From an early age, Nelda Luce Blair had what it takes to be a lawyer. When her third-grade teacher left the room for a few minutes, little Nelda went up to the front and took over the class — and got herself in trouble.

Her high-school English teacher told her that she wrote like a lawyer. Her speech teacher saw that spark in Nelda and put her on the debate team.

“These are the people — the teachers — who inspired me when I was growing up,” Blair told her Zoom audience at the Lake Houston Chamber’s annual — and unique — Teachers of the Year Lunch-In Oct. 20.

Honoring Lake Houston’s teachers had been scheduled for March, but COVID-19 intervened. This year, instead of enjoying their annual luncheon at the Humble Civic Center, teachers from each of the private and public schools in Lake Houston were treated to “special deliveries.” Chamber members volunteered to go to each school and present each honored teacher with an award, proclamations from area elected officials, gift bags filled with items from event sponsors, and lunch.

“You are the lifeblood of our community,” Blair told the teachers. “Not only do we appreciate you, all of the parents have certainly learned to appreciate you, too.”

During the Zoom lunch-in, State Rep. Dan Huberty presented an award from the chamber and a resolution from the Texas House of Representatives to Dr. Katherine Persson, who is retiring at the end of the year as president of Lone Star College-Kingwood.

“I’ve known Katherine for more than 20 years and, as our House resolution says, we honor her for the work she’s done to help so many young people earn a degree,” Huberty said. “Through her efforts, a countless number of students have been inspired to go to the next level in their education.”

Blair took viewers on her own journey through education as a fifth-generation Texan who was the first in her family to go to college.

“What a life changer it was when I was accepted into Baylor University,” she said, “and my law degree from the University of Houston Law Center opened even more doors for me.”

Today, Blair is president and owner of Blair Law Firm, president of the Conroe ISD Education Foundation, board member of the Lone Star College System’s Chancellors Advisory Council, and was appointed by Texas governors to the University of Houston and the Stephen F. Austin State University boards of regents.

“It was my teachers who inspired me,” she said, “pretty great for a little girl who got into trouble in the third grade for taking over the class.”

Blair ended the event by recognizing the parents who are assisting their children at home and learning to appreciate the teachers as well.

“Thank you to the chamber, Rep. Huberty and President Persson for advocating education,” Blair said. “As our schools go, so goes our community.”

The program can be viewed on the chamber’s Facebook page. Upcoming Lake Houston Chamber lunch-ins and BizComs are listed on the chamber website, lakehouston.org.

Teachers of the Year

Exceptional teachers who were honored:

Lone Star College – Kingwood:

Icess Fernandez, Brandolyn Jones, Ed.D., Matthew Newton, Ph.D., Nathalie Vega-Rhodes, M.S.

Holy Trinity Episcopal School

Emilse Escalante

Humble Christian School

Jessica Raglon-Russaw, Nathan Warner

Humble ISD

Atascocita Springs Elementary-Mary Burke

Bear Branch Elementary-Lisa Wilkey

Deerwood Elementary-Kasey Collette

Eagle Springs Elementary-Darcy Petzold

Elm Grove Elementary-Juliana Schone

Fall Creek Elementary-Kristen Edson

Foster Elementary-Lindsay Allen

Greentree Elementary-Terisa Spencer

Groves Elementary-Briana Boston

Hidden Hollow Elementary-Amy Shatzer

Humble Elementary-Keith Kitts

Jack Fields Elementary-Marleen Gomez

Lakeland Elementary-Vanesa Reyes

Lakeshore Elementary-Jonathan Kaciuba

Maplebrook Elementary-Lorrie Ogletree

North Belt Elementary-Esther Cundiff

Oak Forest Elementary-Crystal James

Oaks Elementary-Autumn Jackson

Park Lakes Elementary-Natasha Warchol

Pine Forest Elementary-Todd Limbaugh

Ridge Creek Elementary-Kimberly Nelson

River Pines Elementary-Lynsy Curry

Shadow Forest Elementary-Kasey Toensfeldt

Summerwood Elementary-Ashley Shirey

Timbers Elementary-Rebecca Spurgeon

Whispering Pines Elementary-Azuree Bernard

Willow Creek Elementary-Robin Hornback

Woodland Hills Elementary-Jennifer Heyl

Atascocita Middle-George Mayhall

Creekwood Middle-John Baron

Humble Middle-Lynsey Thrower

Kingwood Middle-Brittany Ransom

Riverwood Middle-Shawna McGrath

Ross Sterling Middle-Laurie Jack

Timberwood Middle-Heather Friedman

West Lake Middle-Linda Fruge

Woodcreek Middle-Jessica Kimble

Atascocita High School-Itzel Burt

Humble High School-Saul Keene

Kingwood High School-Anisha Razo

Kingwood Park High School-Rolanda Wilkins

Summer Creek High School-Yinka Boudreaux

Quest Early College High School-Valerie Booth

Career and Technology Education Center-Kelssem Quintal

Community Learning Center-Kerri Bearnth

The Rhodes School of Performing Arts

Humble Elementary School Campus-Shamekia Williams

Humble Middle School Campus-Vanessa Merino

Living Word Campus-Ling Zhang

Northshore Campus-Kamyra Harrisson

St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School

Leticia Garay, Rebecca Amstutz, April Dandridge

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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