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Klein News
Klein ISD Names Carol Koonts Elementary Teacher of the Year
May 29 2015 - 10:56:00 am

As a Klein Oak graduate, and having taught in with the district for 14 years, Carol Koonts has come full circle in Klein ISD.


“Having attended Klein schools, and now working in the district, I’ve had the opportunity to work with teachers that I had growing up,” said Koonts.


She reflects on how those teachers taught her so much in and out of the classroom and helped make her the person she is today. She loves that because of those relationships, she is now has the opportunity to give back to her students.


“She represents everything Krahn stands for,” said Krahn principal Frank Ward. “She is the kind of teacher that takes the time to get to know each and every student and she truly cares, not just for the kids and their academics, but also for our community.”


Koonts said, “When students come to the gym I want them to not only have an opportunity to move and learn about their bodies, but to be active and to have fun. I try to make sure each and every student is engaged and make sure they are having a good time.”


Koonts admits she was floored when she received this award and says that it is such an honor to represent the whole district. She takes great pride in getting to know her students. She enjoys working with her colleagues for the benefit of the students.


“Every day she is happy, is always greeting everyone and is a great role model,” said Krahn fifth grader Amy Edgar. “She is a great coach and really cares about us.”

Monica Shallenberger Named Klein ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year
May 26 2015 - 02:49:00 pm

Although she has only been teaching in Klein ISD for three years, Monica Shallenberger has done an incredible job not just as the Lady Bearkats volleyball coach but also as the Klein High School Path teacher.


“She has done an incredible job in the classroom building up our Path Program,” said Klein High principal, Larry Whitehead. “Her relationship with the students is terrific and her rapport with parents speaks volumes.”


Shallenberger spent her first year at Klein High School as an English teacher and started teaching the Path Program last year. In its first year, the class had 60 students and now in its second year, three additional classes were created to accommodate the 175 students enrolled in the program. She was also instrumental in writing curriculum for the courses.


“It’s been an exhausting process but it’s so exciting to see it come about,” said Shallenberger. “The information in this class is invaluable to these students. It provides them with life skills that will help them wherever their futures may take them.”


She admits that she has always known she wanted to be a teacher. She began teaching her dolls as a child and the older she got the more she realized teaching was the profession for her. Shallenberger enjoys working with teenager. She loves being able to teach life lessons through her classroom planning and loves the relationships she is able to build with her students, peers and the parents.


“She is not just a teacher,” said student Allison Pawelka. “As a coach, I admire her. She is very compassionate and always willing to offer a lesson not just in the classroom but also on the volleyball court.”


“This is humbling and exciting,” said Shallenberger. “You don’t get into this type of service profession to get this type of recognition, but to have been given this award, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.”


Shallenberger is recognized as a go-getter, full of energy and always on the move. She is involved in many things at Klein High School and is always available to offer a smile and positive attitude. She enjoys the family feel that Klein ISD has and admits that although she did not graduate from the district, the pride and passion is a little contagious.

Charlotte Thomas Named District’s Associate Principal of the Year
May 22 2015 - 10:59:00 am

Confident, thoughtful, loving, kind, and passionate are five words used to describe Haude Elementary Associate Principal Charlotte Thomas. Thomas was named the Klein ISD’s Associate Principal of the Year, for the 2014-15 school year.


Thomas is a 34-year veteran in the district having begun her career as a first grade teacher at Brill. After 25 years of teaching she moved to Haude to become the associate principal.


“I wanted to become an administrator because I felt like it was time to spread my wings in education,” said Thomas. “It’s an incredible privilege to see students accomplishing their goals and achieving their dreams.”


Thomas once told her colleagues that she never wants to forget what it is like to be in the classroom. She enjoys observing classrooms and seeing the students engaged in learning and how the different teaching styles allow the students to grow.


“We all have the heart to want our students to achieve their goals and to become successful,” she said. “Haude has a fabulous staff and we all believe in endless possibilities for our students.”


Thomas is recognized by her staff as being their administrator, but also as their friend. The smile she is always wearing and her “gung-ho” attitude are contagious and prove that she is an encourager and a joy to be around.

