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Staff and Students Recognized through Ready to Reconnect Program

contest winners To commemorate our first month of school this week, we surprised teachers and students who were secretly nominated for the #ReadyToReconnect contest by SISD staff. The nomination called for teachers and students who have been #ReadytoReconnect each day. These students and teachers showed leadership in being supportive, positive, engaged, or lending a helping hand to a colleague or peer. 

Students and teachers that were recognized were surprised with a personal visit from Superintendent of Schools, Dr. David Hicks, their campus principal, Director of Communications Kimberly Simpson, and Director of Partners in Education Julie Mitchell. Each student and teacher was presented with a Bearcat swag bag that included shirts, cookies, and gift cards. 

A special thanks to our community partners Knight Family Chiropractic, Certainty Home Loans, Farmers Insurance – Diana Salas, and CJ’s Coffee Café. Congrats to all our winners! 

Fred Douglass Early Childhood Center 


Tabitha McCrory: Nominated by Tony Cruz - Tabitha helped prepare for a new special education student and develop their educational plan with a positive and eager attitude.

Sylvia Dixon: Nominated by Tracy Staggs - Sylvia is an amazing teacher, full of grace and patience in dealing with not only the students in her class but with her colleagues as well.

Maria Jones: Nominated by Alyssa Woody - Maria went from Fred Douglass in-class teaching to becoming the bilingual virtual teacher. With grace and dignity, she did what was asked and brought her best attitude.

Piner Middle School


Alinda Maxwell: Nominated by Jenny Richard - Alinda jumped into virtual learning with a super positive attitude. She has been super adaptable and positive every step of the way.

Tara Peebles: Nominated by Martha Stephens - Tara’s TikTok videos she sends to teachers have kept the morale up among her peers.


Jesus Paulino Serrano: Nominated by Jenny Richard  - Jesus has been a polite student and role model in Mrs. Richard’s class. He’s always “safety-compliant” with his mask properly on and six feet apart.

Sory Elementary 


Nurse Jeannie Lavender: Nominated by Principal Steven Traw - Jeannie has been instrumental in guiding the district's nurses and Dr. Tamy Smalskas in developing the district's COVID-19 health and safety protocol for Operation Reconnect.   

Vicki May:  Nominated by Principal Traw - Vicki readily stepped up to help out by adding the library to our campus specials rotation every day. 


Gage Zwaagstra: Nominated by Tracy Lucas - Gage has a servant's heart and is excited to run for student council and be a library assistant. His enthusiasm for every aspect of being on campus makes him #ReadyToReconnect. 

Jefferson Elementary


Jesus Cienfuegos and Anna Aguilera: Nominated by Tenise E. Blackshear:  These two students have been 110% engaged from the beginning. They are on every morning meeting, their work is always submitted on time, and they do their best in all areas. 

Piner Middle School


Hannah Freeman: Nominated by Jenny Richard: Hannah has been cheerful and hardworking. She has excelled at virtual learning and is eager for more work. 

Sherman High School


Derek George: Nominated by Jessica Meek - Derek has been an amazing resource for the entire fine arts department and helps with new applications, while always remaining upbeat.

Debbie Paschke: Nominated by John Strickland - In addition to face to face classes, Debbie plans instruction for five online sections. With all of her responsibilities, she still finds time to bring a much-needed sense of unity to the department.


 Evelyn Smucker: Nominated by Scott Pope - Evelyn is an athletic trainer who was recognized for helping with the care of all athletes.

Jace Brown: Nominated by Allison Thornhill - Jace is serving as the VP of the club HOSA and has stepped in to serve as treasurer while the treasurer is engaged in virtual learning.

Jasmine Baker