SBISD Grads Return as Proud New Teachers
Every year, Spring Branch ISD begins its new school year with many classrooms staffed by former high school grads – adult educators who return to this school district for personal reasons and with proud purpose.
This year’s August school start found 22 new, first-year teachers who are also SBISD grads. They range from Chris Rice, a Spring Woods High and recent Yale University graduate teaching at Spring Oaks Middle, to Robert Sparks, a 1966 Memorial High graduate who has returned to that school as a business math instructor.
In all, SBISD has hired about 110 new teachers across the district for this year.
Chris Rice spoke during the district’s Convocation gathering of employees last month in the Don Coleman Coliseum. It was the same place where Rice stood during Spring Woods High Graduation to deliver the Commencement address.
“At Commencement, I was able to share my story with classmates about how a child of Mexican immigrants dared to pursue his dreams by stepping out of his comfort zone to attend one of the most prestigious universities in our country,” Rice said at Convocation. “That opportunity would not have been possible if it weren’t for all of you.”
He returns to SBISD as a proud former Spring Woods Tiger and district alumnus. He is also a 2018 Yale graduate and Teach for America Corps member. His plans include a focus on T-2-4, the district’s goal to help all students graduate, and to continue to obtain a technical certificate, military training, or two- or four-year college degree.
“I can inspire the minds and shape the lives of my students in the same way you all did for me,” he told SBISD employees at Convocation. “I am T-2-4!”
As a 1966 Memorial High graduate, Robert Sparks can recall a shiny, brand new high school. He went on to earn a bachelor of business administration from the University of Texas at Austin, and then a successful business career. He’s waving good-bye to retirement to teach business math and personal finance.
“I decided to teach after helping my grandchildren with their homework. I loved my career and feel that my business experience will enable me to teach business from experience rather than theory,” he said.
He has plenty of new material and procedures, but he reports that “the kids are extremely considerate and show me much patience.”
“Memorial High School has made me what I am today with the course work and friendships that have lasted a lifetime,” Sparks adds.
Over at the Bear Boulevard School for Early Learning, Andy Ruelas now manages a room of high-energy 4-year-olds. A Northbrook High graduate who attended Lone Star College, and then graduated from Texas A&M University, this Corps of Cadets member is very serious about giving back.
“As a Northbrook High School student, I desired to become a teacher because I felt that some of my friends and I would have benefited from being taught and motivated by someone who grew up in Spring Branch,” Ruelas said.
“I will serve as a role model for students who I can relate to since I understand what growing up in this community is like,” he said.
Like others, Ruelas feels that SBISD is his true home. “Just like [others] prepared me for success, I would like to do the same in return for future graduates of the district.”
SBISD Graduates Returning as New District Teachers
- Chris Rice, Spring Oaks Middle, Social Studies (Spring Woods High Graduate)
- Allison Koopman, Treasure Forest Elementary, Kindergarten (Stratford High)
- Samantha Vargas, Rummel Creek Elementary, 1st Grade (Stratford High)
- Brian Jackson, Northbrook Middle, Social Studies (Stratford High)
- Megan Johnson, Landrum Middle, Language Arts (Memorial High)
- Samantha Ridgway, Memorial High, Special Ed/Autism/APPLE (Spring Woods High)
- Molly Harter, Tiger Trail PreK, Special Ed/PPCD (Memorial High)
- Dominique Holland, Meadow Wood Elementary, 1st Grade (Spring Woods High)
- Jocelyn Ascencio, Housman Elementary, Special Ed/Life Skills (Northbrook High)
- Amanda Singley, Spring Branch Elementary, 1st Grade (Stratford High)
- Virginia Lopez, Sherwood Elementary, 2nd Grade (Northbrook High)
- Jessica Dikdan, Stratford High, Art (Stratford High)
- Sandra Lopez, Pine Shadows Elementary, Kindergarten (Northbrook High)
- Jennifer McMullen, Shadow Oaks Elementary, 4th Grade (Stratford High)
- Linden Lanier, Hollibrook Elementary, Music (Stratford High)
- Angela Ayala, Housman Elementary, 3rd Grade (Northbrook High)
- Lauren Mulloy, Frostwood Elementary, 1st Grade (Memorial High)
- Andy Ruelas, Bear Blvd. PreK, PreK-3rd Grade (Northbrook High)
- Denise Buitron, Pine Shadows Elementary, 2nd Grade (Spring Woods High)
- Robert Sparks, Memorial High, Business (Memorial High)
- Theresa Gez, Northbrook High, Business (Stratford High)