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Cy-Fair Business November 2017

| November 1, 2017

Cyndi Matteson (center) was joined at the recognition ceremony by Leslie Francis (left), CFISD director of marketing and business relations, State Board of Education Chair Donna Bahorich, husband Rick Matteson and Cy-Fair High School Director of Instruction Jeffrey Burnthorn.

Cyndi Matteson (center) was joined at the recognition ceremony by Leslie Francis (left), CFISD director of marketing and business relations, State Board of Education Chair Donna Bahorich, husband Rick Matteson and Cy-Fair High School Director of Instruction Jeffrey Burnthorn.


Cyndi Matteson, a longtime and valuable volunteer for CFISD, was among the 15 school volunteers recognized Sept. 15 in Austin as 2017 Heroes for Children by the State Board of Education. The Heroes for Children honorees are selected annually by the state board and recognized for their volunteerism in the public schools of their communities.

During the ceremony, the honorees each received an individual plaque recognizing their service, a copy of the resolution approved by the board and photos commemorating the ceremony. In addition, each honoree’s name will be engraved on a plaque that will be permanently displayed at the Texas Education Agency. In all, the 15 honored combined for more than 127 years of service. “It was pretty awe-inspiring,” Matteson said. “To read their stories – it’s hard to believe I’m even in their company. It’s an honor past an honor.” For Matteson, volunteering was a way to give back after the time she missed. As a single mother for many years, she simply couldn’t find the time to volunteer.

When she retired, Matteson needed something to fill up her free time. So jumped into volunteering headfirst and hasn’t slowed.

Matteson has won CFISD’s global volunteer award in two of the past three years and serves on the district’s Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) Executive Board. Her volunteer work includes mentoring six students on a weekly basis, providing special staff lunches and treats, helping with orientations, reading to students, assisting with vision and hearing screenings and serving as a chaperone for extracurricular events.



Cypress-Fairbanks ISD received a rating of Superior by the Texas Education Agency (TEA)’s Schools FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) program – marking the 15th consecutive yearly top rating for CFISD.The rating is based on an analysis of staff and student data reported for the 2015-2016 school year and the budgetary and actual financial data for the 2016 fiscal year. All areas of the district’s financial management were reviewed according to 15 indicators. CFISD attained a score of 94 out of a possible 100.

Karen Smith, assistant superintendent of business and financial services, said, “This rating shows that our district is making the most of our taxpayers’ dollars and demon­­strates the quality of the district’s financial management and reporting system.”


The unique treehouse amenity was recognized with a Gold Award During 2017 TNLA Awards Celebration.

The unique treehouse amenity was recognized with a Gold Award During 2017 TNLA Awards Celebration.


The Texas Nursery Landscape Association (TNLA) recently presented Bridgeland, northwest Houston’s premier master planned community, with the Gold Award for its innovative Treehouse Park amenity during the 2017 TNLA Awards Celebration in Dallas.

The award was presented to the Bridgeland team and its building partner, LANDology, for developing the park, which includes a unique treehouse structure designed by Houston architect Richard Cate of MCCM Architects. The treehouse, despite being more than 35 feet above ground, never touches the live oak tree that surrounds it.

Built by Gulf Coast Landscaping, the two-story treehouse was created from renewable pine stock and is laced within a century-old oak tree, giving visitors the impression that the stately oak tree organically grew through the treehouse.

Designing the treehouse was only half of the project, according to LANDology’s Jonathan McMillian. Building the treehouse required being mindful of lateral roots beneath the ground which, if cut or disturbed, could have a negative impact on the oak tree. To that end, the site was excavated not with shovels, but with an air spade to preserve the roots of the stately tree that would serve as the treehouse’s host.

“When we would hit a root placing the footings, we would have to push that footing over and that meant re-designing the treehouse on the fly,” McMillian said. “A lot of work was happening in the field to adjust drawings in order to protect one of the property’s largest trees.”

In addition to protecting the roots, MCCM Architects also had to build the treehouse among an asymmetrical branching pattern, while creating a site that drained well, provided handicap access and, above all, could be future-proofed.

“Since the tree will continue to grow, we had to design the treehouse for the future, not just the immediate need,” McMillian said. “That way we could maintain a healthy tree.”

In the end, the treehouse construction was successful. As an added benefit, the treehouse is situated on a site well known by local Houston birding enthusiasts. Cate, a longtime birder who frequently visited the site prior to the existence of Bridgeland, designed the treehouse as an escape for Bridgeland residents — a place where they can enjoy a view of the Katy Prairie not often experienced. During the fall months, Treehouse Park serves as a perfect location for viewing sparrows, hawks and owls.

“Our goal with Bridgeland is to create a community that co-exists peacefully with the surrounding environment and provides a unique perspective of the area’s ecosystem,” said Heath Melton, vice president of Master Planned Communities. “Treehouse Park is an excellent example of that goal being realized.”

Learn more at Bridgeland.com.


Jennifer Klaus

Jennifer Klaus


Jennifer Klaus, coordinator of Languages Other Than English (L.O.T.E.), has been selected as the 2017 Texas Foreign Lan­guage Association Administrator of the Year.

It’s an honor and journey the one-time Spanish teacher is humbled for.

“In 2007, when I left the classroom to become an assistant principal, a brand-new chapter of my life began, and I didn’t look back,” Klaus said. “When the coordinator position became available four years ago, I seized an opportunity that was not part of my original plan. I knew I had finally found a job that fulfilled me perfectly.”

In her congratulatory letter to Klaus, TFLA Executive Director MayDell Jenks wrote that the board “was impressed by the obvious dedication” to students, school and community, and “inspired by the excellence” Klaus demonstrated. Klaus was honored at a luncheon during the TFLA Fall Conference on Oct. 14 in Arlington.

“This honor comes as no surprise because Ms. Klaus has been the catalyst to bringing our district to the forefront of foreign language education,” said Cameron Stephens, a Spanish teacher at Cy-Fair High School, she credits Klaus in playing a key role in CFISD updating its curriculum by utilizing input from nationally-recognized experts and employing cutting-edge strategies to give students a better cultural experience.

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