so that they can enjoy bright and unlimited futures.”
Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney delivered closing remarks and also thanked Aldine’s teachers for working through the pandemic, Winter Storm Uri and other challenges that have come their way in the last year.
“Thank you for all you do for our students,” Dr. Goffney said. “We have amazing educators who give their all. We have educators who care. Learning in Aldine never stopped, despite all the challenges we have all faced in the last year. You create meaningful learning experiences for our students and we can’t thank you enough.”
Prior to the presentation in the MOC Foyer, Campus Teachers of the Year were feted with a drive-through celebration where they received goodie boxes and a hot breakfast prepared by AISD’s Child Nutrition Department.
A number of area companies and individuals served as sponsors for the event. Amplify was the Presenting Sponsor, while United Airlines was the Platinum Sponsor, WCA was the Gold Sponsor and Howard Kelly and Kimberly Elizondo of McDonald’s served as Silver Sponsors. Campus Sponsors were Aldine AFT, BakerRipley, Margaret and Bill Ginder, Camdon Graphics, Carrie Durley, Edgenuity, Inc., Good Reason Houston, Josten’s, Martinez Architects, Renaissance, Tarkett USA, Inc. and Christi Van Wassenhove.
The Principal of the Year Committee consisted of Sherrie Batro, Rachel Briones, Twiana Collier, Scott Corrick, Raul Fonseca, Bryan Savant, Stacey Smith and Dr. Robin Williams.
The Rookie Principal of the Year Committee consisted of Dr. Dana Arreola, James Colbert, Perla Davila, Altagracia Delgado, Eric Levels, Kaileigh Newman, Dominic Tong and Dr. Robin Williams.
The Teacher of the Year Committee consisted of Aldine ISD Assistant Board Secretary Rose Avalos, Cindia Lara, Yvonne Lopez Taylor, Chad Lane, Amber Johnson, Matte Johnson, Dawn Brimhall, Dr. Keena Bradley and Dr. David Villareal.
Chief Communications Officer Sheleah Reed served as master of ceremonies for the event.