Klein News
Employees Named as Superintendent’s Initiative Award Recipients
Jun 26 2017 - 10:34:00 am

Brandy Bowlen – Epps Island school nurse

Brandy Bowlen is described as an exceptional leader, innovative, and focused on the whole child. But that’s not the only reason she was named a 2017 Superintendent’s Initiative Award recipient.

 

With one great idea and motivation, Bowlen has initiated many projects for the staff, students, and community at Epps Island directed to address childhood obesity, physical activity, and self-esteem.

 

“She thinks of solutions,” said Klein ISD Director of Health Services, Laurie Combe. “She knows that for a child to access their education, they have to be healthy and she creates and devises programs to make sure she advances their wellness.

 

Bowlen received a $25,000 Lead the Spark grant from the Klein ISD Education Foundation in which the school developed and implemented a kinesthetic reading lab. She is recognized as a school nurse expert by the National Association of School Nurses and in 2016 was recognized as one of Houston Chronicle’s top nurses.

 

“To receive an award for something you feel is just your job, it’s completely an honor,” said Bowlen. 

 

Debbie McKamie – French Elementary Librarian

“I’m honored that what I do is appreciated,” said McKamie. “But knowing that the teachers on my campus took the time to nominate me is truly an honor.”

 

McKamie created a garden club, and in its first year, 98 kids signed up. She has since formed two garden clubs with students getting to learn about gardening and help with the school beautification project.

 

“She symbolizes initiative,” said French Elementary teacher Marla Savoie. “She is always willing to jump in and start something. She is always going full steam ahead.”

 

As a librarian, she not only works with students but she also spends time collaborating with classroom teachers and campus specialists to enhance literacy by supporting their lessons and activities.

 

“I’m blessed to be in a district that promotes the library and librarians and the role we play other than checking out books,” said McKamie.

 

Bob Anderson – Klein Intermediate Principal

“We started thinking about what we could do different,” said Bob Anderson, Klein Intermediate principal.

 

Under his leadership, Parent University was created to help build and foster relationships with Klein Intermediate parents, caregivers, and the community. The program provides families meaningful ways to learn and grow together as well as engage in partnership with the school for the benefit of students.

 

“The Klein Intermediate team understands that the parents want to be involved and committed to their child’s education,” said Klein ISD Chief Learning Officer, Jenny McGown. “He has done a brilliant job of creating a bridge so they know how they can be involved.”

 

The success of this program is a shining example of the district’s shared Promise2Purpose vision that calls for us to know every student by name, strength, and needs as well as to build strategic partnerships that support the success of the whole student.

 

“Our biggest success was that they are starting to change their perception,” said Anderson. “Our parents are now out there pushing the forward positive message which is how you are going to shift that tide.” 

 

Christine Jackson – Public Information Officer

“I think I was put in this position for a reason,” said Jackson. “There are other things we at central office can do to support our campuses and everyone in the district.”

 

Jackson developed a mechanism for district level employees to sign up to volunteer and work at functions in schools when there are limited volunteer resources. It started with volunteering at a school book fair, then opportunities to assist with the Schultz Maker Space event and most recently the McDougle book fair.

 

“She is amazing,” said Executive Assistant Beverly McGlasson. “She cares about everybody and wants to do what she can to help people.”

 

Her initiative has opened up the opportunities for volunteers from Klein ISD Central Office, Teaching and Learning Center and the Network Operations Center to support the students and employees in our district.

 

“This has shown her dedication to helping others,” said McGlasson.

 

Melissa Aguayo, Michelle Comeaux, Brad Bolner, Amanda Roundtree, Erin Mason, Katherine Escure, Michelle Hackney, Kristin Gaden, Jodi Lea and Christy Stanton – Klein High Best Buddies

 

Together, this group has organized the Klein High School Best Buddies Club which enhances the lives of students with and without disabilities.

 

“The Best Buddies Club has been a net experience,” said Klein High School Developmental teacher Melissa Aguayo. “It has helped our kids to feel like they have more social opportunities, more friends, more network and feel like they are a part of everything.”

