By Mary Alys Cherry
A group of individuals who continually give of their time to the Clear Creek School District found themselves on the receiving end at the 2013 Clear Creek Education Foundation gala, which also honored five outstanding CCISD alumni during the Nov. 2 celebration.
A crowd of more than 370 helped cheer the honorees for their positive contributions to CCISD while raising over $60,000 to support academic enrichment programs.
“CCEF works year-round to develop and host programs that truly make a difference in the lives of CCISD students,” said CCEF Executive Director Kaci Hanson. “Our annual gala is a special time to educate the community on our initiatives and enlist their support, while honoring those that go the extra mile. This year’s event did not disappoint.”
She said the CCEF Board received numerous nominations from the community from which to select the award winners. Theme for the gala at South Shore Harbour Resort was “The Stakes are High … Education is Our Best Bet.”
This year’s recipients were:
-David Braun, Nassau Bay mayor pro-tem and marketing manager for Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership who was honored as the 2013 Citizen of the Year for consistently demonstrating his commitment to CCISD and excellence in public education through his volunteer efforts;
– Robert Davee, who served 12 years on the CCISD Board of Trustees, was presented the George B. Carlisle Distinguished Service Award for consistent demonstration of commitment to CCISD over time;
The five winners of the Distinguished Alumni Award, presented to alumni who are now accomplished professionals were:
– Jake Hamilton, who has won a string of awards, including a Telly and five Emmy nominations for his entertainment reporting while working for the CBS, Fox News and the Houston Chronicle since graduating in 2006 from Lake;
– Dr. Timothy B. Jones, a 1980 Lake grad and author of two books who has penned articles published in over a hundred publications and also has appeared on numerous TV shows;
– Ron Rand, a 1985 Creek grad who lives in Pearland and is now president and CEO of The Rand Group in Houston, as well as a partner in the Houston-based CPA firm, Hein & Associates;
– Dr. Mary Elizabeth Curtner-Smith, a 1976 Lake grad and former Clear Lake Intermediate teacher who is a tenured associate professor and member of the graduate faculty at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
– Kristy Krueger Tankersley, a 1979 Lake grad, long-time community volunteer and director of Special Spaces Houston that creates dream bedrooms for local children with life-threatening illnesses.
Valor Award in honor of a public servant (military, police, fire, etc.) who has gone above and beyond the call of duty:
– Lt. Col. Bradley Bruce, a 1995 Lake grad who manages the Army’s largest helicopter fleet, the Black Hawk fleet at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, and was cited for combat bravery in Iraq.
Four Bay Area residents, including two teachers, received the CCISD Superstar Award bestowed on a select group of individuals who support and enhance CCISD whether CCISD alumni or not. They are:
– Gene Hollier, a retired Air Force fighter pilot and TV actor, who has spent the past 30 years doing volunteer work, serving many organizations, including the Houston Rodeo and is often referred to as Mr. Volunteer;
– Jill Howard, Landolt Elementary bilingual teacher who was selected as this year’s Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators. and was first recognized as CCISD Elementary Teacher of the Year at the annual Rotary luncheon in May;
– Betty McCulloch, Clear Creek Intermediate science teacher who was named the 2014 CCISD Secondary Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for Regional Secondary Teacher of the Year;
– Dr. J. Floyd Williams, an optometrist and long-time resident, who has dedicated countless hours to the children of CCISD, providing over 2,500 vision exams and eye wear valued at $800,000.
– The Dennis Johnson Memorial Small Business Award, a new award this year, was presented to Clear Creek High grads Slade and Cindy Lewis, owners of Lewis Diamonds and Timepieces for their donations and volunteer work in the community.
One winner, Jill Howard, received a double-dose of recognition, and a special surprise. In honor of her outstanding accomplishment, she received the keys to a 2014 red Chevrolet Camaro, courtesy of Norman Frede Chevrolet from General Manager Joan McKinney. She will get to keep the car for one year.
“We are so proud of Mrs. Howard for this outstanding accomplishment and her never-ending contributions to the field of education,” said CCISD Superintendent Greg Smith, who orchestrated the surprise along with other members of the district’s administrative staff and education foundation. “The car was a great way of showing appreciation to her for a job well done.”
Established in 1992, the Clear Creek Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization located in League City. Comprised of volunteers with a passion for excellence, it raises funds to enrich academic achievement within Clear Creek School District. While the foundation operates independently of the school district, it is aligned and collaborates closely with CCISD to promote excellence in education.