We Are Montgomery Awards Banquet honors 2021-2022 educators and leaders

Montgomery ISD is proud to recognize the amazing work of staff throughout the 2021-2022 sschool year. At the annual awards banquet last night, each campus Teacher of the Year, Spirit of Montgomery Award Winner and Department MVP was recognized and overall district winners were announced.

Montgomery ISD Campus Teachers of the Year

Montgomery ISD Campus Spirit of Montgomery Winners

Montgomery ISD Department MVPs

MISD Spirit of Montgomery Winner: Lilia Salas-Nino, MES

Lilia has been working in Montgomery ISD for two years and is a paraprofessional at MES. Lilia says that she enjoys every minute of her job, from the morning duty of receiving children into the cafeteria with a smile on her face as they share the happenings of their life with her, to being in the classroom and seeing students make progress after working so hard. Lilia is most passionate about helping the Spanish-speaking families that arrive at the school, often nervous and unable to speak English, and her ability to welcome them in their own language, being empathetic and sharing her personal experience. She says she is quick to let them know that they have arrived at the best school district and that their kids will have exactly the opportunities they brought them here for. When she talks about the staff at MES, she says they have filled the void that came when she left her home county, becoming her second family, and they are the balm to her soul.

MISD MVP Arthur Ford Award Winner: Sandra Pesl

Sandra is the Secretary of our MISD Maintenance Department and has been serving in this role for over 5 years. Before working in this position, she was a paraprofessional substitute for the district. Sandra says that her favorite part of the job is working with her co-workers and helping others when there is something that needs to be done on a campus or at a district facility. She has selflessly served on the District Advisory Committee since 2019, representing the Maintenance department in that role and helping to support the plans for MISD.

MISD Counselor of the Year: DeAnna Peterson, LES

DeAnna has worked in Montgomery ISD for 20 years and has spent the last 9 as an elementary counselor. DeAnna believes that her calling to being a school counselor is one of service to others and she takes great pride in making sure that her school community has what they need to support their students however they need it. Being in Montgomery ISD for so long and raising her children here, DeAnna has seen the growth and change and truly believes that our people are what matter most, helping her to always prioritize customer service to her students and her families. Even though each child and family that comes to her is not the only one on her list on any given day, she believes that they must know that they are the most important at the time they are seeking her assistance. It is her great pleasure to take care of people, both students and adults.

MISD Elementary Teacher of the Year: Dr. Russell Ballenger, SCE

Russell is in his second year in Montgomery ISD as a music teacher at Stewart Creek Elementary School and is solely responsible for applying for and receiving over $5600 in grants and scholarships for his music program this year alone. Russell believes that each person is born musical and his job is to show his students how to access the musical and creative parts of themselves, making them better learners as he commits to understanding who his students are, meeting them where they are at, and formulating plans to ensure their growth. Because each student is different in their strengths and interests, his class makes music in many different ways, including singing, chanting, playing instruments and dancing. His music classroom is a place where wide ranges of skills and abilities are expected and appreciated, and he aims to pass the excitement of music making on to all SCE Trailblazers, giving them the tools to hopefully be music-makers for life.

MISD Secondary Teacher of the Year: Justin Williams, MHS

Justin Williams is in his 7th year in MISD, teaching AP Literature & Composition and Film as Literature classes at Montgomery High School and also serving as the Academic Decathlon Coach. Justin is responsible for creating the Film as Literature course that has grown from 30 students to 166 enrolled for next year. He has coached the Academic Decathlon team to State the last two years, with 4 State Champions and $3500 in student scholarships. His AP Literature students regularly score 30% higher on the AP exams than the state average and he serves on several MHS committees. When his students were asked what is special about his teaching, there were numerous responses including: “He makes every person in the room feel welcome everyday… Many times even the most interesting classes have their uninteresting moments, but I have never felt that way in Mr. Williams class… He cares enough to find out how we learn and meet us there… He has the most subtle, but charismatic approach to teaching in the classroom and he reaches every student, every day… He makes seniors come to school just to be in his classroom…” And lastly, “Every interaction with Mr. Williams solidifies how much he cares.”

MISD Assistant Principal of the Year: Kelly Lout, Lone Star ES

Kelly Lout has served in Montgomery ISD since 1996 as both a teacher and an administrator and has served as the Assistant Principal at Lone Star for 7 years. She is very well known for her endurance as a marathon runner, but her endurance as an educator is highly regarded as she cultivates a positive school culture with her staff and students. She is coordinator of all 504 and ARD meetings at LSE and works very closely with the BASE staff to support the special needs students on her campus. She helps to support her staff as a Leader In Me campus, continuously instilling leadership skills into all Longhorn students.

MISD Principal of the Year: Tim Williams, Oak Hills JH

Tim has worked in Montgomery ISD since 2013 and opened Oak Hills in 2017. He is known for his elaborate fundraising tactics and creating a culture at Oak Hills that is positive, encouraging and creates a place where each student and staff member wants to come each day and are able to thrive. His ability to build relationships and create a family atmosphere on his campus has proven to serve his students and staff academically, emotionally and physically while he welcomes parent involvement and has a fabulous amount of parental support. His leadership skills helped him emerge to the top of an incredibly challenging pool of candidates to become the principal of Lake Creek HS next year and the amount of community support around that decision is no surprise thanks to his ability to authentically connect with Oak Hills parents, staff and students.

Congratulations to all Montgomery ISD award recipients. #TeamMontgomery is better because of the difference you make each and every day.