Kudos from 2014

Kudos from 2014
Posted on 12/31/2014

Date: 12/17/2014
Employee praised: 
Ed Love, Admin Staff and all of Waco High Staff 
Waco High School 
WHS Faculty & Staff
Accolade sent by: 
LaMandria Fields

"I would like to send out a special kudos to Principal Ed Love, Asst. Principals; Jerry Johnson, Daphanie Latchison, James Stewart, Paula Gifford, Francene Francis and Lisa Saxenian for doing a GREAT job. We appreciate you all and the support that you bring to Waco High School each and every day. To all Waco High Teachers and Support Staff you're just as awesome as well. Keep up all the hard work and dedication.

Remember, "It takes a person with a caring heart to help those in need."

Merry Christmas"

Date: 11/5/2014
Employee praised: Angelo Ochoa
Location: University High School
Assignment: Teacher
Accolade sent by: Sabrina Rivera, UHS Freshman


"Mr. Ochoa is a coolio teacher he always works hard at his job. He has patience for people, and is just awesome. "

Date: 11/3/2014
Employee praised: Heidi MacPherson/CSI
Location: LAMM
Assignment: Teacher
Accolade sent by: Natasha Jones, WISD parent

"Mrs. MacPherson is a very dedicated teacher whom always takes her job and her children very seriously. She is an awesome teacher and she never gets to be sick or take extra time to herself. She gives her all in her classroom and it truly shows. Thank you Mrs. Mac you are awesome."

Date: October 27, 2014
Employee praised: Jesse Oliva
Location: University High School
Assignment: First Year Teacher
Accolade sent by: Archie Hatten IV; UHS Band Director

"Mr. Jesse Oliva is a first year teacher with so much energy and passion for music education. He is building the Mariachi and working with the Jazz Band and will surely be one of the greats one day! The students respect and respond to him when he gives directions.  Thank you Mr. Oliva for joining the MTB team!"

Date: October 14, 2014
Employee praised: Lucy Murphy
Location: University High School
Assignment: Choir Teacher
Accolade sent by: Amber Gilchrest, a Waco ISD student

"Mrs. Murphy is my 1st period choir teacher and she is one of the best I have ever had. She makes me smile during our choir warm-ups. She works hard at her job. I know she loves all of her students and I like it when we put a smile on her face!"

Date:October 9, 2014
Employee praised: Rachel Boles
Location: Hillcrest PDS
Assignment: Teacher
Accolade sent by: Laura Pahmiyer, a Waco ISD parent

"This is our first year at Hillcrest PDS and in Waco ISD after transitioning from private school. Mrs. Boles is a great communicator and asked parents to provide their children's sports schedules. I sent her our schedule and Mrs. Boles came to my son's peewee football game. He was thrilled that she was there. I am so thankful for a teacher that goes beyond regular duties to make my child feel special."

Date:September 19, 2014
Event praised: The Little Red Line Clinic
Location: Waco High School
Accolade sent by: Kathleen Kilgore, a Waco ISD staff member

"Ms. Jackson, Ms. Harris and the WHS Scarlet Line Drill team created incredibly exciting memories during their four-hour dance session for young girls. I was able to watch shy children turn into performing stars all due to the hard work and cheerful interaction of this awesome group of Waco High School young ladies. Thank you!"

Date:August 25, 2014
Employee praised: Waco ISD Staff
Accolade sent by: Vera Rivera, a Waco ISD grandparent

"I just want to thank the entire Waco ISD staff for a smooth transition this morning. This was my grandkids' first day back to school and you guys were awesome. We look forward to a wonderful school year!"

Date:August 11, 2014
Employee praised: Debbie Sims
Location: Provident Heights Elementary
Assignment: Principal
Accolade sent by: Pam Fischer, a Waco ISD teacher

"Debbie keeps a positive attitude on our campus at all times creating a great working environment for students and teachers. She is always smiling. STAAR test results showed improvement this past year because Debbie is a great principal who inspires teachers to be great. Kudos to Provident Heights and thanks, Debbie!"

