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District celebrates Teachers of the Year, service and retirees at annual celebration

Melissa Khoury, a third-grade teacher at Jennie Reid Elementary School, and Kacey Sommers, science teacher at Lomax Junior High School, were named the District Teachers of the Year at the May 29 La Porte ISD Service Awards celebration at La Porte ISD’s Bulldog Centre on the La Porte High School campus. Superintendent Lloyd W. Graham announced their selection following recognition of all LPISD Campus Teachers of the Year.

Pat Studdert of Buffalo Marine Service, Inc., former LPISD trustee and long-time friend of the district, presented each of the District Teachers of the Year with a check for $7,000 as well as tickets to a Houston Astros game.

The theme for the luncheon was “A Summertime Picnic.” Prior to the announcement of the District Teachers of the Year, principals escorted their respective Campus Teachers of the Year to the stage as brief bios on each were read.

Other elementary honorees and their respective schools include Meredith Halbardier, Bayshore; Angela Weldon, College Park; Cori Ripley, Heritage; Julie Spears, La Porte; Michael Peralez, Lomax Elementary; and Nicole Kendrick, Leo A. Rizzuto.  Secondary honorees are Ashley DeLong, James H. Baker Sixth Grade Campus; Kelli Juersivich, La Porte Junior High; Cindy Williams, Viola DeWalt High School; Nicole Manning, La Porte High School (Core Areas); and Lisa Boussattach, La Porte High School (Non-Core Areas).

Shelby Harris, fourth-grade teacher at Lomax Elementary School, was announced as the district’s Rookie Teacher of the Year. Carol Williams, principal of La Porte Elementary School, was honored as Principal of the Year.

Retiring employees were also recognized, as were staff members with long-time service to the district. This year’s retirees include Denise Barnes, Lomax Elementary; Cecilia Diaz, Lomax Elementary; Steven Farmer, La Porte High School; Peggy Fontenot, La Porte Elementary; Angela Garcia, La Porte Elementary; Larry Gerhart, Lomax Junior High; Mary Gonzalez, Leo A. Rizzuto Elementary; Robert Green, La Porte Junior High; Michael Hicks, La Porte High School; Mary Ivory, Transportation; and David Knowles, Administration.

Also retiring are Gary Lamb, Maintenance; Theresa Lavigne, Lomax Junior High; Karan Lee, La Porte High School; Pascual Mauricio, Maintenance; Karen Nester, La Porte Junior High; Steve Regan, La Porte High School; Deborah Risner, Lomax Elementary; Ruth Scott, College Park Elementary; Rotina Shephard, Maintenance; Linda Sims, Nutrition; Cindy Tilley, La Porte Junior High; Elizabeth Vela, La Porte Junior High; and James Washburn, Transportation.

Kerry Regan, teacher at La Porte High School, was recognized for 40 years of service, and Linda Alaniz of Nutrition, Celia Ramirez of Transportation, and Janice Richburg of Heritage Elementary were acknowledged for 35 years of service to the district.

Recognized for 30 years of service in LPISD were Denise Barnes, Lomax Elementary; Jose Cespedes, Transportation; Martha Merritt, La Porte High School; and Daniel Seibert, La Porte High School.

Twenty-five-year honorees include Jo Claire Hall, Viola DeWalt High School; Deborah Jarrell, Nutrition; Gina Ladd, Leo A. Rizzuto Elementary; Lori Siltman, La Porte Elementary; and Kathryn Weiss, Bayshore Elementary.

Recognized for 20 years of service were Laura Barker, La Porte High School; Natividad Bata, Transportation; Amalia Correa, Maintenance; Kimberly Culver, Communications; Wayne Drastata, Viola De Walt High School; Barbara Farmer, Viola De Walt High School; Melissa Free, College Park Elementary; Evelyn Freeman, Nutrition; Angela Garza-Viator, Human Resources; Delois George, Transportation; Mary Ivory, Transportation; Yalonda Joseph, College Park Elementary; Alan Lee, Transportation; Kelly Nelson, La Porte High School; Donna Rainey, Transportation; Nora Ramirez, Maintenance; Betsy Selby, Viola DeWalt High School; Carolyn Stratton, Business Office; Melissa Terrebonne, Lomax Junior High; and Grisel Wallace, Heritage Elementary.

Fifteen-year honorees were Alison Aldridge, La Porte Elementary; Eveline Bailey, La Porte High School; Merry Biaza, Lomax Junior High; Shelli Boren, Business Office; Renee Brillantes, Special Programs; Jessica Calandra, La Porte Elementary; Eulalia Calderon, Nutrition; Mamie Clipper, La Porte High School; Curtis Daugherty, James H. Baker Sixth Grade Campus; Kristina Edwards, La Porte Junior High; Jennifer Engels, La Porte Junior High; Isabel Fuentes, James H. Baker Sixth Grade Campus; Sheila Garner, Lomax Elementary; Dhalma Goins, Heritage Elementary; Cathie Hurkmans, La Porte High School; Jaime Licon, La Porte High School; Terry Nettles, Bayshore Elementary; Shawn Oliphint, La Porte Junior High; Martha Picazo, Nutrition; Kevin Poe, Lomax Junior High; Denise Pool, Lomax Elementary; Evelyn Rivas, Leo A. Rizzuto Elementary; Isabel Rivera, Maintenance; Elida Saenz, Maintenance; Irene Salinas, La Porte High School; Kathleen Scharchburg, La Porte High School; Veronique Thomas, Maintenance; Nancy Webb, Nutrition; and DonnaLee Zimmerman, Jennie Reid Elementary.

Area businesses and organizations generously contributed door prizes or made donations for the event.  Those who contributed to the success of the event were AAA Flexible Pipe Cleaning, Bay Forest Golf Course Pro Shop, Coca-Cola Corporation, Gateway, Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union, Here’s to You! Celebrations, Koch Pipeline Company, La Porte Education Foundation, Mod Pizza, Starbucks Coffee and Texas Stress, Inc.