Tomball ISD GT Program Newsletter

Fall 2019

We are launching our Tomball ISD Gifted and Talented Program Newsletter!

First, we want to thank our parents and community for the support they provide to their students. We know that in Tomball ISD, we really are a 'Destination District' largely in part due to the culture of collaboration that transcends across district campus boundaries because we are ALL focused on student success everywhere!

Here are our Faces and their places~

We are truly fortunate to have such an amazing and strong group of educators serving GT and Advanced Academic programs on our campuses!

Tammy LaFountain, WCES

I have been teaching for twenty-one years. I graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1991 with a BBA in General Business. I worked in the business world for a few years. I went back to Sam Houston and earned my teaching certificate with a specialization in English. I have a Gifted and Talented Certification and have always taught GT and/or PAP students. I am also certified to teach ESL students and have enjoyed that as well. I started teaching in Tomball in 1995. After Brandon was born, I was able to stay home with my children for a few years before returning to Tomball ISD. Both of my children will be attending school in College Station this year! I look forward to working with your child this year!

Sheri Mohle, NIS

It is an honor to be the GT Specialist at Northpointe Intermediate! There is no better place to teach.

A little about me: I have taught in Leander ISD, Borger ISD, and La Porte ISD. This is my fourth year at Northpointe, and I couldn't be happier. I am married to the love of my life, and we have two sons. Both of our sons were identified as Gifted and Talented in Clear Creek ISD. We have been doing GT for a long time at our house! Our oldest son, Travis, graduated Valedictorian from the University of Houston College of Architecture and works at Gensler Houston architectural firm. Our youngest son, Austin, is a senior this year at the University of Houston and is majoring in Digital Media. He is in the process of publishing his first book, which is a manual for a table top game system he has created. He is currently designing an app to help enjoy the gaming experience.

My husband and I grew up in Austin and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. I have my Bachelor of Science in Education and my Masters in Education. In addition to being a certified Texas GT Specialist, I am a certified Texas Reading Specialist, and a certified Texas ESL Specialist. I love to read and allow my GT Students full access to my classroom library. I am definitely a book nerd! I look forward to another wonderful year at NIS!

Pinky Yuskiewicz, TCES and CPJH (6th)

I grew up in Houston and attended schools in Fort Bend ISD. Later, I graduated from the University of Houston with my undergraduate degree in Education as well as my Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision. In addition to my undergraduate and master’s degree, I am certified in all subject areas grades 1-8, English Language Arts and Reading grades 4-8, English as a Second Language grades 1-8 as well as in Gifted and Talented. I was fortunate to be able to teach in Fort Bend ISD for several years before moving to Chicago where I taught 5th grade. Even though winters were extremely cold, I loved living in the “windy city”. Later, I moved to England for four years and was able to travel to many different countries giving me the opportunity to learn and appreciate the cultures of people from around the world. What an extraordinary experience, and I loved every minute!

After a few moves between Fairfax, Virginia and Dallas teaching 5th and 6th grade, my family and I finally settled back to Houston. I have two, wonderful sons, Nicholas and Alexander. Nicholas

is in 10th grade at Tomball High School, and Alexander is in the 7th grade at Creekside Park Junior High. Besides teaching and spending time with my family, I enjoy reading, cooking, traveling and photography. I am so fortunate to be the Gifted and Talented specialist at Timber Creek Elementary School and Creekside Park Junior High.

Beth Clark, RES & DPES

I am a lifelong learner and an avid reader, who is eager to challenge each student and pass on my love for learning and problem solving.

I grew up in Baytown, TX, where I participated in Goose Creek ISD's GT and honors programs through 12th grade. I attended Baylor University for undergraduate work, and Texas Tech for my Masters Degree in Science.

I have been married for 16 years to my husband Rob, who works in logistics. I have three children all from Tomball ISD, the best school district around! My step-son graduated from Tomball High School, and Texas State, and is now working in Houston. My daughter-in-law is also a TISD teacher, at Oakcrest Intermediate. My youngest daughter is in 9th grade at TMHS, where she participates in FFA raising a goat, theater, and keeps me busy with her tumbling schedule. My other daughter is a freshman at Baylor majoring in premed. I will be attending a lot of football games this fall at Baylor, including my 25th college reunion!