Date: June 27, 2014
Employee praised: Johnny Tusa
Location: Waco ISD Stadium
Assignment: Director of Athletics
Accolade sent by: Joe Rodriguez, a Waco ISD supporter

"The Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Coach Johnny Tusa, Coach Jack Stanley, and the entire staff at the Waco ISD Stadium for the great service they provided when we hosted the international soccer match at WISD Stadium. They made us feel like they were part of our team in preparing for the event. Keep up the great work!"

Date: June 8, 2014
Employee praised: Jan Hahn
Location: South Waco Elementary
Assignment: Teacher
Accolade sent by: Olivia Barreto, a Waco ISD parent

"Mrs. Hahn was my son's kindergarten teacher for the 2012-2013 school year. She sent her parents weekly agendas so that we would know what our children were learning in her classroom. She also kept us up-to-date on campus news. My son just finished his first-grade year but we will never forget Mrs. Hahn. She will always be a special person to our family. Thank you, Mrs. Hahn! We love you!"

Date: May 22, 2014
Employee praised: Aldo Gonzales-Gutierrez
Location: Crestview Elementary
Assignment: Teacher
Accolade sent by: Mary Sappenfield, a Waco ISD substitute teacher

"I am a substitute teacher for Waco ISD. I have subbed in Mr. Gonzales' class on several occasions. He delivers instruction in a way that enables all of his students to be active learners and great participators. Crestview Elementary and Waco ISD are lucky to have him as a teacher."

Date: April 24, 2014
Employee praised: Dr. Mary Nied Phillips
Location: Lake Air Montessori
Assignment: Assistant Principal
Accolade sent by: Haley Dean, a Waco ISD teacher

"The task of coordinating the STAAR test is a major undertaking at any school, let alone at Lake Air Montessori which tests students from 3rd-grade to 8th-grade. With amazing organization and meticulous attention to detail, Dr. Mary Nied Phillips does an outstanding job. Thank you, Dr. Phillips, for your hard work and dedication to the students at Lake Air Montessori."

Date: April 15, 2014
Employee praised: Bethany Walker
Location: South Waco Elementary
Assignment: Teacher
Accolade sent by: Timothy Walker, a Waco ISD teacher

"I want to admonish a woman who is as dedicated as she is beautiful. Bethany Walker is constantly considering the well-being and education of her students, and tirelessly presses them to grow to become well-rounded, intelligent individuals. She cares for them regardless of the way she is treated and provides for them a true picture of grace. I could praise her ten times over and it would not be enough. She is an amazing teacher and wife."

Date: April 4, 2014
Employee praised: Mary Hopper-Miller
Location: Administration Building
Assignment: Purchasing Services
Accolade sent by: Cris Leary, a Waco ISD staff member

"Two members of our ELL Department were traveling out-of-town during the onset of inclement weather. After numerous delays, they were finally able to arrive in Waco at approximately 3 a.m. on Friday, April 4. During this trying time, Mary Hopper-Miller made several after-hours telephone calls assisting with their revised travel plans. It says a lot about Mary that she continued to work well after 5 p.m. until fellow employees arrived home safely. Her response to our request for assistance was "call me, it doesn't matter what time it is, just call me." Thank you, Mary, for going above and beyond in your job! You're the best!"

Date: April 1, 2014
Teachers praised: Gina Columbus and Catherine Wiley
Location: Crestview Elementary
Assignment: Pre-K Special Education Teacher, Pre-K Special Education Aide
Accolade sent by: Kim Torres, a Waco ISD parent.

"Three months ago, our family moved to Waco from North Carolina. Prior to moving we contacted Waco ISD about our three-and-a-half-year-old son, Hayden, who has Down syndrome. Our goal is for Hayden to achieve independence, so it is important that Hayden be enrolled in a school district that supports inclusion well past the pre-school years. Waco ISD proved to be the choice for us. The district embraces inclusion, setting no limits to what a child with Down syndrome should be able to do. That led us to the Pre-K classroom taught by Gina Columbus and Catherine Wiley at Crestview Elementary School. I spent nine years as a teacher in Texas public schools and fifteen years coaching swimming at various levels, and I can tell you that the staff at Crestview is second to none! In three short months, my son has made vast gains in academic and social skills. Thank you, Ms. Columbus, Ms. Wiley and Crestview Elementary, for making a difference in Hayden's life!"

