2019 Elementary Teachers of the Year

Round Rock ISD celebrates the 2019 Elementary Teachers of the Year.

Every year, the District recognizes and honors extraordinary educators who are teaching, leading and inspiring students at campuses across Round Rock ISD. Teachers of the Year are selected by their campus peers and administrators in recognition of their contribution in the classroom and throughout the campus learning community.


Thank a teacher

Send congratulations to a Round Rock ISD Teacher of the Year or say “thanks” to any one of our extraordinary educators.

Maria Kaso

Anderson Mill Elementary School
Dual Language Kindergarten

“The most important role of a teacher is building a safe environment where kids can be who they are, become a role model, and teach them the love for school.”

Traci Ho

Berkman Elementary Arts Integration Academy
First Grade

“It goes without saying that I want to help my students become confident, joyful readers, writers, and mathematicians.  But even more than that, I want to support them in becoming kind, resilient learners who believe they can always improve and that their actions can make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Valerie Rollans

Blackland Prairie Elementary School
Instructional Technology Specialist

“I wanted to be a teacher since I could remember sitting on my mom’s lap ‘helping’ her grade papers. I learned I was meant to be a teacher in high school when I was able to volunteer in her classroom and loved it.”

Amanda Keith

Bluebonnet Elementary School

“I want to instill in my students that determination and persistence lead to desired outcomes.  Whether my kindergartners are learning to write a letter or read a high-frequency word, they understand that if they keep trying, they will master the skill, and their sense of accomplishment is a reward in itself.  Persistence and determination are essential to well beyond a child’s school years.”

Noelle McBride

Brushy Creek Elementary School

“I hope to instill a love of learning as well as a genuine passion for asking questions and searching for answers to my students.”

Katy Gray

Cactus Ranch Elementary School
Fourth Grade

“Creating a warm, inviting environment and class culture that promotes acceptance and caring is my most important role. By creating these and building strong relationships with my students, I provide a place to learn, grow and thrive.”

Jeanette Abrajan

Caldwell Heights Elementary School
Dual Language Third Grade

“I try to teach all my students that academics is important, but being a kind and thoughtful person is as important. Being a productive, well-rounded human is what I still aspire to be even to this day. We practice this goal every day!”

Krystal Althoff

Callison Elementary School
First Grade Dual Language

“I realized I was meant to be a teacher when I was in high school. My broadcast journalism teacher, Mr. Barron, was the reason I decided to become a teacher. He was insightful, calm, caring and willing to help no matter what the circumstance. Every student grew from his wisdom. His class made me recognize that I wanted to be a source of inspiration for someone else, just as he had been for me.”

Kelly Goggans

Canyon Creek Elementary School

“I think one of the most important roles of a teacher is being able to identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses academically, personally, and culturally to build strong relationships. When achieved, this creates a safe, inviting, and nurturing environment for all students. It helps build confidence and trust which in turn provides world-class scholars.”

Paige Cox

Caraway Elementary School

“I think as teachers, we need to make a connection with our students. We need to teach them to engage in their world. We want to inspire them to learn and encourage them so that they can be successful.”

Carol Imperial

Chandler Oaks Elementary School

“I hope to instill open-mindedness in my students.”

Tina Risinger

Deep Wood Elementary School
Talented and Gifted

“When I was 7, I used to sneak home extra worksheets and round up my brother and neighbors to attend ‘school,’ even though they were only 3 or 4.  By fourth grade, it was not a question of if I would be a teacher, but which kind. My favorite part of the day even now is when a lesson goes well, and I think ‘Yes!  I’m still in the right place!'”

Juan Gonzalez

Double File Trail Elementary School

“The one thing I hope to instill in my students is perseverance. Music is just another application for this quality to be used, and whether or not my students continue on their musical journeys after they leave elementary is irrelevant; as long as they take the skill of persevering through new and challenging tasks, I feel I will have succeeded as a teacher.”

Angela Holcek

England Elementary School
Second Grade

“I have always enjoyed working with children but thought that I wanted to be a pediatrician. I became unhappy with the pre-med coursework in college and realized that, even though I was capable of becoming a doctor, I lacked the passion for it. I decided to change my major to education. I remember nervously calling my parents and, to my surprise, I heard them say, ‘Finally!’ I finally told them what they knew all along – I was destined to teach.”

Elisa Denkler

Fern Bluff Elementary School
Talented and Gifted

“I believe that my greatest role is to model and teach students to become lifelong learners of themselves and others. In this, they will also grow as intellectuals as they pursue excellence to grow and understand those around them.  Whether in or out of the classroom I wish for my students to see in me this wonder of our world and the people in it.”

Angie McDaniel

Forest Creek Elementary School

“I hope my students leave me with the knowledge that learning is a journey.  Sometimes progress can be so imperceptible that they don’t know it happened, but as long as they are making their best effort, they can look back over a period and see how far they’ve come.  I hope they learn to recognize and celebrate what they do accomplish so that they look forward with great expectations to what the future holds.”

