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Aledo ISD Teachers and Employees of the Year honored

May 3, 2021


The Aledo ISD kicked off Teacher Appreciation Week by honoring nine employees on Monday, May 3, with special awards. Instead of the typical Marva Collins Teacher of the Year banquet, the district surprised these employees while broadcasting live on Facebook due to COVID-19 protocols. Six additional employees will be surprised on Tuesday, May 4, via Facebook Live.


Congratulations to these outstanding employees!

Amber Wheeler AHSMarva Collins Aledo ISD Teacher of the Year

Recipient: Amber Wheeler, Aledo High School English teacher
Prize: $10,000
Donated by: Reilly Foundation

Mrs. Wheeler's mission is to ensure high levels of learning for all students. She has a deep understanding of how to ensure success of all students, no matter what level they are on. She does this by looking at what support and differentiation her students need. She credits her success as a teacher to having structure and consistency along with humor and empathy.



Katelyn Smith, AHSMarva Collins Secondary Teacher of the Year

Recipient: Katelyn Smith, Aledo High School English teacher
Prize: $2,500
Donated by: PBS of Texas

One of Ms. Smith's strengths is her preparation and planning. She believes this creates a productive learning environment where students know what standards she's teaching and have clear expectations for the day on what they will learn and what will be accomplished.



Liz Shiflett, McAnally Marva Collins Intermediate Teacher of the Year

Recipient: Liz Shiflett, McAnally Intermediate math teacher
Prize: $2,500
Donated by: Hardick Family

All in the name of math, Mrs. Shiflett works to create a fun, safe learning environment. Part of that results in "mini concerts" where she allows students to pick a song to play (where she may very well sing along!) at the end of class if they get through their lessons in a timely manner. Students are also quite fond of her math songs that help them remember steps to math problems and more.



Jessica Hull, VandagriffMarva Collins Elementary Teacher of the Year

Recipient: Jessica Hull, Vandagriff Elementary fourth-grade teacher
Prize: $2,500
Donated by: First Financial Bank

Ms. Hull is focused on not only the academic success of her students but also their emotional well-being. She lives the phrase, "Know your students and you can grow your students." She has created a safe learning environment that supports all of her students. She also shares her ideas and experiences with fellow Vandagriff staff members and employees from throughout the district.



Jessica Boyer, VandagriffMarva Collins Beginning Teacher of the Year

Recipient: Jessica Boyer, Vandagriff Elementary fifth-grade math and science teacher
Prize: $2,500
Donated by: Walsh Family

Ms. Boyer had her "aha" teaching moment earlier this year when she realized that often when she asked her students why they were learning something, they said it was for "when they got older." As Ms. Boyer worked on relevance in her instruction, she realized she needed to make that connection for them in the moment, not in the future. Once she made this change, she said student engagement increased and students took more ownership in their learning.



Kyle Christensen, AHSDan Manning Innovative Dedicated Educator Award (IDEA)

Recipient: Kyle Christensen, Aledo High School
Prize: $2,500
Donated by: Dan Manning Endowment

Kyle Christensen's engineering students were challenged this year to come up with a solution to a simple COVID-19 problem: washing hands and not spreading germs. Mr. Christensen's students created touchless hand sanitizer stations for the campus, using computer-aided drawing, building prototypes and testing their final products in order to build their stations.



Debbie Bennett, McCallMarsha Miholovich Professional Support Award

Recipient: Debbie Bennett, McCall Elementary librarian
Prize: $2,500
Donated by: Don R. Daniel Endowment

After studying the correlation between home libraries and academic success, Ms. Bennett came up with the idea to fill weekly Snack Packs that were prepared and donated by local churches to Aledo ISD students with books in addition to food. That has resulted in hundreds of books being sent home with students to build their own home library. Ms. Bennett's idea was picked up by Scholastic Book Fair representatives and has now been shared with districts across the state.



Holly Elgin, Walsh ElementaryAledo ISD Principal of the Year

Recipient: Holly Elgin, Walsh Elementary
Prize: $2,500
Donated by: Anonymous donation

Ms. Elgin has a focus on leadership development and continuously improving and growing as a leader. She was one of 62 school leaders from across Texas selected in the 2020 cohort of educators to attend summer institutes as the Principals' Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.



Loryn Windwehen, AHSAledo ISD Assistant Principal of the Year

Recipient: Loryn Windwehen, Aledo High School
Prize: $2,500
Donated by: Anonymous donation

Ms. Windwehen is a champion for kids who puts students at the center of every decision she makes. She joined the Aledo ISD mid-pandemic and has jumped in to do whatever it takes to help keep students and staff learning every day. She is committed to helping staff members grow through her coaching and support.



Daniela Torres, AHSChild Nutrition Employee of the Year

Recipient: Daniela Torres, Aledo High School
Prize: $1,000
Donated by: The Hardick Family/Moritz

Daniela Torres' favorite part of the day is seeing her students excited to walk into the cafeteria where she keeps up with their successes and celebrates their accomplishments with them. Daniela remembers the smiles and warm greetings she always got as a child when she walked into her school cafeteria, so she wants to be that friendly smile when Aledo High School students come into the cafeteria.



Robert Stover, maintenanceMaintenance Employee of the Year

Recipient: Robert Stover
Prize: $1,000
Donated by: Satterfield and Pontikes Construction

Robert Stover is a dependable, conscientious employee who is a great teammate. Even though he's an HVAC tech for the district, he can be seen doing whatever work is asked of him. He was an instrumental part of the maintenance team that worked so hard to get students back into our buildings to learn after the winter snowstorm earlier this year. He's a willing learner who is also willing to help others whenever they need assistance.



Pam Christiansen, McCallParaprofessional of the Year

Recipient: Pam Christensen, McCall Elementary
Prize: $1,000
Donated by: The Hardick Family/Moritz

As a PEIMS clerk, Pam Christansen helps new Bearcat families when they first arrive on campus, greeting them, getting students registered and making them feel welcome. Pam has made it a goal to stay current in a position that is ever changing by attending workshops and training sessions to learn new programs and technology.



John Coffey, McAnallyPolice Officer of the Year

Recipient: John Coffey, McAnally Intermediate
Prize: $1,000
Donated by: Morningstar Development

Officer Coffey works hard to keep students safe and to build trust with them. He works every lunch every single day to be around students and build relationships and trust. He also volunteers to help with anything on campus needed - staff members often don't even have to ask.



Vince Matej, TechnologyTechnology Employee of the Year

Recipient: Vince Matej
Prize: $1,000
Donated by: VLK Architects

Vince works tirelessly to take care of the students and staff of Aledo ISD and he is always appreciated by his colleagues. He's been an integral part of AISD having remote learning and distributing thousands of devices for students to use for learning.



Lisa Reece, transportationTransportation Employee of the Year

Recipient: Lisa Reece
Prize: $1,000
Donated by: Satterfield and Pontikes Construction

Lisa remembers growing up in Aledo and being dropped off at the bus barn by her parents some mornings when they had to be at work early. She knew all of the drivers and many of the routes. She's taken that childhood experience and become an integral part of the AISD transportation department, getting to know her students on routes while also taking on leadership roles within the department to help things run smoothly.