Date: March 20, 2014
Employee praised: Olga Delgadillo
Location: Waco ISD Administrative Offices
Assignment: Receptionist
Accolade sent by: Tra Hall, a Waco ISD employee.

"Olga Delgadillo does a fantastic job of greeting and welcoming everyone to the Central Administration Building. She always brings a smile to my face and welcomes everyone with grace and friendliness. Mrs. D. goes the extra mile to make a great first impression to anyone who comes to our downtown offices."

Date: January 22, 2014
Employee praised: Craig Zost
Location: Administration Building
Assignment: Special Education Diagnostician
Accolade sent by: Lisa Jackson, a Waco ISD teacher.

"I would like to give kudos to fellow staff member Craig Zost for the fantastic job he does in holding ARD hearings. He is very professional, well-prepared and thorough. Thank you, Mr. Zost, for being an invaluable asset to Kendrick Elementary!"

Date: December 10, 2013
Teacher praised: Coleen Scurlock
Location: Dean Highland Elementary
Assignment: Kindergarten Teacher
Accolade sent by: Daphanie Latchison, a Waco ISD parent and staff member.

"Our daughter loves going to school at Dean Highland because of Mrs. Scurlock. She loves to 'play school' with her cousins and even her baby dolls. She uses an elevated vocabulary when she plays. That shows us she is taught with great expectations. We want our daughter educated well and are reassured that the teachers at Dean Highland are doing their part every time we watch her at play!"

Date: December 5, 2013
Teacher praised: Jacquilyn Land
Location: Kendrick Elementary
Assignment: Kindergarten Teacher
Accolade sent by: Chastity Tello, a Waco ISD parent.

"My daughter is always excited to go to school in the morning and see the new things Ms. Land is going to show them. She is reading more at home and shows us the different things she is learning. I appreciate Ms. Land's patience with my daughter and thank her for being that "little spark" that makes my daughter love learning!"

Date: October 30, 2013
Staff member praised: Yolanda Williams
Location: Dean Highland Elementary
Assignment: Principal
Accolade sent by:Jessica Gudino, a Waco ISD parent and supporter.

"Our family really appreciates Principal Yolanda Williams and her staff for making school enjoyable for students. Dean Highland has grown in population during the past two years, but it has been a great experience. Thank you, we appreciate your hard work!"

Date: October 22, 2013
Staff member praised: Dr. Susan Thames
Location: Indian Spring Middle School
Assignment: Principal
Accolade sent by:Maribel F. Florez, a Waco ISD parent.

"My son has never liked school too much. But thanks to Dr. Susan Thames, that is changing. This year, he talks about how Dr. Thames helps him to see a bright future if he makes good choices. Thank you, Dr. Thames, for being so helpful!"

Date: October 20, 2013
Staff member praised: Tiffany Jones
Location: ATLAS Academy
Assignment: Math Teacher
Accolade sent by:Shelli Oliphant, a Waco ISD parent and staff member.

"Tiffany Jones is outstanding with communication. She is accessible and always very helpful. She treats her students as if they were her own children. ATALS Academy is fortunate to have such a wonderful and caring teacher. Thanks you, Ms. Jones, for everything!"

Date: October 17, 2013
Student praised: Destiny Lawson
Location: Waco High School
Assignment: Sophomore
Accolade sent by:Camille Mason, a Waco ISD parent.

"I would like to commend my daughter, Destiny Lawson, for doing such a good job on her first report card of the year. She made 5 A's and 2 B's! Our goal is for her to do everything she can to make straight A's. Destiny is a JV cheerleader and plays softball. I am so proud of her! Keep up the good work!"

Date: October 8, 2013
Staff member praised: Millie Wooten
Location: Parkdale Elementary
Assignment: Kindergarten Inclusion Teacher
Accolade sent by:Vontisha Lacy, a Waco ISD parent.

"Ms. Wooten is a wonderful teacher. I appreciate everything she has done for my daughter and her classmates. My child has a bright future because of Ms. Wooten. Thank you, Ms. Wooten, for being patient and caring!"

Date: October 2, 2013
Staff member praised: Lisa Walker
Location: University High School
Assignment: English Teacher
Accolade sent by: Carmen Bell, a Waco ISD parent.