 

The club has grown to an officially affiliated chapter of Best Buddies and has more than 100 student members. By hosting events, students with and without disabilities come together to end the social isolation of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

 

“It’s brought so much into their lives,” said developmental aide Catherin Escure.

 

“They do so many things together, it’s an awesome thing to see in action,” said Klein High School principal Jessica Haddox. “The understanding and the barriers that have been broken down are truly phenomenal.”

Klein Oak Among Elite Campuses Earning Recognition
Jun 15 2017 - 08:25:00 am

Klein Oak is among only 19 elite campuses name a “2017 Schools Transforming Learning” by the Principals’ Institute (PI). These diverse campuses are making exceptional strides on their journeys to provide innovative learning opportunities for all students.

 

Nominations for the honor were open to campuses led by any of the more than 300 PI participants or alumni who represent more than 72 Texas public school districts. PI is a statewide professional learning series designed to challenge thinking and help campus leaders develop and sustain transformative learning environments.

 

Find out what these campuses are doing and scheduled a campus tor at: www.theprincipalsinstitute.org/STL2017Tour.

 

The 2017 STL designated campuses are (by level):  

Leadership Helps Earn Wynne Principal of the Year Award
Jun 14 2017 - 03:53:00 pm

Under the dynamic principalship of LaToya Wynne, Epps Island Elementary sought and achieved new milestones over the last few years, and for her leadership, she was recently named the 2017 Klein ISD Elementary Principal of the Year.

“I am very thankful for that opportunity that my peers would recognize me,” said Wynne. “Sitting there I didn’t think they were talking about me until I heard her list of Krahn and Lemm elementary schools as well.”

Wynne’s success on improving the performance of students and building a team of educators relentlessly focused on student success is one of the many reasons she was selected by her colleagues as the Elementary Principal of the Year. In 2016 the staff at Epps Island earned their first-ever distinction with the state’s accountability system.

“I was not surprised one bit,” said Lemm principal Kathy Brown. “She has done such an outstanding job and the success that she has had at Epps Island and what she has afforded all of those children, and their success is just amazing.”

Wynne says that when she arrived at Epps Island she knew there was a challenge ahead of her, but as a team and a family, she and the staff rallied around the school’s fundamental purpose and that is what they lived through. 

“Everything we did was through the lens of what was best for our students,” said Wynne.

“One phrase that I learned from LaToya as soon as I got to Epps Island, and that is engrained in our minds, and the student’s mind is ‘Effort Beats Talent,’” said Maribel Scarbrough, current Epps Island principal.

In 2014, the Epps Island wellness program was awarded a grant to help fund the Trim Epps Island program designed to provide more than 800 students with valuable resources, programs and incentives to help improve their overall health and well-being. Also during her time at Epps Island, the school was awarded a Lead the Spark grant from the Klein ISD Education Foundation for its Kinesthetic Reading Lab in which third through fifth-grade students received stationary bikes that were attached to the desks so that they can bike while they read.

Also, Wynne was one of only 95 principals in the state selected to attend a summer leadership program at the Principal’s Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“She is a cheerleader for all of her students,” said Epps Island teacher Tasha James. “She is a cheerleader for her staff. Anytime we have a staff meeting or professional development; she gets you excited. Even if you are having a bad day, hearing her talk ignites that passion within you.”

Because of these leadership skills, Wynne was recently promoted to Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. Her responsibilities now include making an impact across all Klein ISD elementary campuses.
District Secondary Principal of the Year Returns to Home Campus
Jun 14 2017 - 03:48:00 pm

Based on his accomplishments during his tenure with Klein ISD, it was a no brainer to select Wunderlich Intermediate Principal, Chris Ruggerio as Klein ISD’s Secondary Principal of the year. But when reflecting on the moment Judy Rimato, Klein ISD Associate Superintendent for Communications and Planning, announced he was this year’s honoree, Ruggerio says he was in a bit of a state of disbelief.

