Leann KasperMary Ann DavisJo Anne DeverTeresa GorresNancy HarveyAmy HuntCandace NattielRoxann PatrickSean RoyalFaustino SanchezJeffrey ShoresMa=ndi StaiApril Dawn WiemerMarcyne BryanAmy Gallen

Cove VFW honors CCISD teachers, students on Saturday

Special to Leader-Press


Copperas Cove ISD teachers and students compete for top military honors at VFW Post #8577 on Saturday. The local veterans’ organization and auxiliary holds their annual ceremony to announce the winners of their Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award, Patriot Pen, and Voice of Democracy contests.

Fifteen CCISD teachers were nominated by their respective schools. The judges will select one teacher in grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 whose nominations will then be forwarded to the district level. The nominees are selected based on their commitment to promote civic responsibility, teach flag etiquette and instill patriotism in their students.

Crossroads High School Principal J.T. Irick nominated Mandi Stai. Stai teaches grades 9-12 U.S. History at the alternative high school.

“Ms. Stai takes an avid interest in the academic and social success of her students,” Irick said. “Ms. Stai focuses on the whole student, making the extra effort to ensure her students’ total success. She assures her students are prepared to handle the challenges of the real world by helping them as they research and register for college, selective services, and to vote.”

Copperas Cove High School’s nomination is Roxann Patrick, an English teacher, nominated by Principal Miguel Timarky. Patrick is also a mentor teacher who assists and guides new English teachers at CCHS.

“She is tough, caring, and determined her students leave her class prepared for AP classes. (She is) an amazing lady who cares about every student, every teacher, and every administrator, the constant professional and a true educator,” Timarky said.  

Copperas Cove Junior High School teacher Sean Royal was nominated by Principal Amanda Crawley. Royal is a seventh-grade math teacher and is also a former sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.

“Mr. Royal teaches citizenship and character education in his math class daily,” Crawley said. “Mr. Royal teaches about patriotism within the context of his math class and students are inspired to have a better sense of national pride through Mr. Royal’s instruction. Mr. Royal (also) teaches the students about the different branches of the military over our video-based announcements for the whole campus.”

S.C. Lee Junior High School’s first nominee is Joanne Dever. Dever teaches seventh-grade science and is passionate about her profession says counselor Maggie Velarde.

“She understands that it is important to develop relationships with students and to be sympathetic towards her students’ life circumstances,” Velarde says. “She also understands that she is not a team of one and therefore, works cooperatively with school faculty and staff to ensure students’ emotional, personal, and physical needs are met.”

S.C. Lee Junior High’s second nominee is Mary Ann Davis, a dyslexia therapist and interventionist for grades 6-8, nominated by counselor Melissa Dewald.

“I have witnessed Ms. Davis transform students who struggle to read to students who aren’t afraid to raise their hand in class to read a paragraph or go to the library excited to check out a book,” Dewald said. “Her ability to connect with each one of her students is truly a gift. Ms. Davis has touched the lives of many children, and I expect her to continue doing so each and every school year.”

A third nominee from S.C. Lee Junior High School is Nancy Harvey. Harvey was nominated by Principal Kayleen Love for her level of service to her students, the staff, and the campus as a whole.

“She approaches all that she does with her students’ best interest at heart and can often be found spending time with them one on one or in a small group helping them with whatever the need. Her enthusiasm, demeanor, and behavior set an example for staff and students alike, and her positive impact on student achievement and the campus climate are outstanding,” Love said. (Her) students learn the importance and value of good character and citizenship and are able to demonstrate those qualities and apply them to all areas of their lives.”

House Creek Elementary nominee Amy Gallen is a role model of charity, patriotism, and respect, Principal Larea Gamble said. Gallen is credited with hosting the House Creek Veteran’s Day Parade annually.

“Her patriotism shows in her carriage, character, and conscious,” Gamble said. “She models citizenship and embeds social skills lessons on how to be a good citizen in her daily interactions with students and staff. She epitomizes community spirit, patriotism, and service to others.”

Williams/Ledger Elementary’s nominee is Amy Hunt, a fourth grade English/Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, nominated by Principal Marla Sullivan.