"While attending a Parent Advisory Committe meeting in September, Mrs. Walker remarked that she had a meeting with parents after school that day. I observed that she waited long and patiently for the parents to arrive. Mrs. Walker knows that parent meetings are important and her actions show a strong committment to her role as educator. Way to go, Mrs. Walker!"

Date: September 26, 2013
Staff member praised:Connie Ryer
Location: Cesar Chavez Middle School
Assignment: Special Education Aide
Accolade sent by: Stacy Wilson, a Waco ISD teacher.

"Ms. Ryer has a challenging assignment and always handles it gracefully and with patience. I applaud her for the good work that she is doing."

Date: September 26, 2013
Staff member praised:Shelly Brooks
Location: Cesar Chavez Middle School
Assignment: Special Education Teacher
Accolade sent by: Stacy Wilson, a Waco ISD teacher.

"Ms. Brooks does a wonderful job with the students under her care. She is patient and loving. Kudos for a fantastic job, Ms. Brooks!"

Date: September 26, 2013
Teacher praised: Abby Greenwald
Location: Cesar Chavez Middle School
Assignment: Choir Teacher
Accolade sent by: Stacy Wilson, a Waco ISD teacher.

"Ms. Greenwald volunteered to give up her conference period and stay with my 6th period class recently so that I could get my car scheduled for repair. Sometimes unforeseeable things happen to all of us. Her kindness is very much appreciated."

Date: May 28, 2013
Administrator praised: Brandon Cope
Location: Waco High School
Assignment: Assistant Principal
Accolade sent by: Paige Connell, a Waco ISD teacher.

"With the end of the year coming, I want to give much-deserved praise to Mr. Brandon Cope. I teach 10th grade, so he is the Assistant Principal I deal with most frequently, and I have such high regard and respect for him after this year.

For one thing, he NEVER stops moving! He is constantly working for a student or a teacher, and even if he's sitting still, his brain is going 90 miles-an-hour. I don't know many people on our campus who have a stronger work ethic than he does.

He has a really great rapport with our students. He is calm, even-keeled, straightforward and respectful. He can call a kid out for messing around, but do it in a way that the student doesn't feel angry. He tells it like it is, and I know they have come to appreciate that. He doesn't play favorites, but he does let the kids know that he cares about what happens to them. It's a balance that I have tried to figure out and emulate all year, but it's difficult.

Mr. Cope is creative and fair in his discipline. He doesn't single students out, and he's not quick to throw the book at them. He comes up with solutions that are acceptable to both the student and the teacher. I think that's a big part of the reason students respect him. He is extremely supportive of his teachers in face-to-face communication and in front of students. I have had conflicts with some of my kids, and Mr. Cope is professional, and always has my back when communicating and resolving conflict.

I have always felt he is a wonderful resource and will do whatever he can to help me with any issue. I have been so impressed with him this year because he has done wonderful things for our campus. Our 10th graders can be difficult sometimes, but he has kept them in line by working with them and with the teachers. I have really enjoyed working with him this year, and I wanted him to get all the credit he deserves."

Date: May 15, 2013
Teacher praised: Lauren Eggers
Location: Alta Vista Elementary
Assignment: Deaf Education Teacher
Accolade sent by: Brenda Alvarez, a Waco ISD parent.

"I would like to thank Ms. Eggers for doing such a wonderful job in teaching my son. He has learned so much these past two years with Ms. Eggers being his teacher. She always makes sure to let me know how well my son is doing in class and what he needs to work on. Ms. Eggers, we love you so much and we want to let you know that we appreciate you."

Date: May 10, 2013
Teachers praised: Shannon Somers, Dollyn Tusa and Rebecca Maynard
Location: Alta Vista Elementary
Assignment: First-grade, Physical Education and Music Teachers
Accolade sent by: Wendy Shepherd, a Waco ISD parent.

"Shannon Somers was new to our school in a year when there have been a lot of changes at Alta Vista. She has made her classroom an exciting place for my son to learn and he loves school! Thank you for motivating my son to excel in all of his school studies."

"Coach Tusa has had a wonderful influence on my children. She has instilled in them good physical habits which will follow them throughout their lives. She has taught my children that physical education can be found in many of their daily activities and ultimately makes them healthier. Thank you for everything you do for our kids!"