 

“As she started reading through it, I heard the universities and years in education it kind of triggered. But at the same time, I thought it couldn’t be me,” he said. “It was a great surprise.”

 

Ruggerio has served in education for 15 years. Fourteen years ago, he began as a teacher at Wunderlich Intermediate. Over the course of his career, he worked as an assistant principal at Klein Oak where he has always looked for ways to connect with each student personally and build on their strengths. In 2013, he was named Wunderlich’s principal and according to those around him, he was always a campus leader.

 

“When I was a principal at Wunderlich, he was an adaptive behavior teacher,” said Kelly Schumacher, Klein ISD Executive Director for Teaching & Learning. “Chris was just somebody who stood out right away.”

 

“Chris is an innovative leader who continuously looks for ways to improve systems for students,” says Klein ISD Chief Learning Officer, Jenny McGown. “His initiatives are always focused on the whole student.”

 

After moving into his new leadership role, Ruggerio remained focused on student success. He credits the staff, faculty, counselors, and teachers at the campus and their love for the students not just while they are at Wunderlich, but also for their success as they further their education.

 

“We have three years to get these kids ready for high school and make sure they are ready to proceed,” said Ruggerio. “We want to make sure we are giving them everything we can. We want to see them walk across the stage four years later.”

 

He says getting to return home to Wunderlich was a natural fit and being able to come back to the building and the community has made him never look back. 

Jessica Berger Named Assistant Principal of the Year
Jun 14 2017 - 03:46:00 pm

Schindewolf sixth-grade assistant principal Jessica Berger is more of a behind-the-scenes administrator but that all changed when she was announced as the 2017 Klein ISD Assistant Principal of the Year. 

 

Despite her behind the curtain style, she spends as much time as she can in the hallways at Schindewolf and in the classrooms working to build better relationships with the students. She is described as a positive influence and an encouraging leader that is supportive and highly collaborative. Her principal refers to her as “The Golden Ticket of the Assistant Principals” saying that the students and teachers love and respect her.

 

“I believe that building those relationships is what is most important,” said Berger. I’ve got 460 sixth-graders to make a difference for and that’s what they deserve.”

 

Administrators say that when you can’t seem to find Berger during lunch duty, you can usually find her sitting with students at their tables talking about the latest book they have read.

 

Berger prefers to not be at the forefront of things but wants to make sure other people get the recognition they deserve.

 

“This is so well deserved,” said Schindewolf eighth-grade assistant principal Stephanie Gray. “She is a true gem in all aspects of everything she does.”

 

She says she is truly humbled to have received this award.

 

“Beginning my career as a teacher, and now being an administrator, you continue your path in education always wanting to reach as many students as possible and do what you can do make a difference,” said Berger.

Track & Field Facilities Closed through Aug. 20
Jun 02 2017 - 03:26:00 pm


KLEIN, TX
- Klein Oak, Klein Collins and Klein Forest Track & Field facilities will be closed for construction until Aug. 20, 2017.
Benfer Elementary Teacher Florinda Nale Named District Elementary Teacher of the Year
Jun 02 2017 - 02:47:00 pm
Nale’s mission possible attitude helps students thrive


 Klein, TX – Nothing is impossible for Benfer Elementary teacher, Florinda Nale, who recently earned the title of 2017 Elementary Teacher of the Year for Klein ISD.

“She is a fun teacher, because she's always trying to make everything work out,” said Yvette Trevino, Nale’s student.

Being able to make things work out, stems back to her start in education. Nale’s professional journey began as a child. She watched her mother, an elementary teacher, dedicate countless hours to students. Nale began teaching in 2005 and compulsively attended every professional development opportunity she could. In a five-year period, she accumulated 433 hours of professional development.

