Silver Unicorn Award
About the Award
The Silver Unicorn is intended to provide appropriate recognition of individuals in the community who have rendered outstanding service to the children and youth of the New Braunfels Independent School District. This award is one of distinction and special honor from the District. After the inception of the program in 1965, no more than three awards shall be made annually.
Click here to download the nomination form.
New Braunfels ISD is now seeking nominations for the 2024 Silver Unicorn Award until the deadline of 4 p.m. on February 9. The Silver Unicorn, the highest honor presented by the NBISD Board of Trustees since 1965, is given annually to recognize individuals who have rendered outstanding service to the children and youth of NBISD. To date, more than 300 individuals have been presented with this prestigious award.
Nominators must complete a nomination form and include a written recommendation stating why the individual should receive this special honor. Up to three individuals will be selected by a selection committee.
Current NBISD employees are eligible to be nominated after five years of service to the district. Board members are eligible after serving a minimum of two (2) terms or six years on the Board and having completed their current term. Current Board members are not eligible. Any member of the community is eligible. The Silver Unicorn may also be presented posthumously.
Nomination forms are available online or at the NBISD Administration Center, located at 1000 N. Walnut, New Braunfels, TX 78130. Completed forms can be hand-delivered or mailed to the NBISD Administration Center. If mailing, please postmark by February 9, 2024, and mail to ATTENTION: Silver Unicorn Award Committee.
All nominators and recipients of this year’s Silver Unicorn Award will be notified of the results by mail after March 04, 2024. Recipients will be recognized on April 8, 2024. For more information, call (830) 643-5705.
New Braunfels High School teacher Donna Lemley is a shining example of what a Silver Unicorn Recipient exemplifies. She works tirelessly for the students and parents of NBISD, and has taught at both the elementary and secondary levels during the past 26 years.
Her years of service and experience include helping the most vulnerable and challenging students.
According to several of her nominators, she consistently demonstrates that she is an expert at giving these students a sense of purpose, determination, and focus. Not only does she provide them resources, but she helped create these resources so students had the opportunity to see the world around them.
As the teacher in charge of the credit recovery lab at NBHS, Lemley sets high expectations for productivity and behavior, and the kids cooperate because they know she cares about them.
According to her daughter, Lemley sees people for who they are. Loves them entirely, and becomes the missing puzzle piece they need to solve their problems. She even recalls one time when she was in middle school that her mother brought home a student’s laundry to wash because “you can’t learn well in dirty clothes.”
Simply stated, she makes her colleagues and all the students whose lives she touches better.
Born and raised in New Braunfels as a life-long Unicorn, Blanca Sanchez began her work for NBISD in 2012 as a member of the custodial staff at New Braunfels High School. She later transferred to the Education Center building, where she worked until retirement in 2018 - the same year her husband passed.
In 2019, she began volunteering at Maria’s Closet, which serves our district's most at-need student population and their families.
Despite never receiving a dime of compensation, or expecting it, Sanchez washes, irons or steams, and organizes all clothing donations, as well other items donated to Maria's Closet.
When visiting Maria's Closet, students and families are equipped with whatever is needed to meet their needs. This simple act of kindness helps keep them in school and assists them in finding success in the classroom - all due to her countless time and effort. She truly defines what it means to have a servant's heart.
For the past four years, she has volunteered hundreds of hours in this capacity. It is difficult to find someone so selfless to serve others in the way she serves the students and families of NBISD.
Karen Schwind has worked for NBISD for the last 27 years and has been the Health Services Coordinator for 17 years.
As education and health are interrelated, she has fiercely supported student and staff health. She consistently advocates for what is best for students, including immunization education, school safety and security, chronic health education, and encouraging healthy habits for all.
Schwind has successfully brought the importance of health to the forefront of education so staff can empower students to be engaged in learning. In her current role, she became the link between education and health. She always says, “Healthy students make better learners."
During the summer, when most school nurses take a long break, she works as a nurse at a summer camp. Her love for kids has no boundaries.
She radiates a contagious passion, has undoubtedly motivated students, families, and fellow nurses in many ways, and has changed countless lives. Her legacy will continue through her interactions and knowledge shared amongst the staff.
To her, the most important thing is that the kids are taken care of.