CFISD NAMES NEW PRINCIPAL FOR CYPRESS CREEK HS
Vicki Snokhous, principal at Arnold Middle School, was named the new principal at Cypress Creek High School on Oct. 19. Snokhous replaces Sandy Trujillo, who announced her resignation this fall.
Snokhous has 32 years of experience in education, 18 of them in CFISD. Her CFISD career began in 1997 as an eighth-grade earth science teacher at Dean Middle School, where she served one year before moving to Cy-Fair High School as a science teacher. Following two years in that role and another year as an at-risk helping teacher, she was promoted to assistant principal at Cy-Fair and served three years. In 2004, she was named associate principal at Cy-Fair and helped lead the campus for five years before accepting her current position as principal at Arnold.
CFISD NAMES INAUGURAL PRINCIPAL FOR CYPRESS PARK HS
Chris Hecker, principal at Dean Middle School, was named the first principal for CFISD’s 11th high school, Cypress Park High School, on Oct. 19.
Cypress Park High School is under construction at FM 529 and Westgreen Blvd. with a scheduled opening date of August 2016. Designed by PBK Architects, the 592,000-square-foot facility is being built by Satterfield & Pontikes.
Hecker has 18 years of experience in education, all of them in CFISD. His career began in 1997 as a teacher at Langham Creek High School, where he served for seven years before being promoted to assistant principal at Dean. Hecker served two years in that role before helping open Cypress Woods High School as an assistant principal in 2006. After a year in that position, Hecker was promoted to director of instruction, serving one year before being named to his current principal position at Dean.
He received his Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Master in Educational Leadership from the University of Houston. Hecker earned his superintendent certification from Sam Houston State University.
CFISD NAMES NEW PRINCIPAL FOR ARNOLD MS
Jodi Matteson, principal at Millsap Elementary School, was named the new principal at Arnold Middle School on Nov. 13. Matteson replaces Vicki Snokhous, who was named principal of Cypress Creek High School on Oct. 19.
Matteson has 31 years of experience, all of them in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. Her career started as a classroom teacher at Lowery and Fiest elementary schools, serving 17 combined years. She helped open Aragon Middle School in 2001 as the academic achievement specialist and served three years before being named assistant principal at Moore Elementary School. Following a year at Moore, Matteson was named assistant principal at Lee Elementary School, and served three years before accepting her current principal position at Millsap.
Matteson earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master of Education in Education Administration from Sam Houston State University.
TASA NAMES CFISD BOARD THE TOP SCHOOL BOARD IN TEXAS
The CFISD Board of Trustees was named the 2015 Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Outstanding School Board at the TASA/TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) Convention, Oct. 2 in Austin.
CFISD’s seven trustees underwent an interview process at the convention before being named the statewide winner from among four other finalists: Gunter ISD, La Joya ISD, North East ISD and Socorro ISD.
Since 1971, the program has recognized outstanding Texas school boards for commitment and service that has made a positive impact on Texas public school students.
CFISD was initially selected to represent Region 4 as an award nominee in July, then notified of its state finalist status in September.
“Winning the TASA Outstanding School Board is an incredible honor that our Board will cherish forever,” said Don Ryan, CFISD board president. “This achievement would not have been possible without the support and encouragement we have received from our school district, community and Region 4, and is truly a validation of our unified commitment to serve Every Student, Every Day in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.”
CFISD’s Trustees are: Don Ryan, president; Tom Jackson, vice president; Christine Hartley, secretary; Bob Covey, trustee; Kevin H. Hoffman, trustee; Darcy Mingoia, trustee; and Dr. John Ogletree Jr., trustee.
EDUCATOR WINS OUTSTANDING TEACHING OF THE HUMANITIES AWARD
Retired Cypress Woods High School teacher Candace Tannous was recognized on Oct. 1 as a recipient of the Humanities Texas 2015 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award.
Humanities Texas presents the awards annually to Texas social studies and language arts teachers who have made exemplary contributions in teaching, curriculum development and extracurricular programming. More than 450 teachers were nominated for the 2015 awards, and Tannous was one of 11 winners named statewide.
District 7 State Sen. Paul Bettencourt and Chase Untermeyer, Humanities Texas board member and former ambassador to Qatar, presented the award to Tannous at the Cypress Woods staff meeting on Oct. 1. Tannous was given an additional $5,000 prize, while Cypress Woods won $500 to purchase instructional materials.
Sen. Bettencourt praised Tannous, who retired in June, for her outstanding application. He said he was particularly impressed that she brought in Holocaust survivor Walter Kase to speak with students.
“She was exceptional at taking historical events and bringing them to life for the kids,” Sen. Bettencourt said.
Tannous’s colleague, Cypress Woods teacher George Villamagna, nominated her for the award last fall.
“She is the epitome of what a Texas teacher of the humanities is,” Villamagna said. “We were in the same room together for eight years, teaching a book called American Studies, which is junior English AP with AP U.S. history.”
After being nominated by Villamagna, Tannous completed the application and required essays for the award.
“It’s sort of validation for all the things that I believe in as a teacher,” Tannous said. “I believe that we can become better human beings by studying history, by seeing how literature reflects history, by seeing how music and art lift us up as human beings. A good day in our classroom was some music, some art, talking about history, talking about literature and talking about good writing. To me that was the best day. So, to win this award validates all that I believe in as
Following the presentation, Cypress Woods student leaders announced to Tannous that the school had officially earned No Place for Hate status by the Anti-Defamation League, and signed a “Resolution of Respect” banner to confirm the goal that Tannous had targeted for the school.
“Ms. Tannous models a pure sense of kindness that I wish for every student at Cypress Woods to absorb and use throughout life,” said Gary Kinninger, Cypress Woods principal. I cannot think of anyone more deserving for this award than Candace.”
Tannous, who taught 31 years in CFISD at Hamilton Middle School and Cypress Woods, said she was honored to accept the award in the environment she loved the most.
“High school is the best place on earth,” she said. “Everybody talks about the real world. This is the real world. Everything after high school is an imitation of high school. We’ve got the whole world in this place—we’ve got auto tech, culinary arts, history, the richness of music and theatre, orchestra, band. Competition and sports are here. Math is here, science is here, literature is here. And the spirit of wanting to know the discovery, of watching students come alive and find out who they are. Self-actualization is here.
“This is the most exciting place in the world to work, a public high school,” Tannous said. “I’ve loved every minute