"Mrs. Maynard has been a wonderful inspiration to my children. Her love of music and acting has encouraged them to be more outgoing and confident. She has been a positive person throughout their education at Alta Vista and we love her!"

Date: May 9, 2013
Teachers praised: Kathryn De La Pena and Samantha Walker
Location: Alta Vista Elementary
Assignment: Pre-kindergarten Teacher and Pre-kindergarten Teacher's Aide
Accolade sent by: Michele McNeil, a Waco ISD parent.

"I want to send my sincere thanks to Mrs. De La Pena and Ms. Sam for their hard work and sacrifices this school year. My daughter moved to Texas from Georgia during the start of the school year and her teachers were very patient and caring during her transition. She loves Alta Vista and all of her teachers, but she cannot stop talking about Mrs. De La Pena and Ms. Sam. She has developed tremendously this year and I believe the teachers have worked hard to ensure she is ready for kindergarten. Thank you so much because she comes home everyday sharing information that she has learned from her two favorite teachers."

Date: May 7, 2013
Employee praised: Michelle Lyon
Location: Tennyson Middle
Assignment: Security Guard
Accolade sent by: Lynn Bulmahn, a Waco ISD supporter.

"I am a substitute teacher this semester and was a practice teacher last fall. Comic books have Wonder Woman; Tennyson Middle School has Security Officer Michelle Lyon. She has earned the respect of all the students and makes sure the campus is a safe place to be. As a substitute teacher, I appreciate Officer Lyon's professionalism. Students may not want to talk to substitute teachers about what is going on, but they will tell Officer Lyon when a classmate is out of line. While she is a stern presence on campus and a strict disciplinarian, it is very evident that she cares very much about young people. That is why the students respond to her so well!"

Date: May 6, 2013
Teacher praised: Delicia LeBlanc
Location: West Avenue Elementary
Assignment: Special Education PPCD Teacher
Accolade sent by: Lindsey Packett, a Waco ISD parent.

"My son has attended West Avenue in the PPCD class for two years in a row. When he started in Mrs. LeBlanc's class, he was not very verbal and could only walk on his knees. Now he is running around the classroom on his own two feet, speaking in sentences, and learning to undress himself. He always has stories to tell me about shapes, colors, and even months of the year! He was born with a disability and has worked hard to overcome his setbacks, but I know he did not achieve these accomplishments on his own. Mrs. LeBlanc has been there every step of the way to teach, guide, and encourage him. My family is very grateful for her. It takes a special person to work with children with special needs and I am so glad that she has been a part of my son's life!"

Date: May 5, 2013
Teacher praised: Angela Chames
Location: Alta Vista Elementary
Assignment: First-grade ESL Teacher
Accolade sent by: Erica Castillo, a Waco ISD parent.

"Mrs. Chames is a great teacher and I love every method she uses for teaching. My son loves telling me what he learns in her classroom every day. I want to thank Mrs. Chames for everything she does for my child. Kudos for Mrs. Chames!"

Date: April 22, 2013
Teacher praised: Brandy Abel-Clark
Location: Various
Assignment: Special Education Transition Teacher (18-21)
Accolade sent by: Marti Turner, a Waco ISD parent.

"My son began his educational career at Hillcrest PDS and then transitioned to the Texas School for the Blind in the sixth-grade. I was very concerned when he returned to Waco ISD for his final two years of school. Ms. Abel-Clark has gone far beyond my expectations. She is truly helping Dylan become ready for a future beyond what most people ever thought possible. I am so excited to see the things he is accomplishing in spite of his disability. Brandy is an amazing advocate for my child and I am forever grateful."

Date: April 18, 2013
Teacher praised: Shannon Carpenter
Location: Lake Air Montessori
Assignment: Sixth-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Teresa Lozano, a Waco ISD parent.

"Mrs. Carpenter has been a very positive role model for my child. Sixth-grade can be an awkward transition and she has made it as smooth as possible. Her enthusiasm for her students' learning is wonderful. She is able to relate to her class, listen to them and encourage them to do their best. Mrs. Carpenter is a perfect fit for her profession as well as the Lake Air Montessori community."

Date: April 13, 2013
Teacher and students praised: Leonard Montelongo and JROTC students
Location: University High School
Accolade sent by: Elaine Botello, a Waco ISD staff member.

