Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Founders Day Dinner

The Rummel Creek Rockin' Roadrunners perform at the Founders Day
A high school coach, two professional accountants, the Spring Branch Education Foundation’s leader and Spring Branch ISD’s superintendent of schools were all honored for their contributions and work during the recent Founders Day Dinner, sponsored by the SBISD Council of PTAs.

The popular Feb. 12 dinner celebration was held at the newly rebuilt Frostwood Elementary School. At the dinner, almost 100 volunteers who have served school PTAs won special state honors, and 17 School Bell nominees were honored.

The Spring Branch Education Foundation also presented a big donation of more than $6,000 to support student and teacher scholarships.

Founders Day is held across the United States every year to recognize a February 1897 meeting in Washington, D.C., where the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) held its first national meeting.

Today, the SBISD Council of PTAs has a membership of 10,000 parents.

The dinner included special remarks by retiring Superintendent of Schools Duncan F. Klussmann, Ed.D., plus presentation of several yearly Council of PTAs Awards. Special recognitions included:
  • The presentation of nearly 100 Lifetime Membership Awards by Council of PTAs Vice Presidents Debbie Slack and Lynn Harrison
  • The Back to the Future Award presented to certified public accountants Ed Kaminski and Gena Docog of Kaminski & Co. by SBISD Council of PTAs President Dmel Tatum
  • The presentation of the Council of PTAs Honorary Life Member Award to Spring Branch Education Foundation (SBEF) Executive Director Cece Thompson by Council of PTAs President Dmel Tatum
  • SBEF Scholarship Chair Lisa Schwartz and SBEF Executive Director Cece Thompson presented a symbolic check for about $6,000 to fund student and teacher scholarships
  • Presentation of the 2015 School Bell Nominees and the School Bell Award winner Memorial High School Coach Rene Rosales by the Council of PTAs Award Chair Rikke Graber
  • A special presentation to retiring Superintendent Duncan Klussmann of the Texas PTA Extended Service Award by Council of PTAs’ President Dmel Tatum
Tatum delivered most of the evening remarks, starting with praise for individuals and groups that have contributed to SBISD excellence since the district PTA was formed in 1952. She described this as the “DNA model” for leadership and great accomplishment.

“Each of these great institutions – our local PTAs and Council, the Spring Branch Education Foundation, and our district leadership including educators – is a unique strand of DNA that came together to make up SBISD,” she said.

“At critical times, these unique strands are so interwoven that you cannot separate out or attribute the success of SBISD to one specific organization’s or individual’s specific role.”

Founders Day Dinner co-chairs this year were Amy Bartlett and Heather Willard.

Ed Kaminski and Gena Docog of Kaminski earned the Back to the Future Award for many volunteer hours and work that they contributed to campus PTAs to help with separate 501c3 nonprofit status issues.

“They have given countless hours of their expertise to help a few of our PTAs to resolve their nonprofit status with the IRS. The Council attempted to help these PTAs on our own, but soon realized we needed expert help,” Tatum said.

Ed Kaminski, who leads Kaminski &Co., has assisted PTAs with required federal tax filings. He also works with the Spring Branch Academy of Finance and has sponsored summer internships for Stratford High students. CPA Gena Docog works with Kaminski & Co. and has worked on many PTAs nonprofit tax filings.

SBISD Council of PTAs President Dmel Tatum presents
Spring Branch Education Foundation Executive Director
Cece Thompson with Council of PTAs Honorary Life
Member Award.
Cece Thompson, who is Spring Branch Education Foundation executive director, received Council of PTAs Honorary Life Member Award. During the past decade of Thompson’s leadership, SBEF scholarships have increased from about $10,000 and 10 students to $150,000 and more than 100 students.

Tatum praised Thompson highly for her dedication to the foundation, the Council of PTAs, and to SBISD teachers and students.

“Cece Thompson is the driving force behind the incredible success of the Spring Branch Education Foundation. Under her direction, the education foundation has reached goals beyond what was thought possible. Her high energy, enthusiasm, leadership and business acumen are second to none,” Tatum said.

Memorial High Coach Rene Rosales, a 23-year educator, received the Council of PTAs School Bell Award. Among other accomplishments, Coach Rosales started the Hispanic Parents Forum at Memorial High. In addition, he helped start up the laptop loan program for families, and he coaches sixth-grade girls developmental basketball with the Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association.

He is best known for founding the Luis Jamie Rosales Foundation in memory for his brother. The foundation has provided up to $10,000 in college scholarships to 10 or more Memorial High students in recent years. Through its golf tournament, the foundation has provided more than $50,000 in scholarships over six years.

“I thank Coach Rosales for the football lessons, but mostly for the off-field lesson of giving to the community, of encouraging people to succeed,” stated University of Houston student Efrain Batista. “He taught me that there is truly no excuse not to get the best education possible and to make it big!”

Rosales also received a $250 cash award from Patriot Bank.

Sixteen other School Bell nominees were honored individually during the dinner.

Council President Dmel awards Superintendent Klussmann
with the Texas PTA Extended Service Award.
Finally, Superintendent Klussmann was honored by the Council of PTAs with the Texas PTA Extended Service Award. Council President Dmel regaled diners with a few fun stories from Dr. Klussmann’s time as Spring Branch Middle’s principal.

