Teacher Appreciation

The Adopt a Boerne Area Teacher or Support Admin 2020 campaign shows the true heart of the Boerne community.

By Trisha Doucette

On August 16, just a few days after the start of the new school year, two Boerne moms and business women sat down to brainstorm an idea. By the end of the day, Dainelle Scott and Kristin Garcia had recruited Kiana Torres and launched the Adopt a Boerne Area Teacher or Support Admin 2020 campaign through a Facebook page — and word spread like wildfire.

No one could have imagined the turn of events in mid-March, and the shutdown impacted school-aged children as much as businesses. But within days, the staff of Boerne ISD successfully rolled out online classes in what would turn out to be the new norm for many teachers and students. But thanks to the dedication of the teachers and administration, students were able to adjust and continue learning. Likewise, custodial and maintenance crews have worked diligently to keep all facilities sanitized.

When asked why this endeavor was important to her, Scott said, “The purpose of this program was simply to bring light and love to our teachers and admins during a time of uncertainty and so much negativity. They truly love and want the best for our students, and are learning and adjusting so quickly. We want to show them that we have their backs and that they are not alone in this! We are thankful for their commitment, persistence and diligence they each have for the futures of our children.”

That sentiment was echoed throughout the community and in just over a week, almost every staff member had been “adopted” by a BISD family or business. Boerne High School parent Christy Pettiette chose bookkeeper Nicole Bendele for her behind-the-scenes work in reopening the schools and Coach Koth for her commitment to the tennis teams, saying, “I am so thankful for our amazing Boerne ISD staff! By adopting them, we get to do a little something to show our gratitude for all the hard work and dedication they put in for our kiddos, be that a special treat, something they need for their class or office or just a meal here and there.” Kristin Shill adopted Wendy Sangdahl, a science teacher at Capt. Mark T. Voss Middle School and adds, “Teachers and staff at our schools do so much for our kids, day in and day out. With the challenges this year brings, they all deserve some special treatment more than ever.” 

Without a similar program model to follow, the only guidelines were to show generosity and appreciation. Questionnaires were sent to each staff member, gathering lists of their favorites items to pass on, and relationships have been built between teachers and families to determine what their exact needs are. Gifts have included both school supplies and personal items — elaborate gift baskets filled with favorite goodies, special lunches and entire family meals or simply a surprise soda and snack to get through the day. And many flower deliveries! For Amy Thornton, Theater Arts teacher at Boerne Middle School North, her gift included an entire stage set built for her school play! “Mike and Mandy Jones adopted me and were able to take my vision for the Fall Play — Shrek Jr. — and build the set! While I have enjoyed the lunches and flowers, the BEST gift was giving me back a gift of TIME! It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money for gifts. We just enjoy being back in the class with students and feeling appreciated,” says Thornton.

Jeremy Monroe, the 6th Grade Science Teacher and Boys Coach at Capt. Mark T. Voss Middle School adds, “The Schiffelbein family has made my year the best and we are still in the beginning of it. I came into class one morning to find a wonderful gift basket that included all my favorite things, and it made such a positive impact to start my day. My wife and I moved to Boerne in July 2019. We took a leap of faith moving because she didn’t have a job at the time. The Adopt-a-Teacher program and the Boerne community has made the transition much easier and we know this is the place we want to raise our family!”

Lourdes Rivas, the Principal’s Secretary at Capt. Mark T. Voss Middle School, was adopted by Janet Moore and her son, Landon Baudat, and says, “I am very proud and grateful to belong to the Boerne ISD and to be adopted by an amazing family. This is an awesome program that helps us feel the love and appreciation from our BISD families. The sweet gifts and surprises that we receive makes a huge impact, bringing smiles to our day-to-day challenges during this year.”

Shelene Livas, Kendall Elementary principal, is new to the district and overwhelmed by the support, “I have enjoyed an amazing welcome to the BISD family and to Boerne, Texas. Leading the Kendall Knights is such an honor. I love seeing the community rally behind the Adopt a Boerne Area Teacher or Support Admin campaign which brings so much joy to so many. I am #ThankfulGratefulBlessed.” Fellow principal Tanya Tate at Herff Elementary reciprocated, saying, “I was adopted by a family from Curington and I co-adopted the custodial staff from Kendall with a parent from that school. I am so grateful for the love shown to BISD faculty and staff by our community!”

Just over two months in, the program is a proven success and will continue through the end of the 2020/2021 school year. For Dainelle Scott, Kristin Garcia and Kiana Torres, they never doubted the community’s participation, but they also never dreamed the outpouring of appreciation would be so thoughtful as well as extravagant. “We believed in the heart of this community and Boerne showed up BIG! We are so very grateful for each person who teamed up with us. It could not have been done without the wonderful hearts of our community!” says Scott.

To see more examples of community kindness, visit the Adopt a Boerne Area Teacher or Support Admin 2020 Facebook page.

There are no words that could express the appreciation I have in my heart for the thoughtful gifts I have received from the Dufresne family. Over the years they have become my friends and I’ve enjoyed watching their beautiful children continue to learn and grow. That is the beauty of teaching — those connections that you make with the families and children that God brings into your path.” – Jeanne Gage, Pre-Kinder and Early Childhood Special Education, Cibolo Creek Elementary 

I can’t begin to express how great the program is for my morale personally this year. I was adopted by Audrey Zuber and her family and they have kept a smile on my face this year with their generosity and thoughtfulness. We are all going through a more challenging school year and this program has helped soften some of the harder days!” – 
Major Steve Laughery, Aerospace Science, Champion High School

It made my heart happy to see that 100% of the employees at BISD are adopted. The families who adopted us have such big hearts. They bless us with homemade cookies, office supplies, flowers, car washes, lunches and other great items. The Garris family has truly been a blessing to me. Just having a text message wishing me a wonderful week or to tell me I am the best is so uplifting.” – Debbie Fitzpatrick, Librarian, Boerne Middle School South

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