Tracy Defendorf

Forest North Elementary School
Special Education

“I hope to instill in my students that our greatest and most honorable purpose in life is to serve others. That begins with accepting all people for exactly who they are. Our success is defined by how we serve those we encounter each day.”

Jami Johnson

Gattis Elementary School
Special Education

“One of the most important roles of a teacher is to inspire, encourage, love and guide students in directions that will lay the foundation for lifelong learning. It is the hope that if a teacher fulfills this role, then students will have the tools to make their dreams and aspirations come true.”

Erin Martinez

Great Oaks Elementary School
Special Education

“I knew that I was meant to be a teacher after I volunteered at an inclusive daycare. The daycare mixed students with special needs and students that were typically developing. This was the first time I had been introduced to what is now referred to as an inclusion classroom. I saw how placing students of all abilities together were mutually beneficial. The children with disabilities were exposed to positive peer models, while the typically developing children gained compassion. Seeing the effectiveness of this model inspired me to enroll in a teaching certification program, with a focus on special education.”

Vanessa De Becze

Joe Lee Johnson Elementary STEAM Academy
Fifth Grade

“I hope to instill a sense of self-strength. I want my students to know the power they possess in themselves and use that strength to make good decisions for themselves despite what decisions anyone around them may be doing, whether it is working towards an academic goal, or even how they treat other people, most importantly themselves.”

Alix Richardson

Jollyville Elementary School

“I feel that the most important role of being a teacher is making connections with your students.  Students are more comfortable and perform better in class when they know that their teacher cares about them.”

Mercia Schorn

Laurel Mountain Elementary School

“I hope to instill confidence and self-respect in my students to believe in themselves and to love learning without any fear of inadequacy. I hope to instill an openness to learning from others no matter who or where they come from.”

Lindsay Forbes

Live Oak Elementary School
Physical Education

“The most important role of a teacher is connecting with your students.  Getting to know or show an interest in your students will build trust and lead to success in the classroom.”

Julie Hooper

Old Town Elementary School
Fifth Grade

“Above all else, trust is key. Remembering that each child has a story to tell, and they need to be heard. When a teacher can establish a safe environment for students to take risks, and be understood without judgment, that is when then true learning will happen. Students need to know that their teacher loves them!”

Valerie Satterwhite

Sommer Elementary School
First Grade

“For my students, I hope to instill courage to believe in themselves and to become self-empowered to take on whatever the world brings them.  To do their part to make it a better place. Referring to just about anything, I always tell my kiddos to ‘leave it better than you found it!'”

Cara Shipp

Pond Springs Elementary School
Instructional Technology Specialist

“As a teacher, my most important role is to nurture and cultivate the talents and abilities of my students.  I hope that they learn how to express themselves and find their own unique voice to share with the world.”

Shannon Galvan

Purple Sage Elementary School
Third Grade

“I have always loved learning, but my fifth-grade teacher, Ms. Fluth, inspired me to be a teacher. She worked hard to establish a relationship with me and help me feel safe in her classroom. For the first time in my life I felt confident and was not afraid to speak in front of my peers. I decided in that classroom in Fern Bluff Elementary that I would become a teacher and help children like myself love school.”

Megan Saunders

Robertson Elementary School
Third Grade

“The most important role of a teacher is to inspire students to be lifelong learners who are well adapted and prepared for life outside of school.  Teachers encourage, influence and motivate the future leaders of this nation and world. Our job is to make sure that the leaders in our classrooms are prepared to make those positive differences.”

Amy Osborn

Spicewood Elementary School
First Grade

“The most important role of a teacher is to create an environment where students feel supported, safe and a valued member of the classroom learning community.”

Christa Matamoros

Teravista Elementary School
Speech Language Pathologist

“The most important role for any teacher to embody is an investigator. We investigate the best way to educate and motive; how to accelerate and accommodate; and how to develop character and competence within each unique student.”

Shannon Houston

Union Hill Elementary School

“There are many important roles that a teacher plays in a student’s life. I think the most important role of a teacher is to be an advocate for uniqueness. Our students deserve the best education possible, but they also deserve to be accepted for who they are. Too many kids walk the streets of our cities feeling confused, unwanted, unsupported, and afraid to be themselves. We must create a safe, welcoming environment for them, to say to them, you are safe, you are accepted, you are loved. As the Flip Flippin saying goes, if you have a child’s heart, you have a child’s mind. We can help our students make extraordinary gains academically if they know that we believe that who they are is enough.”

Amy Shumake

Voigt Elementary Arts Integration Academy
Third Grade

“I knew that I wanted to be a teacher from a very young age. I have always loved working with kids and knew I wanted to have a job that could impact many lives over the course of a career. Once I began my student teaching, I had confirmation that this was what I was called to do. I have the privilege of teaching and shaping young minds every day!”

Danielle Clayton

Wells Branch Elementary Arts Integration Academy

“Even though I had wanted to be a teacher as a child, it was not until I became a parent that I felt I was equipped to be a teacher.  I had held dear the teachers that had truly touched my life such as my kindergarten teacher Mr. Hays. As I began to teach my children, I realized that I was able to connect with children and utilize the lessons I had learned from him years ago.”