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LC-M CISD honors staff with recognitions

Special to the Leader

The Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD has named Angela Jones District Elementary Teacher of the Year. Melanie Claybar was named Secondary District Teacher of the Year.

These were selected from representatives from each school in the LCM District.

The campuses and departments have also selected paraprofessionals of the year and Child Nutrition and Maintenance have named Department Employees of the Year.

Veronica Bias of Little Cypress Elementary is the employee for Child Nutrition and Jeanette Wyatt is the Maintenance Employee of the Year.

Mauriceville Elementary named Angela Jones as Teacher and Mandy Simon as the Paraprofessional recipient.

Angela teaches kindergarten, serves as a Mentor teacher to new employees and has been a facilitator and presenter at Region 5 and Region 4, as well as LCMCISD. She started her teaching career in 1990 and since that time has been selected as a Teacher of the Year several different times; in 2004 while teaching at West Hardin Elementary, another time at MVE in 2009; was the Region 5 Elementary of the Year in 2010, and is again Mauriceville Elementary’s TOY for 2020.

Mandy Simon, who is the receptionist at Mauriceville Elementary, has worked for the school for five years, though not in the same position. She said that the school has some amazing teachers and she loves to help them out in any way she can. When asked what is challenging about her job, she said, “I don’t find any parts of my job challenging because I love to learn new things and to be readily available any time a circumstance presents itself.”

Little Cypress Elementary selected Anna Mott as this year’s TOY and Vicki Oceguera as the paraprofessional.

Ms. Mott began her teaching career at LCE in 2010. She serves as the campus Technology Champion, who assists other teachers to integrate the use of technology into their lessons. She has been a mentor teacher at Stephen F. Austin, Lamar University and is currently a new teacher mentor at LCE. Mott also serves as the Kindergarten Representative on campus.

Ms. Oceguera is a 24-year LCM employee. The most satisfying part of her job is, “Teaching young children how to use technology and watch them excel throughout the school year.” She also assists teachers who may be having problems with the hardware or using other computerized programs to keep them up and running so they have all that they need to be effective in the classroom.

Little Cypress Intermediate’s Angie Perry is a fourth-grade teacher who has been in that position since 2002. She taught fourth grade for two years at Mauriceville Elementary and first grade at a local private school. She is a fourth-grade mentor teacher, has won numerous awards or recognitions, including the 2020 Wayne A. Reaud Excellence in Education Award Winner, 2019 Orange County Teacher of the Year, and the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year for 2005.

Winters Cole is a fourth-grade applied teacher at LCI, who has worked there for 5 years. When asked what she finds most rewarding about her job, she said… “…I get to connect with my kids on a one on one level and I get to help them plan for a bright future. Being in Applied means that I get to hear a child read for the first time on their level, I get to watch that math equation finally click, and I get to experience a lot of firsts. I am in love with these “AHA!” moments. They make this job so much more than just a place where I work.”

Amanda Istre is the Little Cypress Junior High Teacher of the Year. She taught in a local school district from 2006 until she joined the District this school year as a seventh-grade math teacher. In addressing her teaching style, Istre explained. “I make sure to include each student in different learning styles and to make a point of letting them know that I do care about them as an individual…The students know that I care and love them. It is a classroom where they look forward to coming every day.

Dakota Dallas is wrapping up her first year as a Life Skills aide at LCJH. According to Dakota, “There are many rewarding parts of working in Life Skills, but I think the biggest is seeing the gap closing on general education students and our special education students.”

A graduate of LCM HS, Sarah McDow came back to teach in the LCM District in 2013 at Mauriceville Elementary. In 2016, McDow crossed campuses to Mauriceville Middle, where she teaches seventh grade honors math, eighth grade math and honors algebra 1 to eighth graders. She is also the UIL Academic Coordinator for the MMS campus. This 2020 Teacher of the year says, “I truly hope that I have been loving, kind, inspiring, accepting, and encouraging to the students I have been privileged to teach. In planning my lessons for math, I am always remembering that my students will be coming to the content from different skill levels, different backgrounds, different work ethics, and different aspirations for their futures.”

Jayme Kugler is this year’s Paraprofessional for MMS. Ms. Kugler works in the ABU classroom and is an assistant coach for LCM HS softball. When asked what is the most rewarding task that you have in your job, she said, “Watching a student’s reaction when realizing that he or she finally gets a correct answer on a subject that he or she has been struggling with. And when they come back the next day and see the confidence on their face.”

Melanie Claybar is the English Department Team Leader at LCM HS, she’s the Campus Technology Champion, a Mentor Teacher, the Stark Reading Contest Sponsor, the UIL Spelling and Literary Criticism Sponsor and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert who was selected as Best Teacher – High School in the Orange Leader Reader’s Choice Poll. Claybar, who was in the world of technology before entering education, remembered something her college roommate said when Melanie was considering a major change and was thinking about education. The roommate told her that, “…teaching was not to be taken lightly and that unless my whole heart was in it, it would not be the right thing to do for me or for my future students.” According to Ms. Claybar, “Whether you are an education major or come to the profession later, teaching is a journey and a calling.”

LCM HS Paraprofessional of the Year Robin Laurence has been with LCM for 20 years. She says the most satisfying part of her job comes when she helps someone complete a Task and it makes their day a little easier, a little better or a little less stressful. Then it’s a great day for me! Hearing thank-you is always appreciated. When asked the most challenging parts of her job, she said, “Keeping abreast of the constant changes in technology, finding answers to difficult problems and being the only tech on the campus and trying to make sure that campus needs are met.”

The Seventh Paraprofessional of the year is Melissa Usie. Melissa is a District Technician and is representing Technology, Special Education and the Administration Offices, since these departments have a much smaller staff than the campuses. Melissa came to the LCM Technology Department twelve years ago. She says that the most rewarding part of her job is seeing students using the technology that the techs put in their hands. “It is very rewarding to see their faces light up when they are using new devices.” When asked what she tries to accomplish in her position, Usie said, “I would like to be an asset to our students and staff and to help any way that I can with using technology as a tool for learning.