A standing ovation, several Bravo’s and bouquets for jobs well done go out to the six Teachers of the Year in Friendswood ISD.

The six include Mary Rinehart at Friendswood High School, Allison Coyle at Friendswood Junior High, Kurt Westhoff at Windsong Intermediate, Chantell Edmond at Bales, Carolyn Lowe of Westwood and Shawna Lewis of Cline Elementary.

During 38 years at FHS, Rinehart taught freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, U.S. history, world history, psychology and sociology. She has coached volleyball, basketball and track and has been one of the Academic Decathlon and UIL coaches who saw both groups repeatedly win state championships. Known for her infectious humor, Rinehart has made history “come alive” for her students. 

“The first year I taught, my current principal was a student in my class,” Rinehart said. “What greater reward can a teacher receive than to see former students take on the same responsibilities and want to share my passion, and now their passion for learning with young people.”

Coyle has been at FJH for five years and in education for seven years. She is a language arts teacher and has served as a cheerleading sponsor and Safe School Ambassador Family Group Leader.

Coyle works well with students encouraging them to make the most of their opportunities. She had taken the “long road” in her own life to reach her own success story. 

“(Former teacher Ruth Ann Krajefska) to this day has that way of making you feel like you are such a gift,” Coyle said. “I strive daily to be that same type of teacher in my own student’s lives.”

Teaching children the benefits of being physically active and watching them grow as well-rounded people is Westhoff’s biggest accomplishment, he said.

With 22 years in FISD, Westhoff has worked at Westwood Bales and Windsong, all geared toward his belief that every student matters. His Walk for Diabetes won him and FISD the Top Middle School in Texas in giving toward the cause.

Edmond has taught math, science and social students for 12 years at Bales with 17 years of service in education.

“The smiles, a kid sharing with the group and finally seeing that light bulb turn on help remind me what is important,” Bales said.

With six years as a first- or second-grade teacher, Lowe had a subject change occur this year when she became the Quest teacher.

She handled it with skill and success. Lowe had been Teacher of the Year before this, as well as a Teacher of the Year finalist in Region IV. She is an H-E-B Excellence in Education nominee.

Shawna Lewis has been in FISD for six years with 10 total in education. She teaches first grade and her passion is bringing the world into her classroom.

She believes it is her role to teach children how to find the answers and how to come up with questions in a way to stay current and lead through the 21st century.

Congratulations to the six.

Karolyn Gephart is director of communications for Friendswood ISD.

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