FOR THIS MONTH’S FAMILY ISSUE, LOCAL HOUSTON ASKED READERS TO SUBMIT NOMINATIONS FOR THEIR FAVORITE TEACHERS. RESPONSES CAME FROM FAR AND WIDE, WITH INSPIRING STORIES, WARM MEMORIES AND COMPELLING REASONS TO HONOR THE FOLLOWING EDUCATORS AS SOME OF THE BEST AROUND.
“Mr. Eugenio Kettelsen (8th grade) is an amazing teacher, great motivator and an excellent coach. He is skilled and has great techniques. I would highly recommend him for anyone beginning this sport to skilled players wanting to improve and advance to the next level. He is always on time and reliable. You can count on him!”
— Maryam Anderson
“I’d like to share my experience with my son’s tennis teacher, Eugenio Kettelsen. Eugenio runs ETalent Prestige Tennis at local tennis courts in Houston and gives private and group lessons. In a relatively short period of time, Eugenio has improved my son’s tennis game as well as his general fitness level and self-confidence. Mr. Kettelsen is patient and caring and the results have been tangible. I’m writing this email to help spread the word about Eugenio Kettelsen if any of your readers are looking for a good value, experienced and helpful tennis instructor.”
— Ted Sprigg
Eugenio Kettelsen is my tennis instructor and he has inspired me to be consistent with a sport for the first time in my life at times when I felt like giving up or discouraged. He has encouraged me to have fun instead of beating myself up when I miss a ball. He always has a wonderful attitude that has helped to brighten my day when I have been down. This has helped me gain confidence in sports I did not have prior to lessons with him. Eugenio is always reminding me of my goal to play in a league and my progress to work towards that goal.”
— Lauren Ellerbeck
“Mr. LaFredrick D. Smith is a teacher at Shadydale Elementary. To others, teaching is just a career, but to Mr. Smith, it is his life. Inside and outside the classroom, he is known to be a mentor, coach, active listener and motivator to his students. He goes above and beyond in making sure all his students’ needs are met. This inspiring young man not only pushes his students to be their best, he also motivates other teachers to be their best through his new book “Teach in the name of Love.” Mr. Smith shows willingness to work and believes in a task well done. He has a quiet disposition, pleasant personality and opts for fairness in all his dealings.”
— Dwayne Heath Ellis
“I’d like to nominate MS. SANER from Harvard Elementary in HISD. Ms. Saner is my son’s 2nd grade teacher this year. She is a dedicated, caring teacher who truly loves her students. I was in education for 12 years and worked with many teachers and know when I come across someone who is truly passionate about teaching. Ms. Saner not only teaches her students academics, but also to be caring people. Her classroom is a safe place for the students and they are not afraid to share their ideas or feelings. She builds up their confidence and encourages them to do their best. She makes sure to meet the needs of all students. At dismissal, her students run up to give her a hug as they leave for the day. I know we are lucky to have her as our son’s teacher this year and we would love for her to be recognized. She deserves it!”
— Angelica Medrano
“I’d love to nominate my son’s 2nd grade teacher, Jennifer Saner. Mrs. Saner is the kindest, warmest teacher we have had. She encourages her students to try their hardest and loves each of her students for who they are. She shares her own stories so that the students can feel comfortable in sharing their own stories without judgment. I also love that she is just the right amount of stern with them because at the end of the day they are there to learn. She sees the future in them!”
— Evelin Ahmed
“Jordan Grant cultivates a positive classroom environment for her 1st grade students at St. Jerome. She encourages her students and cheers for their success while simultaneously holding a consistent
discipline and instruction standards. She has a consistent lesson plan and weekly test schedule to maintain an effective classroom management style. Her weekly tests and quizzes hold the first graders accountable and set the foundation for key study and time management skills. She maintains an open communication with parents and keeps them informed. She also nurtures and spends additional time with her students who need special one-onone instruction.”
— Kathleen Hotze
“Mrs. (Gisi) Sanders from Frost Elementary, my son’s 2nd grade math and science teacher, has been a blessing to us! We moved last year because my son was being bullied. He developed anxiety and didn‘t trust teachers. Mrs. Sanders has completely changed the way my son feels about school. He loves going, has excelled and even was nominated for GT and won 1st place in the science expo. I am so grateful for her for helping to bring back my boy to his old self! We are truly blessed to have her as his teacher!”
— Ashlee Blodgett
“Taylor Hunt, 9th grade English teacher at Klein Oak High, is the most caring, dedicated educator. Three years in at Klein ISD, she has quickly become a favorite among the student body. In November 2017, she was in a serious car accident, and was in a coma for three days due to a traumatic brain injury. When she woke up, she immediately asked about her kids, and who was taking care of her classes. She cares for them like her own children. She returned in January, faster than anyone expected, back to the classes she adores, and who adore her. She is an inspiration to the children, and anyone who meets her.”
— Adams Holloway
“I STRONGLY encourage you to honor my 4th grade teacher, Ms. Jennifer Murrill. I am decades (2 to be exact) removed from being in her classroom, but I still remember and acknowledge her impact on my life and have no doubt she continues to inspire her students today. I moved to the States from Iran in 4th grade and attended Frostwood Elementary School in Memorial. As one can imagine, it was a tough adjustment. Having been a studious child back home, I felt ashamed of my lack of language skills. Knowing a total of 10 words in English, I was unable to communicate with my new teacher and classmates. I was in ESL for much of the days and could barely understand what I was expected to learn when I returned to my regular classroom. On top of that, I was being bullied by classmates who were not used to diversity in their school. Ms. Murrill noticed when I began to stay silent and not eat my lunches. She not only connected with my mom to express her concerns, she spoke with my classmates who began to understand our differences better. Things turned around for me and suddenly I began to enjoy school again. In fact I learned my new language so quickly with Ms. Murrill’s constant encouragement that by 6th grade I was enrolled in honors English. When I became a journalist for KPRC, I was proud to connect with her and let her know how much her encouragement meant to me as a 10-year-old and how it continues to inspire me today.
— Hasti Taghi
“I would like to recognize two outstanding educators: Assistant Principal Natalie Hoskins and Counselor Deana Remington from Passmore Elementary in Alvin ISD. These two amazing ladies have been a safe place for my son in the aftermath of the trauma that he has endured. Early in the school year, my son disclosed that he was being sexually abused by a neighbor. As we struggled to find our footing and figure out what to do and where to turn, these two incredible educators were a constant source of love and support for my son and our entire family. They have provided a safe place for my son to be when he feels overwhelmed at school and have been his biggest cheerleaders on his road from victim to survivor. My son would not be where he is today in his recovery without these two ladies’ constant love and support.
— Michaelanne Bryant