He had the campus PTA compile a notebook for him so that he would know what dress code violations for teenage girls look like, such as spaghetti straps. At one eighth-grade dance, a life-size, Saturday Night Fever cutout of John Travolta as Tony Manero with then-Principal Duncan Klussmann’s head on it appeared The search is still on for this memorable cutout!

Years before being named SBISD leader, Dr. Klussmann’s inclusive style was on display when Spring Branch Middle won the national Blue Ribbon School Award.

“[Dr. Klussmann] knew that he had not accomplished this alone and he made sure that Marta, the school’s custodian, was among the group of Spring Branch Middle School leadership traveling to Washington, D.C., to formally receive this award,” Tatum said. “When the panel of Blue Ribbon judges had first visited his campus, Duncan knew that Marta had worked tirelessly to make sure that the school looked better than fantastic.”

When the custodian later became ill on the trip, Dr. Klussmann made sure she had proper hospital treatment and accompanied her, Tatum said.

As the Council of PTAs prepared this year’s special award, Dr. Klussmann was described with these phrases: personable, strong sense of humor, collaborative, innovative, inclusive, optimistic, insightful, consensus builder, visionary and compassionate.

In his own remarks, Dr. Klussmann thanked Tatum and other Council of PTAs officers for their leadership. Looking back, he said that he didn’t think that he’d ever missed a Founders Day Dinner.

Event music was provided by the Frostwood Fiddlers under the direction of Padua Canty and the Rummel Creek Rockin’ Roadrunners, directed by Debbie Moore.

The dinner was provided by Hugo in City Centre. HEB provided flowers.

2014-2015 School Bell Award Nominees
  • Tobey Unrath, Buffalo Creek Elementary
  • Ashley Cernosek, Bunker Hill Elementary
  • Ilsa Perez, Cedar Brook Elementary
  • Denny Dial, Cornerstone Academy
  • Angela Moya, Frostwood Elementary
  • Frances Moore, Hunters Creek Elementary
  • Laura Weber, Meadow Wood Elementary
  • Tori Moxley, Memorial Drive Elementary
  • Rene Rosales, Memorial High School
  • Lynn Greenhill, Memorial Middle School
  • Lori Davis, Nottingham Elementary
  • Christine Godin, Rummel Creek Elementary
  • Elizabeth Meshkoff, Sherwood Elementary
  • Kelly Harkins, Spring Forest Middle School
  • Sharon Huff, Valley Oaks Elementary
  • Kimberly Montgomery, Westchester Academy
  • Khristina Ballard, Wilchester Elementary

2014-15 Texas PTA Lifetime Members

Elementary Schools

  • Bunker Hill: Kris and Carter Breed, Vicki Bullers, Ashlea Cedrone, Rachel Lim, Jeff Swantkowski, Patricia Winburne
  • Frostwood: Janna Altman, Marilyn Blakely, Aimee Dodson, Sharalynn Fenn, Susan McMillan, Tracey Rogan, Julie Sheets, Inga Smith
  • Hunters Creek: Meg Bissinger, Marisa Duewel, Katherine Dukes, Karen Edmonds, Kimberly Gartner, Denise Janowski, OG Miller, Elizabeth Rotan, Kelly Siblik
  • Meadow Wood: Casey Brand, Kayla Chaumont, Allyn Dukes, Susi Hagedorn, Angelica Limon
  • Memorial Drive: Brenda Bartley, Sulyn Dillon, Laura Horn, Stephanie Meckert, Margie Moerbe, Caroline Shanahan, Cartha Siddiqui, Rebecca Ziegenhorn
  • Nottingham: Jeanine Piskurich, Ami Rapp, Casey Reed
  • Rummel Creek: Jennifer Cartwright, Ching Chan, Kimberly Coolidge, Stacye Foster, Lynn Harrison, Kimberly Hillman, Deborah Kopp, Leslie Latiolais, Mercedes Perez-Meyer, Lisa Rose-Morrow, Meredith Ramey, Jon Rice, Rebecca Robbie, LouAnn Timmreck, Amy White
  • Sherwood: Stefanie Spencer, Ingrid Van de Coevering
  • Valley Oaks: Jennifer Arriaga, Melissa Boswell, Randi Doris, Frank Dragna, Annissa Farrar, Tina McElyea, Manisha Patel, Marissa Perez, Morella Tapia, Nina Rubinsky
  • Wilchester: Holly Davis, Melinda Hickey, Tamma Howell, Carolyn McCall, Robin Parker

Secondary Schools

  • Memorial Middle: Tracy Ashmore, Beth Cole, Tammy Hampton, Kim Moore, Liz Rushing, Wendy Sicola, Laura Tingleaf
  • Spring Branch Middle: Melissa Baldwin, Stashia Davis, Susan Gooden, Marta Petraglia, Dena Williams
  • Spring Forest Middle: Judi Campbell, Vanessa Croix, Veronica Geller, Kareem Goode, Betsy Snapp
  • Stratford High: Katherine Kennedy, Darrell Pickard, Karl Poetzl, Jana Stiffel


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