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The NBISD Board of Trustees honored the District Teachers of the Year at the April 12th board meeting.
From the 14 Campus Teachers of the Year, NBISD has selected Melisa Garffer from Veramendi Elementary as District Elementary Teacher of the Year and Kayle Arlaus of the New Braunfels Middle School as the District Secondary Teacher of the Year.
A selection committee selected these outstanding teachers for the district honor after judging their essay applications and conducting in-person interviews. Both recipients will compete at the regional level this summer with hopes of ultimately being named Texas Teacher of the Year.
2nd Grade Teacher at Veramendi Elementary School
2021 NBISD Elementary Teacher of the Year
Melissa Garffer has been an educator for 31 years and worked the past 29 years in New Braunfels ISD. She works currently as a 2nd Grade Teacher at Veramendi Elementary, a post she has held the past 4 years. Before that she worked at Carl Schurz Elementary in several roles including 2nd Grade Dual Language Teacher, Instructional Technology Specialist, Gifted & Talented Teacher and as a 4th Grade Bilingual Teacher. She worked as a teaching assistant and instructional assistant at The University of Texas for 4 years (1989-1993) before joining the NBISD family in 1993. She began her teaching career in 1986 as a teacher specialist and dyslexia interventionist for a private school.
“I feel honored and humbled. Honored since every Unicorn, every child, family, and educator has made heroic efforts to make this past year a successful learning adventure,” said Garffer. “ I am humbled to represent teachers as I witnessed many educators' creativity and courage as we figured out how to teach this year. We have figured it out together, which makes this honor this year incredibly special in my heart.”
Garffer earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Bucknell University and her master’s degree in Special Education (Learning Disabilities) from The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin). Garffer also completed several hours of post-graduate work in Educational Psychology & School Psychology at UT-Austin. She is certified for Elementary Self Contained (Grades PK-6th), Bilingual Education Supplemental - Spanish (Early Childhood-4th), and as a Principal (Early Childhood - 12th).
Garffer currently serves as a member of the NBISD Project Based Learning Training Team and is a Seesaw Campus Ambassador and Seesaw Certified Educator. In the past she has been part of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Support Team in NBISD and was the 2nd Grade Team Leader while at Carl Schurz Elementary. Her other leadership roles include serving on the Campus Improvement Council, District Education and Improvement Council, Campus Technology Team and the PTA Executive Board.
She is a frequent presenter and trainer with the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), the Texas Computer Educators Association (TCEA), the Texas Association of Gifted and Talented (TAGT) and the NBISD Summer Academy.
Her past honors include being a recipient of the 2006 TCEA Technology Specialist of the Year, the 1997 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Finalist from Carl Schurz and the 2021 Veramendi Elementary Teacher of the Year.
6th-8th English as a Second Language Teacher at New Braunfels Middle School
2021 NBISD Secondary Teacher of the Year
Kayle Arlaus has been an educator for the past 8 years and joined the New Braunfels ISD family 4 years ago. She currently works as a 6th-8th Grade English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher at New Braunfels Middle School, a post she has held for the past 4 years (2017-present). Before coming to NBISD she worked as a teacher and coach for 2 years (2015-2017) in Florida and 2 years (2013-2015) as a teacher and coach in Hays CISD.
“This whole experience has been both humbling and exciting,” said Arlaus “I feel recognized and appreciated by my peers and New Braunfels ISD. When I heard the drumline outside my door, and Mr. Hughes walked in to tell me I was named District Teacher of the Year, my initial thought was that I had stepped out of reality. I was in disbelief thinking, ‘How can it be me when there are so many outstanding educators nominated?’ It still seems too good to be true, but I am so grateful and honored.”
Arlaus received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. Mary’s University and is currently pursuing her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University. She is certified to teach English Language Arts and Reading in Grades 4th-12th and English as a Second Language Supplemental for Grades 4th-12th.
Her leadership roles on campus include serving on the Safety Harbor Middle (SHMS) School Principal’s Multicultural Advisory Committee as President, SHMS Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) Committee Leader, Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) Co-Coordinator at NBMS as well as the LPAC Coordinator for NBMS.
While teaching in Florida she was named to the Top 30 Percent of Teachers in Florida and served as a curriculum writer and supplemental certification course instructor for Pinellas County Schools. For the past two years she has been named as a runner-up for the NBMS Campus Teacher of the Year and was this year’s NBMS Campus Teacher of the Year. Her career highlights as a coach include being the coach with the most wins for the JV Softball team at Lehman High School (2013-2014)and District Track Champions at SHMS (2016-2107).
For more information about this recognition program, CLICK HERE.
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