As a military spouse, from 2009 to 2014, she studied Early Childhood Education, became a mother of two remarkable children, served as a director of a preschool, earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and became an ESL Newcomer teacher. She and her husband moved back after his service and she began her career in Klein ISD. Nale seeks continual improvement from her network of brilliant educators and professional books. For her, teaching and parenting in Klein ISD is a privilege and vocation, so she shows her gratitude by serving with humble and selfless excellence.

“She is truly one of the most innovative teachers I've ever worked with before,” said Katie Steele, Benfer Elementary principal. “When she finds a problem, she comes to talk to me about it, and brings a solution. People go to her to find out more about innovative ways of teaching kids.”

At Benfer, Nale has led professional development, participated in several committees, launched an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring program, facilitated an ESL summer program, grown through Transformation Academy, served the English Language Learners (ELL) Guiding Coalition, and participated in the Strategic Planning Committee. Nale’s students are thriving because of her innovative mindset.

“She is the type of awesome teacher that teaches us what we need to be taught,” expressed Nale’s student, Whitley Colby. “She is nice and fun.”

Nale works with her students to see the bigger picture and how all the pieces fit together.

“I think one of the most important things I do for our kids is teach them to think about life, and I always tell them this is not about school, this is not about grades, this is not about a STAAR test, this is about life,” she said. “Everything that we do in our classroom, is preparing them to be successful adults in the future.”
Klein ISD Names Employees of the Year
Jun 01 2017 - 04:38:00 pm
KLEIN, TX – Klein ISD is excited to announce this year’s District Employees of the Year:

Clerical Employee of the Year: Neta McNabb
Klein Forest Principal Secretary Neta McNabb has been in Klein ISD for the last 16 years. McNabb is known for her flexibility, calm manner, and kind heart. McNabb has supported the school initiatives of three different principals in less than one full school year and has ensured a smooth transition. “McNabb is able to speak with parents and assists them in any way they need,” House Principal Nicholas Moore said. “She assists teachers, substitutes, and administrators with a variety of issues in addition to displaying the campus’ core values every day.”

Teacher’s Assistant of the Year: Alane Bryant
In the last 10 years of her employment with Klein ISD, Alane Bryant has been an active teacher’s assistant at both Schultz and her current campus Mueller. Bryant is responsible for monitoring students across the campus, delivers items to classrooms, afterschool daycare duty and jumping in when Mueller teachers need an extra hand. “Ms. Bryant knows her students so well. She makes sure on tough mornings that the girls get their hair fixed and that their outfits are just right,” Principal Pattie Holecek said. “She is always on the lookout for rewards that will inspire her students to work harder and use the skills they are learning to be the best students they can be.”

Professional Support Employee of the Year: Jessica Scheller
In addition to her job as the Librarian at Eiland Elementary, Jessica Scheller is a Klein Ambassador, co-sponsor for Name That Book and the Eiland Coding Club. She tutors students, currently serves on the Eiland Leadership Team and is a part of the C.I.D.C. Scheller has written and collaborated on a number of grants that provide additional learning opportunities for students including Bee-Bots to teach programming, sequencing, and problem solving, iPads for ease in looking up books, and furniture/technology to create a makerspace. “Jessica Scheller has opened up our hearts, minds, and countless possibilities for learning outside the box,” Eiland Assistant Principal Susan Bullock said. “She has fostered a love of literacy from our kindergarteners to near retirees. She truly is a gift to Eiland.”

Transportation Employee of the Year: Andrea Breedlove
Transportation Dispatcher Andrea Breedlove has been with Klein ISD for the last 20 years. Breedlove is known in the department for taking initiative when it comes to new projects, her student first attitude, in addition to problem-solving. “Mrs. Breedlove, all in one day; drove a bus load of students in the morning, located a replacement bus for an extra-curricular trip coach that was stranded and directed a new driver that was lost during an afternoon run with a bus load of students,” Transportation Supervisor David Hoffman said. “She did it all with grace and professionalism, and that new driver told her how much she saved her evening from becoming disastrous. She is truly an outstanding employee.”