"On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Waco ISD hosted a teacher job fair at University High School. Several students from 1SG Montelongo's JROTC program volunteered to help principals and directors set up their booths, greet prospective teachers as they entered the gym, hand out goodie bags, tear down and clean up afterwards, and continuously offer their assistance. The students were polite, cheerful, and definitely exhibited characteristics of future leaders. 1SG Montelongo has done an outstanding job with these students. Kudos to the University High JROTC students and 1SG Montelongo who are truly Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow!"

Date: April 12, 2013
Teachers praised: Lenard Dossey and Alice Sauer
Assignment: Multi-age teachers
Location: Lake Air Montessori Magnet
Accolade sent by: Heather Smith, a Waco ISD teacher.

"Lenard and Alice are two very important people to the multi-age grade level team at Lake Air Montessori. They have worked hard to make our environment as Montessori as possible, build a team that is strong and supportive, and create a place and team of which I am honored to be a member. Thanks, Guys!"

Date: April 5, 2013
Students praised: Multiple
Location: University High School
Accolade sent by: Angela Ceccato, a Waco ISD supporter.

"When I arrived at University High School recently to visit the Communities In Schools office, I encountered several students who were incredibly gracious, polite and helpful. Two gentlemen opened doors for me and all students greet me with smiles."

Date: March 29, 2013
Employee praised: Sigrid Whitford
Work location: Hillcrest Professional Development School
Assignment: Fourth-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Celinda Abney, a Waco ISD parent.

"My son is in Ms. Whitford's class. He comes home each day and tells me the things that she has taught him. I believe she does a wonderful job at teaching children."

Date: March 28, 2013
Employee praised: K'Lynn Childress
Work location: Waco High School
Assignment: Theater Teacher
Accolade sent by: Angela Tekell, a Waco ISD parent.

"I am so impressed with Ms. Childress' dedication to Waco High's fine arts programs! After scrambling on short notice, she helped produce an outstanding fall musical, and now, has overseen the production of Waco High's One Act Play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream." This play is very challenging in every aspect and Ms. Childress has brought the best out of every member of the cast. First, they advanced out of Zone with a Best Actor and All-Star Cast honors, and then, out of District with a Best Actress and All-Star Cast honors! Thank you, Ms. Childress!"

Date: March 20, 2013
Employee praised: Tiffany Jones
Work location: ATLAS Academy at Tennyson Middle School
Assignment: Math Teacher
Accolade sent by: Mandi DuPuy, a Waco ISD parent and supporter.

"Praise to Tiffany Jones who reviewed Circles and Circumference with her eighth-grade geometry students! The review involved waffles. My husband, Cary, and I appreciate teachers who create fun ways for students to learn!"

Date: March 19, 2013
Employee praised: Christine Moody
Work location: Hillcrest Professional Development School
Assignment: Second-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Michelle Schlappe, a Waco ISD parent.

"I am so thankful for Mrs. Moody and the time she takes to differentiate for the needs of the students in her class. I know this takes a lot of extra time and she goes above and beyond to make sure her students are challenged and working to the best of their abilities. Thank you, Mrs. Moody, for making learning engaging for my child."

Date: February 22, 2013
Employee praised: Wendy Singletary
Work location: Hillcrest Professional Development School
Assignment: First-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Tiffany Hogue, a Waco ISD parent.

"Ms. Singletary is my daughter's first-grade teacher. My daughter comes home each day raving about what she learned in school and how much fun she had during the learning process. Because of Ms. Singletary, my daughter is now an avid reader, lover of math and science, and modern history buff. We are so grateful for this wonderful school and especially for Ms. Singletary !"

Date: February 21, 2013
Employee praised: Rhiannon Boyd
Work location: University High School
Assignment: Registered Nurse
Accolade sent by: Julie Coston, a Waco ISD teacher.

"Ms. Boyd almost single-handedly pulled together the annual 5K event to raise scholarship funds A.J. Moore students. She spent tireless hours making phone calls, soliciting donations, signing up participants and volunteers, setting up the course and ensuring that everyone not only felt good about the cause, but also had a wonderful day. From a silent auction to raffle tickets to entry fees, Ms. Boyd exhausted every avenue of fundraising for our students. It was such a success on so many levels. Thank you, Ms. Boyd !"