I love animals, and I have a golden retriever named Sassie and a toy poodle named Scarlet. If I wasn't a teacher I would be a vet. My hobbies include reading, singing, swimming and boogey boarding. I enjoy white sandy beaches each summer and would love to live on the beach someday!​

Cathy Eng, CPES

I truly enjoy working with my students and making their day a fun and educational experience. Here is my background...I graduated from the University of Houston in 1994 and in 2000 decided that what I really wanted to do was to become a teacher. I went back to school and received my alternative teaching certification and haven't looked back since. I have taught in both Cypress Fairbanks I.S.D. and Tomball I.S.D. since October 2001. I am multi-certified in Elementary Education (EE through 4th), Gifted and Talented, English as a Second Language and Generic Special Education (Pk-12th). I am married and have two sons, William and Joshua. I feel blessed to be able to meet so many wonderful families and to be a part of the lives of my students.

Angie French, TES

I describe myself as the mom of two grown gifted kids who is married to a creatively gifted man when I introduce myself on Twitter as @teachagiftedkid. My family started my adventure down the path of becoming a teacher of the gifted learner in the 1990’s. From then to now, I’ve completed my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and worked 14 years with the gifted learner. Nine of those years have been as a GT Specialist in Tomball ISD. I’ve also coached several robotics teams and Destination Imagination teams with my strength being the research portion of their presentations. I also co-organized the district’s Chess Tournament for seven years. My hobbies include travel, reading and photography.

Mrs. French is currently supporting TES as a long-term GT Specialist substitute.

Jennifer Bull, LES

This is my 28th year in education and my 13th year in TISD as a GT Specialist.
I am married and have 3 daughters. I love spending time with my family, being involved with my church, and being involved in our family business.
I love working in Tomball with our gifted students.

At Lakewood, I serve as the UIL coordinator and Coach, DI Coordinator and IC Coach, Math and Science Olympiad Coordinator, and Math Olympiad Coach. I am also the UIL Coordinator & DI Coordinator for Tomball ISD and serve on the North Harris DI Regional board. This summer, I had the opportunity of serving as the Director of Camp Pursuit Summer Camp for GT. I’m excited to be at Lakewood and to be working at the elementary level once again!

Laurie Powell, TIS

I am thrilled to have the privilege of serving as the GT Specialist at Tomball Intermediate. In this position, I am able to work both with our incredible GT students, and with teachers to support them in the classroom. I have been in education for 20 years, beginning my career as a reading intervention teacher for grades K-6. Since then, I have taught Language Art, Math, Science and Social Studies, all at the intermediate level. I am a mother of 3, all of whom attend Texas State University.

Kaci Dengler, WES

Mrs. Dengler received her​ Bachelors of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University in 2009. WHOOP! This year is my eleventh year in education and I love being a part of the Tomball family! This year I am completing my Graduate studies through Lamar University and am looking forward to my December graduation with a degree in Educational Leadership. My husband and I live in a house divided---he's a longhorn. We have THREE children, 4 & 1/2 year old twin boys, Owen and Matthew; and our newest little guy, Nolan, who was born the first week of July. We also have a fur baby named Ziggy. We love spending time with our families and getting to Brenham (my hometown) any chance we can!

Stephanie Scott, CES & CPJH (6th)

This is my 20th year teaching in Tomball and my 1st year at CPJH. I am looking forward to a year filled with exciting learning experiences. My goal is for every child to have a positive learning experience. This will take us working as a team: teacher, child, and parent. Communication, consistency, and positive reinforcement will be the key to success for your child.

Cecelia Lummus, CFES

I am so thrilled to be a part of your child’s Gifted learning experience. This is going to be a great learning year for all of us! I'm looking forward to lots of great projects and the chance to get to work with each of your children.

Tori Cates, OIS

This will be my 7th year teaching and my 1st year as a GT Specialist. I graduated from Oklahoma Christian University and I earned my Masters of Education from Lamar University. I am a born and bred Tomball student and it has been an awesome experience to be back in Tomball and working with the amazing minds at Oakcrest Intermediate! Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two daughters. I also enjoy any outdoor activity: baseball, camping, fishing, hiking. I feel honored to be a part of such a great group of educators here in Tomball and I look forward to working with your child this year!

Sara Rush, CPJH

This is my 22nd year in education and my 6th year in Tomball ISD. In addition to teaching and becoming an Assistant Principal, I have held various other leadership capacities within education, such as Director of Instruction Helping Teacher and a content specialist for math. I received my masters of education at Sam Houston University and a bachelor of science at Louisiana State University. My husband and I enjoy being a part of the Tomball community and are blessed with three amazing children.

Chris Penny, WWJH

I have worked in education for 11 years. I began my career in Galena Park ISD at North Shore Middle School teaching mathematics and coaching football, basketball, and soccer for 8 years. The next two years, I have taught mathematics and served one year as department chair in Tomball ISD at Creekside Park Junior High. I spent the last year as an Assistant Principal at Creekside Park Junior High and Willow Wood Junior High. I received my Bachelors of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University and my Masters of Education in Administration from Lamar University. I'm very excited to be a part of the Willow Wood Junior High community.