“I think this is awesome. Mrs. Thomas is well-deserving of this award,” said Erica Coleman, fourth grade teacher at Haude. “When I was new to Haude and new to the district, she was so welcoming. I could feel it every time I walked into the building.”


Haude Principal Rachel Wall admits that filling out the nomination for Mrs. Thomas was easy.


“She exemplifies what an associate principal should be,” Wall said. “She’s not only an instructional leader, but she’s supportive, a joy to be around, and she’s the type you want in your building keeping everyone positive.”


After 34 years in the district, Thomas says she has enjoyed every minute of working with the staff, the students, the parents, and the community.


“I am humbled, grateful and thankful for this opportunity that Klein ISD has given me to be a leader,” Thomas said
Klein ISD Names Superintendent Initiative Award Winners
May 20 2015 - 10:44:00 am

Klein ISD is excited to announce this year’s Superintendent’s Initiative Award winners. Klein Superintendent Dr. Jim Cain recognizes employees who have made a significant difference with programs or services that either enhance student learning or highlight programs in the Klein ISD beyond their job description. This year’s Superintendent’s Initiative Award winners are:


Jody Simpson:

As the Program Director of the Klein Therapeutic Education Program (TEP) for the last 11 years, Jody Simpson has shown extraordinary dedication to educating her students. In particular, Simpson has devoted her efforts to raising funds to benefit the students particularly during the holiday season. Through her coordination of an annual golf tournament and the TEP Open House, where students have the opportunity to show off their school, the skills they have learned and their talents, Simpson has been able to raise funds to help provide holiday gifts to the students who would not otherwise have a celebration. Her efforts assist students to become skillful, reflective, self-disciplined, and honorable members of society by providing needed instruction in interpersonal skills, classroom behaviors that promote learning, and problem solving skills that lead to reduction of aggressive behaviors. Simpson’s self-starter attitude has allowed her to create an environment in which students are able to gain knowledge that empowers them for a better future. Overall, she has created a program where students feel welcome, safe, and accepted.


Steve Baird:

Under the leadership of Steve Baird, the Wunderlich Farm and Living History Museum has evolved into one of the happiest places on earth. Baird has worked tirelessly to encourage the community to experience the farm through monthly Farmers Markets, Christmas celebrations, a spring Heritage Day, and tours. He has allowed the farm to become a truly living history museum by donating much of his personal time to caring for the many live animals that live on the farm. Since taking over as the district’s Living History Educator, Baird has increased in the number of financial and artifact donations. He also has created an online artifact documentation program. When you consider how much of our history is lost to growth and change, the Historical Foundation is providing an important service to the community and future generations. His energy, vision, and leadership are critical to preserving our history. The wonderland that he is creating at Wunderlich Farm encourages community members to be involved and to contribute.

Bob Blanton has Klein High Music Center Named in His Honor
May 19 2015 - 04:03:00 pm
KLEIN, TX – Former Klein ISD director of fine arts, Bob Blanton, was honored on Thursday, May 14, 2015, with the dedication of the music center located at newly constructed Klein High School.

“I’m overwhelmed, I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming,” expressed Blanton. “It was a rewarding time in my life and it was an honor and privilege for me to work here as teacher and administrator.”

Under Blanton’s direction, the Klein High School band earned the first UIL “Superior” rating in the school’s history. When the district began to grow, Bob moved to the newly constructed Klein Forest campus to start its band program.

“The arrival of Bob Blanton in 1974, ushered in the modern fine arts to Klein and I appreciate the 23 years he gave to our district.” stated Klein ISD superintendent, Dr. Jim Cain. “Because of his ability and dedication, Klein ISD was able to attract the best and brightest teachers and his legacy lives on today.” 

Until his retirement in 2007, he held the position of Klein ISD director of fine arts. During this time, he established vocal and string music programs in elementary and intermediate schools and acquired an enviable record of achievement that gained state-wide attention for the district in UIL and invitational competitions.

Blanton is largely responsible for the development of the Klein ISD’s fine arts curriculum. His leadership has influenced exemplary programs which continue to enrich the talents and abilities of students at all campuses. 