Date: February 19, 2013
Employee praised: Diana Ziliox
Work location: Lake Air Montessori Magnet School
Assignment: Kindergarten Teacher
Accolade sent by: Esme Hernandez, a Waco ISD parent and staff member.

"Diana Ziliox has been an amazing teacher to my 5-year-old daughter. She has impacted her life in such a positive way. I am in awe and amazed every single day by how much she has learned. Mrs. Ziliox encourages her and challenges her to learn more and more. Mrs. Ziliox is truly a gem at Waco ISD. Keep up the magnificent work Mrs. Ziliox, I'm sure every parent of every child in your class appreciates you!"

Date: February 15, 2013
Employee praised: Melanie Sparks and Lorraine Randazzo
Work location: Alta Vista Elementary
Assignment: Teacher and Principal
Accolade sent by: Leslie King, a Waco ISD Adopt-A-School partner.

"Melanie and Lorraine have been helping keep Adopt-A-School partners active in the lives of Alta Vista Elementary children. Throughout this first year working with them, I have experienced responsiveness and incremental improvements to the program. Alta Vista is full of wonderful children. Thanks, Melanie and Lorraine, for all you do to allow the community to know them better!"

Date: February 14, 2013
Employee praised: Lyn Bacy
Work location: J.H. Hines Elementary
Assignment: Third-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Ryn Farmer, a Waco ISD supporter.

"Ms. Bacy does an excellent job engaging the parents at the school. She makes phone calls and sometimes visits her students and parents at their homes. Recently, J.H. Hines held parent-teacher one-on-one meetings for third, fourth and fifth grade students and Ms. Bacy met with more than half her students' parents. She brings years of knowledge and expertise to the classroom and I truly appreciate everything Ms. Bacy does at J.H. Hines Elementary."

Date: February 14, 2013
Employee praised: Nina LeBlanc
Work location: J.H. Hines Elementary
Assignment: Principal
Accolade sent by: Ryn Farmer, a Waco ISD supporter.

"Ms. LeBlanc works tirelessly to create a wonderful learning environment for students at J.H. Hines. She has put measures in place to ensure there is structure at the school that allows students opportunitities for growth. I am honored to know and work with Ms. LeBlanc. It is my true pleasure to watch her lead the school with such humble authority, great perseverance and true grace."

Date: February 14, 2013
Employee praised: Mentha Burns
Work location: J.H. Hines Elementary
Assignment: Third-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Ryn Farmer, a Waco ISD supporter.

"Recently, J.H. Hines held parent-teacher one-on-one meetings for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students. Ms. Burns met with more than half of her students' parents. She has been teaching for many years but is still dedicated to making a difference in the lives of her students and urging parents to participate in their children's education. It is a pleasure working with Ms. Burns!"

Date: February 14, 2013
Employee praised: Leeann Allen
Work location: Brook Avenue Elementary
Assignment: Counselor
Accolade sent by: Alexis Christensen, a Waco ISD supporter and Adopt-A-School partner.

"Mrs. Allen is a tremendous asset to Brook Avenue. Though this is only her first year to be teaching at the school, she has dove head first into her work. She tenderly cares for the students, faculty and staff. Her energy is infectious and she makes you want to do more for the school. She has been a great coordinator for Adopt-A-School and is passionate about the students and their families. Great job Mrs. Allen!"

Date: February 14, 2013
Employee praised: Jamie Brimhall
Work location: J.H. Hines Elementary
Assignment: Fourth-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Ryn Farmer, a Waco ISD supporter.

"Recently, J.H. Hines held parent-teacher one-on-one meetings for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students. The meetings went well, but I want to specifically commend Ms. Brimhall for being able to meet with more than half of her students' parents. She is new at the school this year but is doing wonderful things with the students. She is truly making a difference in their lives and for the school as a whole. Great work Ms. Brimhall!"

Date: February 14, 2013
Employee praised: Quandriene Boggess
Work location: Brook Avenue Elementary
Assignment: Instructional Specialist
Accolade sent by: Alexis Christensen, a Waco ISD supporter and Adopt-A-School partner.