Kathy Donigan, TJHS

For 33 years, I have served in education as an English/Language Arts teacher, English Department Chair and Guidance Counselor at the Junior High level. I have been both a teacher and a counselor at TJHS for the past 20 years and look forward to meeting you and working with you this year.

Kim McKinney, TSA

I’m extremely happy to be the Principal of Tomball Star Academy. I’m very passionate about education and I look forward to partnering with you to provide our students with a rigorous, engaging and high-quality high school experience. As the parent of two boys age 7 and 10, I recognize the importance of a strong home-school connection. Parents are every child’s first teacher and I believe that by working together, we can make sure that your child’s social, emotional and academic needs are met.

Before accepting the job at Tomball Star Academy, I served in a variety of teaching and educational leadership roles over the past 16 years, primarily in Tomball ISD. Some of the roles that I have held include Classroom Math Teacher and Coach, Assistant Principal and Associate Principal. My academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Texas and a Master of Education from Sam Houston State University.

My main goal is to ensure that every student is provided the highest quality of education possible in a safe and supportive learning environment. Working together as a team with our staff and parents, I am committed to helping each student achieve their very best. Every student is valued and worthy of our best effort. Thank you for the opportunity to serve your students in this role!

Jill Hayes, TMHS

Ms. Hayes has worked in education for 26 years. She began her education career as a teacher and coach in Louisiana and moved to Texas to join Tomball ISD as a teacher and coach at Tomball Junior High School. During her tenure with Tomball, she also served as an assistant principal at Tomball High School and Tomball Junior High School. Jill earned a bachelor of science in education at McNeese State University and a master of education in administration at Sam Houston State University.

John Vaglienty, THS

Mr. Vaglienty is a University of Houston graduate and began his career as a middle school teacher. He received his M.Ed. from Sam Houston State University. He has served as a middle school and high school Assistant Principal and currently as an Associate Principal. He is excited to be able to serve the THS community!

Crystal Romero-Mueller, Director of Advanced Academics

Crystal Romero-Mueller has served Texas public education for 25 years. She is serving Tomball ISD as the Director of Advanced Academics and Social Studies beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. Her love and passion for working with special populations have always included gifted education, and she is dedicated to the work with these learners.

Thank you Parents!

We were pleased to see many parents from across the district at our Fall Parent Engagement Sessions!

Thank you for your time to attend these opportunities.

If you would like to review the materials presented, click this link provided to our district website:

TISD 2019-20 Parent Advisory Committee

We are very grateful for the parent volunteers who are serving our district this year as members of the Parent Advisory Committee!

A BIG Shout out to the following parents~

Candy Mejia, WCES

Erica Bachmann, CES & CPJH

Janice Waggoner, RES

Stacey McDonald, DPES

Anita Andrews, TCES

Avery Unser, TCES

Melissa Semmler, LES

Syed Monowar, OIS

Alex Leslie, CFES

Amy Austin, NIS

Krishna Lanka, WES

Ellen Wangsmo, TIS

Jamie Zwerneman, TES

Amanda Loftin, TIS

Sharon Way, TJHS

Anne Miller, WWJH

If you have any ideas for feedback that could positively impact our program, please feel free to submit them any time:

GT Parent Support Groups Information

TAGT(Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented):

A group of connected parents using their experience in guiding gifted children can accomplish much more than parents working alone. Whether united in advocacy at the state level or simply for mutual support, establishing a Parent Support Group (PSG) strengthens the benefits gifted education can have in homes, classrooms, school districts and even at the post-secondary level.

SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted):

SENG Model Parent Groups (SMPGs)~

SMPGs bring together 10-20 parents of gifted and talented children to discuss such topics as motivation, discipline, stress management, and peer mentorships. The co-facilitators of these groups are knowledgeable about parenting and educating gifted children. However, they do not attempt to give expert advice. Instead, their facilitation provides a non-judgmental and nurturing atmosphere.

Kenneth Barron, Houston

Kevin Gray, Houston

Online Support Groups~

TISD 2nd - 8th G UIL Tournament

Saturday, Feb. 1st, 8am

30403 Quinn Road

Tomball, TX

DI Regional Tournament

Saturday, Feb. 22nd, 8am

Klein ISD ~ Campus TBD

DI State Tournament

Saturday, April 4th, 8am

701 South Nedderman Drive

Arlington, TX

TISD GT Showcase

Thursday, April 16th, 5:30pm

30330 Quinn Road

Tomball, TX

TISD Chess Tournament

Saturday, April 18th, 8am

18202 Shaw Road

Cypress, TX