Westlake High School announces its 2018 Eanespiration winners:
Julie Fox, Laura Ringwood, and Josh Stevens received the Educational Impact award. Fox has worked for the Eanes Independent School District for 19 years and “is truly an inspiration to everyone she works with, and the students absolutely love her.” She is known to take on difficult tasks with a smile on her face and “is one of the first people to volunteer to step in whenever something needs to be done.” Ringwood “is one to admire for her calm in the midst of storms, her ability to organize what seems chaotic, and her focus on what really matters.” She is known for her kindness and her flexibility and for paying attention to her students and recognizing when they are struggling academically or personally. Stevens is a leader within the Behavior Support Team and goes “above and beyond to meet students where they are at each day emotionally, behaviorally, and academically.” He excels at focusing in on students and finding innovative ways to support their growth and learning.
Six Westlake teachers were awarded the Heroes Award. Kristen Carroll organized an Exchange Program with schools in Bavaria, Germany and traveled with students to Germany. With her “shared ideas and infectious laughter,” she “brings fun into the classroom every day.” Rose Lamendola has supported new registrars with documentation and with “reassurance our new registrars can survive the hustle and bustle of an annual event that requires a calm, welcoming smile.” She actively models good procedures and helps her colleagues achieve success. Tony McClain helps his students with disabilities feel equal to their peers and welcome in inclusive environments, by creating innovative lessons in basketball, kickball, and other physical activities. He “is constantly going above and beyond for students.” Jim Mercado exhibits “delight in serving food and helping others.” Joyful and caring, regulars in the cafeteria are “privy to his friendliness, the care and flourish with which he puts food on plates, and the obvious love he has for doing his job well while interacting with the people he feeds.” Carol Niemann, a mainstay at Westlake High School, has helped hundreds of students over the years. “Ms. Niemann masterfully addresses and handles difficult and trying situations, all while providing the student with both support and accountability.” Raleigh Taylor “worked her heart out for our kids” at the regional Latin Area F Convention, utilizing her “organization and dedication, as well as her enthusiasm and upbeat attitude.”
Three teachers received the Innovation Award. Laura Bergman, with “respect and grace,” made a legacy program into her own. She always is seeking out ideas and feedback on best practices and “communicates with her students in French in so many ways – a welcome at the door, deep and meaningful conversations, silly scenarios to practice new grammar concepts, friendly encounters outside of class, and through a myriad of partner, small group, and station work.” Chris Hanson brought Albert.io to the Westlake campus. More than half of the student body now is enrolled in this program to increase student averages in class and to support learning for the SAT and ACT. “Chris is a go-getter and we are so grateful he worked to get this innovative tool made available to staff and students.” Loira Ortiz “has infused fun, meaningful learning experiences and more spoken language in an already-rigorous” Spanish program. She also began a Spanish Honor Society that has increased participation in the AP program “and provided new opportunities for so many students at Westlake High School.”
Jennifer Meyer received the Good Samaritan Award. As Food Coordinator for Westlake Theatre, she was a “lifesaver” and “has been known to organize parent donations to feed a crowd of hungry actors and technicians” on very short notice. “She is levelheaded, even-keeled, and simply a delight. She has saved our bacon on numerous occasions and has done so with no word of complaint. For this and so much more, we are truly grateful.”
Photo courtesy Eanes ISD. Pictured, left to right. Back Row: Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard, Chris Hanson, Josh Stevens, Kristen Carroll, Carol Niemann, Tony McClain, Raleigh Taylor, and Principal Steve Ramsey. Front Row: Loira Ortiz, Laura Ringwood, Julie Fox, Rose Lamendola, Laura Bergman, Jim Mercado, and Jennifer Meyer.