 “Amy strives to bring social studies to life utilizing our Studies Weekly curriculum as well as biography studies about important historical figures,” Sullivan said. “She works to develop a strong sense of community with all of her students. She has integrated an opening circle each morning where students are connected and has helped our mobile population transition more easily and has fostered a positive community within our student body.”

Hettie Halstead Elementary’s nominee is Leann Kasper, nominated by Principal Brian Jost.

“For the last five years Leann has been a sponsor for the campus student council. The council sets the foundations for leadership and civic responsibility in our students through planned service projects helping multiple organizations in the Copperas Cove community and beyond,” Jost said. “Leann has (also) been involved annually with bringing in local veterans to teach students the proper etiquette for raising lowering and folding the flag. The students learn about patriotism and our country’s traditions.”

Fairview/Miss Jewell’s first nominee is April-Dawn Wiemer nominated by Principal Leah Miller, fellow teacher Dianna Pellegrino, and the entire second grade team.

“April-Dawn Wiemer spends every October preparing students to honor veterans. Not only does she ensure that a Veteran’s Day evening performance is conducted, she also honors all veterans with a performance during the day and helps to organize a parade and breakfast to say thank you,” Miller said. “Mrs. Wiemer utilizes her music classroom to educate students through songs about the history of soldiers and the unique commitment they each make to their country.”

Fairview/Miss Jewell’s second nominee is Candace Nattiel, a Kindergarten teacher and former member of the Armed Forces, nominated by fellow teachers Joann Mendez and Holly Prax.

“She is a team player on campus who asks questions, seeks out information, and accepts guidance from her fellow teachers,” Mendez said. “She has learned through her military and civilian experiences how important it is to have a strong foundation in order to grow and be a productive citizen.”

Fairview/Miss Jewell’s third nominee is Jeffery Shores, nominated by Adrianne Waters.

“I have heard Jeff share some of his stories about being a good solider in the navy with his students,” Water said. “These examples help the kids to see first-hand what a good role model is. He models patience, acceptance, and praises kids for their accomplishments no matter how trivial.”

Fairview/Miss Jewell’s fourth nominee is fourth grade English Language Arts teacher Marcyne Bryan, nominated by teachers Andy Remedies and Courtney Liverpool.

“She will often hold discussions in her classroom about what it means to be a good citizen and what it means to be an American” Remedies and Liverpool said. “She will vote in elections and have the students exercise their right to vote through lessons in the classroom. She likes to integrate different biographies of Americans that stood for justice and the right of others in her classes.”

Clements/Parsons Elementary’s nominee is Faustino Sanchez, the campus music teacher, nominated by Principal Jimmy Shuck. Sanchez is the co-organizer of the campus Veteran’s Day Assembly, assists with robotics, and chairs the Student Honor Choir.

“Because his father is a veteran, he holds patriotism and honoring our nation to a high standard,” Shuck said. “He discusses the history behind the holiday and what it means to Americans. He emphasizes the expectations of student behavior and how to treat military, past and present, with respect.”

Martin Walker Elementary’s nominee is kindergarten teacher Teresa Gores, nominated by principal Earl Parcel.  

“She is a phenomenal model of democratic values and beliefs for her kindergarten students on a daily basis. Her dedication to promoting democratic values manifested itself when she took the initiative to establish the second elementary chapter of Junior Historians of Texas,” Parcel said. “If a mold was to be created that encompassed the traits and behaviors of a citizenship educator it would be in the likeness of Mrs. Gorres. America should not be afraid because Mrs. Gorres is doing her part to instill upon her student’s responsibility, etiquette, patriotism, and appreciation for American history.”

CCISD students in grades 6-8 have entered the VFW Patriot’s Pen contest which requires them to write a 300-400 word essay reflecting on American history and how they view today’s society. 

Cove High School students have entered this year’s Voice of Democracy contest. Established in 1947, the VOD requires students to record a 3-5 minute speech. 

Winners of both the Voice of Democracy and Patriots’ Pen contests will be announced along with the VFW Teachers of the Year on Saturday at the VFW Post #8577, 1506 Veterans Ave. The program includes lunch and begins at 11 AM.


Cutlines:  Headshots of the nominees

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207