Police Employee of the Year: Lori Havard
Security Specialist Lori Havard has been with the Klein ISD Police Department for the last eight years. Every year she organizes a toy drive for the Therapeutic Education Program, she is a co-wellness ambassador for the department and regularly fills in for crossing guards when needed. In addition to her daily duties, Havard volunteers to take on extra assignments such as taking photos at events for the Police Department, leads birthday recognitions and creates mementos for National Police Week. “It would probably be easier to list what she does not contribute to the Police Department,” Klein ISD Police Chief David Kimberly said. “Lori always goes above and beyond all aspects of her assignments with no expectations for recognition.”

Plant Ops Employee of the Year: Luz Navarro
Since joining Klein ISD four years ago, Luz Navarro ascended from a floater custodial position at central office to the current Head Custodian at French Elementary when it opened in 2015. “She represents Klein ISD and Plant Operations in an exemplary manner,” Supervisor Scott Lazar said. “She is hard working, always comes to work with a great attitude and a willingness to help others. She treats students, staff, and co-workers with the utmost respect at all times.” Navarro opens French Elementary every morning at 6:30, and is always ready and willing to volunteer where needed outside her normal work hours. During summers, Navarro efficiently cleans her home campus and volunteers to assist other campuses that may be behind due to construction/renovations and summer programs.

Maintenance Employee of the Year: Doug Kersh
Inspired by his mom, a longtime employee of Klein ISD, Doug Kersh has been a master electrician in the Klein ISD maintenance department for the last 16 years. Part of his projects include installing new charging stations and maintaining current electrical work. “Doug is always willing to take after hours calls and extra work when needed,” Supervisor August Wunderlich said. “He also regularly works to maintain his CEU training for his master electrician license in addition to helping other departments when needed.”

IT Employee of the Year: Richard Hamaker
Richard Hamaker is currently the Lead Technician at Klein Collins High School. Hamaker has been with the district for the last nine years and guides two regular technicians and a secretary at the Klein Collins repair center. “He is our unofficial trainer when we receive new 1:1 technicians,” Senior Executive Director of Technology, Research, Accountability and Data Vicki James said. “We know Richard will guide them into understanding not only our processes, and the technical piece of the program, but also how to appropriately interact with students and teachers.” Hamaker will open and be the Lead Technician for Klein Cain High School when it opens in August 2017.

Food Service Employee of the Year: Yayu Chen
Yayu Chen works at the Grace England Early Childhood Center to assist both students and teachers in new procedures and helps manage and train her co-workers when needed. Chen has been in the district for the last 16 years and had perfect attendance this school year. “When asked, Yayu doesn’t hesitate to fill in where needed,” Supervisor Monique William said. “Although she may not be scheduled for a certain task, she is always flexible and offers to help out when needed.” Chen is level 4 certified by the Texas Association of School Nutrition and continues to stand out among Food Service due to her continued dedication.

Substitute of the Year: Marilyn Clarkson
Marilyn Clarkson shares a variety of roles as a substitute in Klein ISD. She spends her time between the Communications and Planning Department and in the clinics of some of the Klein ISD Campuses. “Marilyn’s tenure in the district has expanded her knowledge of the district and workings on many individual campuses,” Education Foundation Director Cindy Doyle said. “She is willing to go the extra mile to assist parents, business partners and community members in finding answers to their questions and inquiries.” Clarkson has been in the district for 13 years and has contributed to superintendent’s advisory meetings, communications and planning events, community relations business partner programs, education foundation events and campus programs during her tenure as a sub.

Warehouse Employee of the Year: Sheila Chechowich
Secretary to the Director of Warehouse, Sheila Chechowich works to ensure the Klein ISD Warehouse runs efficiently and professionally. Chechowich is responsible for record maintenance, helping with print jobs, mail outs, assisting others and managing office duties. “Sheila has always supported the district and believes in doing what she can to help support campuses with what they need,” Director of Warehousing, Todd Schultz said. “Those in the district that have worked with Sheila are always happy to see her and appreciative of the help she provides them with.”
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