"Mrs. Boggess is a hard-working lady! She is not only the instructional specialist, she is superwoman! She helps effectively engages the teachers and students and is a positive force within Brook Avenue Elementary. I am thankful to work with her to see Brook Avenue become all it can be."

Date: February 13, 2013
Employee praised: Kay Murphy
Work location: Waco High School
Assignment: AVID Teacher and Coach
Accolade sent by: Stacy Norwood, a Waco ISD parent.

"Coach Murphy works hard for all of the students at Waco High, preparing them for college in her AVID class, helping athletes with recruiting and college information, or just being there for the kids when they need someone. I feel that she goes above and beyond for our kids, and I appreciate everything she does!"

Date: February 10, 2013
Employee praised: Christine Moody
Work location: Hillcrest Professional Development School
Assignment: Second-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Steve Donaldson, a Waco ISD parent.

"Mrs. Moody encourages our son in many ways. She has a dynamic approach to teaching."

Date: February 10, 2013
Employee praised: Renee Clay
Work location: Parkdale Elementary
Assignment: Second-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Natasha Christian, a Waco ISD parent and teacher.

"Mrs. Clay works tirelessly to find new and innovative methods to work with my child with autism. She is the epitome of patience and professionalism even on those tough days. I appreciate all that she does to make education meaningful for my child."

Date: February 8, 2013
Employee praised: Coleen Scurlock
Work location: Dean Highland Elementary
Assignment: Kindergarten ESL Teacher
Accolade sent by: Melva Scott, a Waco ISD parent.

"Mrs. Scurlock is my 5-year-old daughter's teacher. I appreciate her enthusiasm, attitude, and effective instructional methods! My child's mind has truly been enriched. I have seen a noticeable improvement in academics and her attitude toward school. Thank you! Dean Highland has a lot of awesome teachers and we are privileged to be have this school in our neighborhood!"

Date: February 8, 2013
Employee praised: Billie Phillips
Work location: Crestview Elementary
Assignment: Fourth-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Bonita Branch, a Waco ISD parent and supporter.

"I appreciate that Ms. Phillips goes beyond just teaching my child. It is a welcome sight to see that my child is excited about learning and I thank Ms. Phillips for that!"

Date: February 6, 2013
Employee praised: Tammy Johnston
Work location: Hillcrest Professional Development School
Assignment: First-grade Teacher
Accolade sent by: Marisela Camargo, a Waco ISD parent and staff member.

"I would like to praise Mrs. Johnston, my daughter's 1st-grade teacher. My daughter has learned so much in her first year at Hillcrest PDS. I am so amazed at the books and homework she receives and brings home. This year I haven't had any doubts that my child was learning what she was suppose to at her grade level. Hillcrest is an AMAZING school and Mrs. Johnston is an AMAZING teacher! So KUDOS to you! Thank you for everything you do and for making a difference in our children's lives."

Date: February 5, 2013
Employee praised: Rick Lowe
Work location: Waco High School
Assignment: Mock Trial Coach
Accolade sent by: Angela Tekell, a Waco ISD parent and supporter.

"Rick Lowe is dedicating an extraordinary amount of time in the evenings and weekends to this year's WHS Mock Trial Team. Rick is committed to our students and does all he can to make sure these kids are working at their highest and best selves. Thank you, Mr. Lowe for your dedication to our students."

Date: February 5, 2013
Employee praised: Alisha Owner
Work location: Tennyson Middle School
Assignment: Orchestra Teacher
Accolade sent by: Mandi DuPuy, a Waco ISD parent, supporter and business owner.

"Dr. Owner is working magic to revive a long neglected Orchestra Program. She is thinking out of the box to develop musicians and create wonderful experiences for them."

Date: February 5, 2013
Employee praised: Jessica Hicks
Work location: ATLAS Academy
Assignment: Dean
Accolade sent by: Angela Tekell, a Waco ISD parent and supporter.

"Ms. Hicks is going above and beyond to ensure that the ATLAS Academy's first out of state trip to DC is a success by working with parents to see that all the funds necessary to pay for the trip are raised. The ATLAS Academy students and staff are working through a variety of avenues to raise the funds needed--this shows great creativity, flexibility and confidence in our kids. Thank you, Ms. Hicks!"