“He instilled a tremendous legacy of excellence and left an imprint through the people he hired in Klein,” said Klein ISD director of fine arts, Monte Mast. “He set everything in motion, from the music program, to the drama program, to the visual arts program. Along with this, he established a high standard of excellence that the Klein ISD is known for across our state and nation. We are very thankful for his service.”

Zwink Elementary Named 2015 National School of Character
May 18 2015 - 02:13:00 pm

First Klein ISD School to receive this award

KLEIN, TX –, a national leader for the character-education movement, has named Zwink Elementary a 2015 National School of Character. Zwink is the only elementary school in Texas to be designated as a National School of Character this year and will hold this distinction for five years.

The Schools of Character program, which named 63 other schools across the nation as National Schools of Character this year, recognizes schools and districts that have demonstrated, through a detailed evaluation process, that character education has had a positive impact on academics, student behavior, and school climate.

As a district, Klein ISD has made character education a priority in every classroom. This award is proof the approach is working.

“Being named a National School of Character is the culmination of all the efforts of our Zwink team to live and lead our core values,” said Jenny McGown, Zwink principal. “It is the celebration of our educators’ commitment to prioritizing character education over all things. It is the acknowledgement of our students’ service learning and leadership in our community. As the principal of this amazing school, no other honor could make me more proud!”

Since the Schools of Character program’s inception in 1998, 312 schools and 21 districts have been National Schools of Character impacting more than 1.5 million students.

“Each of the schools and districts designated as 2015 National School of Character has done a tremendous job linking ‘smart and good’ programs to so many youth; enriching students’ lives across the USA,” said Becky Sipos,’s President & CEO. “Being designated a National School of Character recognizes the hard work that these schools put in to developing strong character education programs. They have created caring school climates and prepare students to be future leaders who care about their communities. We are very proud of all of this year’s honorees.”

Since being named a National School of Character Finalist in March, Zwink underwent an intensive screening process that included a full-day site visit to the school by the national office and an analysis of the impact their character-related efforts had on academics, student behavior, and school culture.

This prestigious recognition honors Zwink’s collaborative community of educators, students, and parents and their efforts to build a positive school culture thatexemplifies Zwink’s Core Values.

Zwink will be honored along with the other newly-designated schools and districts at the 22nd National Forum on Character Education in October in Atlanta, Georgia.
District Names Loraine Lambert Elementary Principal of the Year
May 18 2015 - 02:13:00 pm

After her husband retired from the United States Air Force, Dr. Loraine Lambert and her family decided to move to Klein based on researching the school district and the local community. 21 years later, she has been named the district’s Elementary Principal of the Year.


“At that time we had three children ready to enter high school,” said Lambert. “Klein ISD had a very strong academic history and the high schools offered many extra-curricular activities for students. In addition, we were very impressed with the community in that they honored the history while continuing to build strong connections with the current community.”


Lambert started teaching at Roth Elementary under the leadership of Betty Dodd who recommended she go into administration. Just a few years later she became the assistant principal at Schultz Elementary and in 2006 was named the principal at Benfer Elementary where she retired in 2015.


“The most exciting part about being the principal at Benfer was the amazing quality of teachers that are not only knowledgeable about the curriculum but are dedicated to the students and willing to share, work and plan together,” said Lambert.


Among her fondest memories at Benfer is the time a fifth grade class tried to teach her to line dance and the number of first graders who wanted to show her where they had lost a tooth.


“Teaching is a very rewarding profession and being an administrator you are able to have little windows into the classroom experience,” she said. “To see the students and teachers so excited about learning, and to have teachers who see beyond a student’s struggle and help them reach their potential, are some of my greatest memories,” she expressed.


“I was hoping that Dr. Lambert would receive this honor,” said Katie Steele, current Benfer principal. “I’ve seen how well she works with anyone at any job and I can’t tell you how proud I am to get to sit in this desk now and work with a staff that she has done such a good job of creating and the wonderful culture here at Benfer,” she added.


“Receiving this honor was so surprising and I’ve learned so much,” Lambert stated. “To be nominated by my peers, because I know the level of quality in the room, is truly humbling.”

