The School Zone: News

To be recognized by your peers and school community for being a great teacher is an honor. To be voted campus Teacher of the Year within the first five years of working in Spring Branch ISD is extraordinary.

In 2019-2020, five of the 49 campus Teachers of the Year are celebrating five years of service to district students. Two of the five were selected as SBISD Teacher of the Year finalists, of which there were only six!

To celebrate this group of five, relative ‘newbies’ to the SBISD teaching ranks, each was asked to share Five Fun Facts about themselves: three about their work as teachers and two personal ones.

Let’s learn a little bit more about these amazing teachers--some fun facts:


Yolanda Matthews-Porter, The Guthrie Center Teacher of the Year and SBISD Teacher of the Year Finalist

  1. I started my cosmetology career in high school. 
  2. I love teaching hair styling, entrepreneurship and skincare. 
  3. I am the visionary of a kid and teen beauty/barber organization.
  4. I moved into my first apartment at 17 years old.  
  5. I was a salon and boutique owner at 19 years old.


Kate Waldorf, Spring Branch Middle School Teacher of the Year and SBISD Teacher of the Year Finalist

  1. I am a proud product of Spring Branch ISD! Attended Wilchester Elementary School, Memorial Middle School, and Stratford High School! 
  2. I love math, but I don’t teach my favorite math course, which is Algebra 1. I teach 6th Grade math because I believe it is the most important, fundamentally, for future mathematics success.
  3. I save every letter and picture a student has ever given me in a binder in my classroom. Each time I open it, I’m immediately reminded and reaffirmed as to why being a teacher is truly the greatest job of all time.
  4. I was born in Orange County, California. Although I felt like I lived in Utopia at the time, Texas has been so good to me, and I don’t foresee myself living anywhere else! Kolaches, the Houston Rodeo, and the word y’all, what’s not to love?!
  5. I love Mexican Food! El Patio has been my family’s go-to since the beginning of time. 


Nicholas Hoey, Spring Oaks Middle School Teacher of the Year

  1. I am the 7th grade football coach.
  2. I have been the Math department chair for two years.
  3. I was the co-sponsor of the Minecraft Club at Spring Oaks Middle School.
  4. I am a competitive paintball player.
  5. I like to build customized desktop computers.


Michelle Nguyen, Ridgecrest Elementary Teacher of the Year

  1. Before becoming a teacher, I was a business consultant for 4 years! (I always knew I was an educator at heart though!)
  2. I am a proud Teach for America alum (Houston ’15).
  3. I speak Vietnamese and Spanish! This has helped me connect with families and also gives me perspective as a teacher of students learning English.
  4. I was a student at Thornwood Elementary growing up!
  5. I am a yoga instructor outside of school, although I love incorporating mindfulness with my students!


Leigh Bagwell, Thornwood Elementary Teacher of the Year

  1. I’ve taught music at every grade level, K-12.  
  2. I went into music education because of the positive experience I had in Junior High Band.
  3. My favorite units to teach are classical music drum-alongs.  Those really make something that is otherwise completely, foreign to my students relatable and engaging.
  4. Running is my past time.  I’ve participated in a few half marathons and belong to a running club.
  5. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie.  I can quote it word for word.