|Deer Park ISD|
Evidence of Excellence
Reginald “Reggie” Knowles, longtime Deer Park ISD School Trustee and community member, passed away on Monday, May 8. Knowles was elected to serve in Position No. 5 on the Board from 1975-1993. He also served in each office of the Board, including three terms as Board president, and was the Board’s representative to the Texas Association of School Boards. In 1995, the Deer Park High School-South Campus library was named in his honor.
Knowles served in the air force during World War II and moved to the Deer Park area in the mid-1950s. He and his wife, Frances, raised two children, both of whom graduated from Deer Park High School. He retired from the Shell Deer Park Manufacturing Complex.
During his 18 years on the Board, Knowles was a strong supporter of student activities and could often be seen enjoying fine arts performances and athletic events.
Retired trustee Donna Thomas first worked with Knowles on the Deer Park Public Library board before spending a year on the school board with him. “I remember him fondly as being dedicated to his responsibilities and the voice of reason,” she said.
His was a strong individual presence on the Board, and Knowles focused on being an unbiased representative for all DPISD students. “You have to represent all schools---the system as a whole---and not play one against the other,” he once said. “You get into the politics of the School Board, and the objective should be to ensure the education of children.”
Knowles also had a love and respect for Deer Park history. When the portico entrance to the original DPHS campus (located near the corner of Fifth Street and Ivy Avenue in Deer Park) was scheduled for removal, it was Knowles who suggested that the stone deer heads on the portico be saved and repurposed. The deer heads were later used as part of the brick sign that remains in front of what is now DPHS-Wolters Campus.
Even after he retired from the Board, Knowles continued to support the District by attending student performances and paying for campus and District administrators to attend the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce’s annual Salute to Industry luncheon.
Funeral services will take place in Louisiana, but a Deer Park memorial service will be scheduled soon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the Deer Park Education Foundation by clicking the following link:
The Fairmont Junior High Theatre Department will present two performances of its spring production, Peter and the Star Catcher, this weekend. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 19, and at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, in the FJH cafeteria. Tickets are $5 each for students and $8 each for adults and can be purchased in the FJH office before or after school this week or at the door on Friday and Saturday evening.
FJH Theatre Teacher Sarah Kouba said she can’t wait to see how audiences will respond to the production. “Students have been working around the clock since March to put this fun play together,” she said.
The talented students in Chef Reggie Vincent’s Culinary Arts Class at Deer Park High School have won the chance to compete in the national cooking competition on July 3 in Nashville, TN. The Deer Park Communications team had a chance to visit and watch Christian, Ivan and Lorenzo create a dish from their last competition. They spoke to us about the class, the competition, and team work. Good luck to the team at nationals!
Deer Park ISD recently recognized several teachers and support employees as District representatives in their respective areas.
Education Support Professional of the Year
Parkwood Elementary Attendance Clerk Joan Arenas was selected as the District’s 2017-18 Education Support Professional of the Year. Employees considered for this award include representatives from departments such as transportation, technology, maintenance and operations, child nutrition, custodial, clerical, and more.
Arenas said the announcement came as a complete surprise. “When I heard my name, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was so shocked and turned to look around the table to see if my ears heard right! I feel very happy and proud to be ESPOTY, especially for such a great District. But at the same time, I do feel a bit nervous maybe because I feel like I have to live up to the title!”
School Board President Lee Giddens and Superintendent Victor White congratulate Joan Arenas.
Elementary Teacher of the Year
Carpenter Elementary Campus Technology Integration Specialist Terri Armendariz was named DPISD Elementary Teacher of the Year for 2017-18. Armendariz said she feels honored to be chosen to represent elementary teachers across the District. “I am also very humbled because I work with so many truly talented people who have helped me become what I am now,” she said. “I hope that I can make them proud.”
Giddens and White present an award to Elementary Teacher of the Year Terri Armendariz.
Secondary Teacher of the Year
Sarah Kouba, a theatre teacher at Fairmont Junior High, was named the District’s 2017-18 Secondary Teacher of the Year.
Kouba echoed Armendariz’s comments, noting the honor of being recognized to represent her coworkers and crediting her husband and students for inspiration. “My husband (Bonnette Junior High teacher Justin Kouba) encourages me to be a better teacher every day,” she explained. “Next, my students! They are energetic, positive, and ready for any challenge thrown their way. They are rock stars!”
Sarah Kouba, Secondary Teacher of the Year, receives an award from Giddens and White.
Each year, campuses and departments in the District name a candidate for District Education Support Professional of the Year. A committee selects two finalists, conducts interviews with the finalists, and chooses a District winner. A similar process is followed for Teacher of the Year, with four finalists being chosen at the District level and two winners (one elementary and one secondary) named to represent the District. The District Teacher of the Year winners represent Deer Park in the regional competition.
Deer Park High School dance teacher and Deer Escorts Director Kristi Morrison was announced as the first recipient of the Shelly Childers First Year Teacher Award, which was named for the late Shelly Childers, a longtime DPISD teacher and administrator who had a heart for mentoring new educators.
Kristi Morrison receives the Shelly Childers First Year Teacher of the Year award from Giddens and White.
Morrison’s passion and high expectations for her students were strong factors that contributed to her receiving the award. “The number one lesson I hope that students take away from my class is knowing that they matter in this world,” she said. “I want my students to feel ready to face any challenge in life and know that they can conquer any fear that stands in their way.”
Congratulations to these outstanding DPISD employees!
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