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Check out the NISD 2019-20 teachers of the year

NEDERLAND — The Nederland Independent School District announced the district-wide 2019-20 Teachers of the Year, with assistant superintendent Stuart Kieschnick saying each teacher chosen exemplifies Bulldog greatness.

“Each year when we celebrate the campus Teachers of the Year, I am reminded of the commitment of our teachers and what they mean to our school community,” he said. “The Teachers of the Year are selected by their peers and recognized across the district.

“Not only are these individuals stellar in the classroom, but they also exemplify what it means to be dedicated to every student, every day. We look forward to honoring and recognizing them throughout the upcoming school year.”

At the elementary level, four educators were nominated by their peers for district recognition: Gracie DelaRose from Helena Park Elementary, Kathy Palombo from Highland Park Elementary, Adriana Garcia from Hillcrest Elementary and Lori Storey from Langham Elementary.

C.O. Wilson Middle School teacher Bill Williamson is a 2019-20 teacher of the year in the NISD.

Storey said it’s an honor to represent her school.

“It meant the world to me to be chosen,” she said. “I’ve been teaching a little over 20 years and it’s just an amazing honor. I never dreamed I would be Langham Teacher of the Year, let alone a district teacher of the year.”

Storey has been teaching at Langham Elementary for 21 years. She’s taught first, second and fourth grades.

Her favorite part of teaching is interacting with her students.

“In first grade we are teaching them how to read, and I love seeing all the little light bulbs go off,” she said. “In the older classes they are still learning new things, but in first grade it’s on a daily basis. You teach brand new things and see their progress every single day. It’s just amazing.”

After a particularly rocky year in education, Storey said it meant the world to see her hard work pay off.

“We’ve gone through so much this year from the plant explosion to a pandemic,” she said. “When we got out for spring break, no one imagined we wouldn’t return. We all had to make sacrifices and with technology there has been a huge learning curve for all of us.

“In all this chaos, to find out that my colleagues nominated me for Langham Elementary Teacher of the Year, that was huge. Then to be a district Teacher of the Year that made all the hard work we’ve been doing worth it. It’s just an honor.”

To NISD administration and her fellow co-workers, Storey wants to say “thank you.”

“Our community of NISD teachers and parents have shown a remarkable flexibility to work together to provide an ongoing education for our students through this tumultuous year,” she said. “It has been a privilege to work in such an amazing school district. I look forward to many more years.”

Along with Storey, secondary teachers from both middle schools and Nederland High were recognized.

Shirley DelaCruz is Nederland High School’s Teacher of the Year with Heather Price from Central Middle School and Bill Williamson from C.O. Wilson Middle School.

Bill Williamson, a seventh and eighth grade U.S. history teacher, said the experience is humbling.

“There are so many good teachers at my school,” he said. “It’s just a good school, good students and good community. It’s definitely an honor.”

Williamson won Teacher of the Year twice working at Texas City ISD. This is his first district-wide recognition.

He moved to Nederland five years ago.

“I’m very grateful,” he said. “I love teaching. My whole history has been at the middle school level. I love it because they are young adults. They are smart, clever and funny. I just enjoy it.”

Williamson said he is grateful for the camaraderie of his co-workers and the community.

“The kids walk in the door and they already have expectations,” he said. “That’s from teachers and parents before me. They come in ready to learn. They are polite and ready to do their jobs. My success is on the shoulders of the whole community, parents and the district.”