Association of Texas Professional Educators

2011-12 ATPE education award recepients

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2011-12 Educator of the Year Award Recipients


Sandra Clement, superintendent
South Park Middle School, Corpus Christi ISD

Clement knows that it truly does take everyone in a community working together to educate a student. “Creating an environment that ignites a desire to learn and excel encompasses more than just the actions of the principal,” she says. “It involves the commitment and dedication of students, teachers and parents alike.”



Crystal Parks, special education aide
Neblett Elementary School, Sherman ISD

Parks aims to make every day important and knows the value of positive thinking. “My job is something that I look forward to each day because I love it,” she says. “I believe that your environment is what you make it to be. In my case, my department is my home away from home, and my team is my family.”

Finalist: Lisa Cook Douglas, Dickinson ISD


Diane Pokluda, kindergarten through fourth-grade alternative educator
Crowley Learning Center, Crowley ISD

Pokluda finds that the biggest rewards that come with teaching are nonmonetary. “I love being able to say, ‘I made a difference!’” she says. “ I have now taught long enough to have received notes from previous students thanking me. One student included a note in her high school graduation announcement [saying] that I was one of her favorite teachers and that she hoped to become an educator herself.”

Finalist: Teri Naya, Birdville ISD


Andrea Barnes, seventh and eighth-grade teacher
Aragon Middle School, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

Barnes knows that an educator is never truly done learning. “A great educator, in my opinion, must be innovative and exciting,” she says. “I believe one has to research teaching methods, know multiple personality techniques, be enthusiastic to teach the lesson every day, and totally love their job! My alarm rings every morning at 4:30, and I literally jump out of bed ready to start the day.”

Finalists: Trudy Byers, Birdville ISD, and Rose Perez, Corpus Christi ISD

 Special Services Educator

Marlee Clark, librarian
Jack E. Singley Academy, Irving ISD

Clark believes that all educators often have to play the role of therapist and counselor. “Students are sometimes able and willing to express their academic and personal needs to us so that we’re able to address them,” she says. “Other times, students are either unable or unwilling to express what their needs are. As educators, we must be attuned to these situations.”

2011-12 Grant for Teaching Excellence Recipients

Lauri Peters, East Central ISD

Jodi Andoe, Paris ISD

2011-12 Alafair Hammett Media Award Recipients

Named for ATPE's first state president, this award recognizes newspaper reporters for their outstanding support for and coverage of public education. The 2011-12 recipients are:

Newspapers with a circulation of fewer than 25,000:
Gary Long, Brownsville Herald
Newspapers with a circulation of 25,000 to 50,000:
Ethan FowlerAbilene Reporter News
Newspapers with a circulation of more than 50,000:
Francisco Vara-Orta, San Antonio Express-News

2011-12 Judy Coyle Texas Liberty Award

ATPE’s highest honor, which is named after ATPE founding member Judy Coyle and recognizes outstanding service to public education, was awarded this year to five pro-public education advocates.

Mayor Julian Castro, a 37-year-old San Antonio native, is the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city. First elected in 2009, he handily won re-election in 2011 with nearly 82 percent of the vote. Under his leadership in 2010, the city opened Café College, a one-stop counseling center offering advice on financial aid, college admissions and standardized test preparation to any student in the San Antonio area.

Rep. Scott Hochberg (D–Houston) was elected to represent District 137 in 1993. During his time in the Legislature, Hochberg served as the vice chairman of the Public Education Committee and as chair of the Education Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. He also represented Texas as a vice chairman of the education panel of the National Conference of State Legislatures and has been recognized as one of Texas’ “Ten Best Legislators” by Texas Monthly. Hochberg is retiring from the Texas Legislature.

Sen. Wendy Davis (D–Fort Worth) was elected to the Texas Senate in 2008 to represent District 10 in Tarrant County. She serves on the committees on Education, Transportation and Homeland Security, Veteran Affairs and Military Installations, and she also serves as vice chairwoman of International Relations and Trade. In 2009, Texas Monthly named Davis legislative “Rookie of the Year.”

Dr. John M. Folks recently retired from his position as superintendent of Northside (20) ISD, one of the largest and fastest-growing school districts in Texas. The 41-year educator was named the 2011 Texas Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D–San Antonio) represents a large portion of Bexar County. A former five-term state representative, she is now serving her fifth term as Texas state senator for District 26. Van de Putte currently serves as chairwoman of the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee and is also a member of the Senate committees on Education, State Affairs, and Business and Commerce. She served as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures from 2003 to 2005.

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