K.E. Kaufman Named Secondary Principal of the Year
May 14 2015 - 03:52:00 pm

Like clockwork, a former student at the Klein ISD Alternative Education Center calls his former principal K.E. Kaufman every year to see how he is doing and to say thanks. It’s this amount of respect for such a great leader that led Klein ISD to select K.E. Kaufman as the District Secondary Teacher of the Year.


Kaufman has been with Klein ISD for 39 years, 22 of those as the Director and Principal at the Klein ISD Alternative Education Center where he believes that if you can help at least one student, then it makes it all alright.


“I played a lot of team sports in high school and I think that when you play sports, you learn to do things as a team,” said Kaufman. “Education is teamwork and that’s what makes it so interesting.”


When chosen to create the district’s alternative education program, Kaufman visited other districts, took their good ideas and opened the Klein ISD Alternative Education Center in the spring of 1993. The goal of the program is to provide instruction of curriculum that includes the same essential elements as instruction at the student’s home campus, with a personal touch.”


Kaufman’s favorite part of his job is being able to add personnel based on the needs of the students. Administrators work hard to try and find out what is going on with the student, at home or in their personal life, and learn why they made poor choices. Some of the staff at the program includes case managers, counselors, psychologists and community youth specialists to help work with students to find out the true issue.

“Having this type of staff lets students know we care and that we are here. We try to be as compassionate as we can but also as fair and consistent as we can,” said Kaufman. “The other end of the spectrum is they have the opportunity to raise their grades 10-20 points while they are here.”


He says that winning this type of award is truly a humbling experience. Being able to work with this program is what has made him stay in Klein ISD for so long. He said that having his peers choose him as someone they respect has made him a better person. He acknowledges and recognizes all of his colleagues and administrators over the years and appreciates how each one has had an impact on him, even his first principal at Hildebrandt who is now a substitute at his school.


“It’s all about choices,” he said. “We have good kids that have made some not so good choices. That’s all it is,” Kaufman expressed. “We want this to be the best eight hours of their day.”

Voters Say Yes to Klein ISD Bond for $498.1 Million
May 13 2015 - 03:52:00 pm

KLEIN, TX – On May 9, 2015, the entire Klein ISD community demonstrated its unity for future-ready students, as residents voted yes to the $498.1 million detailed in the 2015 Bond Blueprint.

“We are sincerely thankful for the outpouring of support that we received across the district,” expressed Dr. Jim Cain, Klein ISD superintendent. “Everyone, all of our students, residents and staff are now in a place to benefit from this bond over the next five years. This is an exciting time in our community.”

In Jan. 2015, the Board of Trustees approved the final Bond Blueprint and called for a bond referendum for May of 2015. This Blueprint was targeted to assist with items across the Klein ISD which include: land purchases, new facilities, repairs and renovations on existing facilities, technology equipment, buses, and safety and security equipment.

“I am quite pleased with both the Klein ISD administration and dedicated community members who worked so diligently bringing this bond initiative to fruition,” stated Steven E. Smith, Klein ISD Board of Trustees president. “This is a solid bond package which addresses growth, renovations, and repairs in its entirety for the district. As a member of this great community, it was exciting and reassuring to see firsthand the support for our children.”

The overall total number of ballots cast included 4,571 for and 1,462 against. More than 3,100 residents voted early which included 2,490 for and 697 against. On Election Day, 2,846 residents voted at one of the 21 polling locations across the district. This turnout and support is due in part to the information available about the bond and the tireless work of the Political Action Committee (PAC), Citizens for Klein Kids.

“It was my privilege to participate as a member and co-chair on the Bond Steering Committee, which met over a four-month period at the end of 2014,” stated Dr. Nancy Reeves Radcliffe, Citizens for Klein Kids co-chairperson. “During this period I, along with 120-community members, had the chance to receive and study in-depth information about the needs of our district. After the bond election was called by the board of trustees, a group of citizens formed the PAC, so we could connect with our community and share why this bond is important. We are grateful for the response from the voters and are proud that so many people came together to support our students and families.”

Work will begin rapidly on several items approved in the 2015 Bond Blueprint, such as transportation purchases and the partial funding for High School #5 located on Spring Cypress Road and Cutten Road.

