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Winners announced at NBISD's first Excellence Awards

New Braunfels ISD hosted its inaugural Excellence Awards ceremony on Monday, April 25, at the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center. The three biggest awards of the evening were revealed, including the first ever recipient of the Duane Trujillo Commitment to Children Award along with the Elementary and Secondary District Teachers of the Year.

Duane Trujillo Commitment to Children Award

Frank Ortiz won the Duane Trujillo Award

The first ever Duane Trujillo Award, named after former Carl Schurz Principal Duane Trujillo, who passed away earlier this year. Trujillo spent 17 years with NBISD, working at multiple campuses.

“Duane’s passion for working with students was evident to everyone he met,” said NBISD Executive Director of Communications Rebecca Villarreal, who served as Master of Ceremony for the event. “His laughter, passion and love of life for his students will never be forgotten by those he worked with.”

The award went to Frank Ortiz who has worked for NBISD as a custodian for 30 years at several campuses. His current work locations are Veramendi Elementary and Oak Run Middle School. 

According to those who nominated him, he is a kind and wonderful person and has served all of the campuses he has worked at with diligence and extreme care. His ability to adapt and adjust while embracing challenges demonstrates a passion for growth.

NBISD District Teachers of the Year

From the 14 Campus Teachers of the Year, NBISD has selected Marcella McDonald from Veramendi Elementary as District Elementary Teacher of the Year and Denise Ortiz of the New Braunfels High School as the District Secondary Teacher of the Year. 

A selection committee selected these outstanding teachers for the district honors 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.

Elementary Teacher of the Year

Marcie McDonald was named Elementary Teacher of the Year

McDonald currently is a FOCUS teacher at Veramendi, where she has worked since 2020. She has been an educator for nearly 30 years in general education and special education. 

She said she is able to empathize with others who have disabilities after she was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 6. McDonald said that she believes that you can never set your expectations too high for a child.

McDonald has a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Special Education from Texas State University and a Master in Education-Administration from Stephen F. Austin University. She also has certifications in Generic Special Education (PK-12); Elementary Self-Contained (1-8); Principal (EC-12); and English as a Second Language Supplemental (EC-12). 

Previously, McDonald has worked as a life skills, special education and 4th and 5th grade teacher during her career at North East ISD, Northside ISD, Cy Fair ISD. Throughout her teaching career, McDonald also has been appointed to multiple leadership positions as well as being nominated for numerous awards.

Secondary Teacher of the Year

Denise Ortiz was announced as Secondary Teacher of the Year

Denise Ortiz, New Braunfels High School Aquatic Science and Advanced Placement Environmental Sciences teacher, was named this year’s Secondary Teacher of the Year. Ortiz has been an educator at NBISD for 24 years.

In her application, Ortiz said that she applauds her fellow teachers for their teamwork, comradery, commitment and dedication, especially during the most recent years that have brought many new challenges to the profession. 

Ortiz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Texas State University and a Master’s in Multidisciplinary studies from the University of the Incarnate Word. She also holds multiple certifications, including her Texas Education Certificates in Composite Science and Secondary Biology and English as a Second Language Supplemental Certification. In addition, Ortiz is working on obtaining her principal certification. 

Along with being a teacher, Ortiz holds membership and or has been involved with the National Science Teachers Association, TCEQ water monitor, NBHS Attendance Committee, NBHS AP Budget Committee, NBISD DEIC, NBISD Science Vertical team and the NBHS Technology committee. She also has won many awards over her career, including being named the NBISD District Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2013-14 and a recipient of the Lamar B. Mirabeau Educational Excellence Award.

Other award winners from the evening included:

Substitute of the Year

Cindy Ansorge

Counselor of the Year

Desiree Morris, Veramendi Elementary

Nurse of the Year

Kimberly Hensley, RN, County Line Elementary

Transportation Employee of the Year

Peter Girard, Shop Foreman

Assistant Principal of the Year

Craig Kuhrt, DAEP

Instructional Aide of the Year

Shasta Scroggin, Veramendi Elementary

Support Services Employee of the Year

Frank Ortiz, Lead Custodian, Veramendi/ORMS

Curriculum Support Employee of the Year

Stacey Roff, Behavior Specialist

Campus Administrative Support Employee of the Year

Maria Keppel, Voss Farms Elementary, Administrative Assistant

District Administrative Support Employee of the Year

Glenda Perez, Payroll Coordinator

Principal of the Year

Greg Hughes, New Braunfels Middle School

Professional of the Year

Deborah Cary, Early Education Coordinator & Dyslexia Facilitator


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