“Partial funds from the 2008 Bond are earmarked for the construction of High School #5,” stated Dr. Cain. “Now that the 2015 Bond Blueprint passed, the remaining funds needed will assist in the completion of that campus. If you currently drive by Spring Cypress Road next to Ulrich, you will see ground leveling work is currently taking place to prepare for the construction of the school. This ground work was a sound decision if the bond passed or not, due to the fact that the work was done at a less-expensive rate based on future development. The district plans to open High School #5 in the fall of 2017.”

As more families and businesses continue to join the Klein community, the 2015 Bond Blueprint is set to assist with growth and development over the next five years. A timeline for other construction and renovations related to the 2015 Bond Blueprint will soon be made available on the district’s website. For more details on what each campus is set to receive from the 2015 Bond Blueprint, visit
Klein ISD Names 2014 - 15 Employees of the Year
May 12 2015 - 10:14:00 am

Klein ISD is excited to announce this year’s District Employees of the Year:


Clerical Employee of the Year: Silvia Trevino

Silvia Trevino is the first person to greet you when you enter Eiland Elementary. For six years she has shown dedication to the children, teachers, and families in her community and is always eager to promote Klein ISD and its many positive aspects. She is always cheerful and eager to provide assistance with a smile whether it be helping administrators meet a deadline, translating for parents, or answering questions for teachers. Trevino is known as the heartbeat of her school and is loved and respected by all.


Teacher Assistant Employee of the Year: Keisha Candiff

Keisha Candiff has proven she is full of valuable ideas by creating many ‘extra-value programs’ at Metlze Elementary to help benefit students. Her communication skills and recognition of student and teacher needs has allowed her to turn challenges into advantages. She spends her time attending and assisting with events, mentoring students, and volunteering with the Destination Imagination team. Candiff has worked hard to build relationships with the Metzler staff, students and parents and always goes above and beyond to help the campus be its best.


Professional Support Employee of the Year: Laurie Combe

Laurie Combe is currently the Health Services Coordinator and has been with the district for 22 years. You can see her passion for the district and its students when you look at all the things she has accomplished. Over the years, she has initiated many programs that add immeasurable value to the district, students, parents, staff, and the community. She has provided professional development opportunities, has developed information materials in multiple languages to best communicate with our community, and much more. She is truly a dedicated professional and is held in high regard by her peers.


Transportation Employee of the Year: Susan Kersten

Bus driver Susan Kersten is known for going above and beyond for her students and their parents. At the beginning of the school year, she takes the time to contact her student’s parents and build a relationship with each of them. She also attends the open house for each of the campuses that she is assigned as a driver. Kersten is the first to step up and volunteer whenever help is needed and is a great role model for her students and her peers. She has worked for Klein ISD for 25 years and has many years of perfect attendance.


Police Employee of the Year: Luis Moscoso

Luis Moscoso supervises 125 employees that fill school crossing guard positions for the entire district. He does this with minimal assistance or guidance, and having only been with the district for two years, has managed to immediately grasp the concept of the job. His personality makes it easy to be a liaison with school employees and administration, other police officers, parents, and outside law enforcement agencies.


Plant Ops Employee of the Year: Dong Nguyen

Dong Nguyen has worked for Klein ISD as a custodian for 32 years. He takes great pride in his school and is highly respected by everyone he comes in contact with, which was evident when Nitsch threw Nguyen a 65th birthday party. He even volunteers to work late or on weekends to maintain the school’s garden. He is always ready to assist with any task and will outwork anyone. He is the definition of a team player.


Maintenance Employee of the Year: Aurelio Hernandez - Manual Trades

Aurelio Hernandez takes pride in his job each and every day and is always willing to go the extra mile to take care of irrigation systems for the district. He specifically works on irrigation systems at schools and in their gardens as well as the athletic fields. He is always eager to lend a helping hand on larger projects like a water main break. He is recognized as a model employee and exemplifies a great work ethic.


IT Employee of the Year: Jon Alexander

Having been with the district for 18 years, Jon Alexander has worn many hats and is always going above and beyond what is required. He has been known to volunteer much of his time to work outside of scheduled hours maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing district resources such as fire alarms, public announcement systems, scoreboards, small electronics, and microphones. Alexander is a dedicated professional who truly enjoys what he does and without hesitation, will do whatever he can to resolve any problems.


Food Service Employee of the Year: Teri Bellville - Krimmel

Not only has she had perfect attendance for the past five years, but Teri Bellville is known for exceeding expectations. She is eager to help others complete assignments, fill in when needed, help train staff, and voluntarily completes continuing education courses. She is an active member of the Klein Association for School Nutrition and volunteers her time at events each year. She is a great example to others in her kitchen and is excelling in her new position as Food Service Clerk. She is always friendly and her quality of work shows that she enjoys her job.

Klein ISD Student and Teacher Chosen to Lead Research Expedition with JASON Learning Science Program
May 05 2015 - 02:43:00 pm

This summer will present a learning adventure of a lifetime for eighth grade student Noelle Newton and science teacher Kylie Hale. They have been selected to study with a team of prestigious scientists as part of a hands-on science expedition in the Bahamas. 


Exploring underwater ecosystems, caves, underground tunnels, and tagging wild marine species are some of the research experiments that Newton, who attends Krimmel Intermediate, and Hale, who teaches at Ulrich Intermediate, will experience this July as part of the JASON Learning curriculum. JASON was created to engage students in scientific exploration through an active learning environment.


Newton and Hale were selected through a competitive application process. Their work on the expedition is designed to help students learn how scientific research can be applied in real-world settings, how to identify invasive species and their impact on the environment, and the importance of marine life conservation.


Every day will be an adventure during the expedition at the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Newton and Hale, along with 30 other student and teacher Argonauts, will spend their days on exciting outdoor excursions such as cliff jumping into the Atlantic, joining interactive field educational lessons, exploring the wide range of the island’s scenic bodies of water, and documenting their experience on blogs and social media for other students in the community to follow.


“This expedition is more than a unique field trip opportunity for these students and teachers, it is a program to inspire them to become ambassadors of STEM in their own school communities,” said Klein ISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Cain. “They will return home and become role models for others, with the hope that all students and teachers will aspire to be an Argonaut.”

In the Houston area, 11 teams of student and teacher Argonauts are joining JASON Learning as part of a collaborative public-private partnership underwritten by Chevron. The partnership is looking to help the metropolitan community develop a sustainable and systematic solution to address the need for high-quality, effective science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected to participate in this rich, hands-on experience alongside world-class scientists,” said Adam Hile, Klein ISD Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  “This student and teacher will return from their journey to serve as mentors and bring home the idea that STEM is fun and exciting. Hopefully, they become the rock stars of their schools.”


“Our Argonaut Program connects students and educators with real scientists to teach and inspire a love of exploration and inquiry, promote self-confidence, and develop leadership skills,” said Dr. Eleanor Smalley, President of JASON Learning. “Thanks to Chevron’s vision, the Houston area is developing new ways of teaching and learning in STEM and JASON is happy to be part of that model.”


Since 1990, JASON’s National Argonaut Program has provided hands-on, scientific field work to over 460 students and educators worldwide, many of whom have gone on to pursue degrees and careers in STEM fields.


JASON provides multimedia curricular experiences for K–12 students and corresponding professional development for educators in a wide variety of formal and informal educational environments. In independent evaluations across the country, JASON Learning has been shown to increase student interest, motivation, and achievement in STEM, increase student interest in and knowledge about careers in STEM, and increase educators’ science content knowledge, confidence, and ability to teach science effectively. Reaching over 2 million students annually, JASON’s programs are used in all 50 states and in more than 170 countries.

Chevron is proud to invest in JASON Learning, which is our flagship Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program in Houston," said Joni Baird, Chevron public affairs manager. “The program connects students with real science and exploration to inspire and motivate them to study and pursue STEM careers and with the number of STEM jobs continuing to grow in Houston, creating a strong STEM foundation in our public schools is critical to U.S. global competitiveness, to our ability to create good jobs and to the overall economic strength of our great community."  


About JASON Learning

JASON Learning is an independent 501(c)(3) organization. Named for the mythological Greek explorer, JASON is a nationally acclaimed, exploration-based program that links students—inside the classroom and out—to real science and scientists through technology-intensive, inquiry-based curricular experiences. Learn more at

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