Borger ISD Announces Root-Gillespie Teacher of the Year (2) 

The Velma Freeman Gillespie and Zelma Freeman Root Foundation was established in 1995 by Mrs. Gillespie’s family to honor a deserving teacher at the end of each school year.  Velma Freeman Gillespie and Zelma Freeman Root were twin sisters who both taught in the Borger ISD system for over twenty-five years each.  Mrs. Root came to Borger in 1944. Mrs. Gillespie came to visit her from Arkansas in 1946 and never went back. Mrs. Gillespie taught in Borger Junior High School for 25 years.  Mrs. Root taught at Borger High School for 26 years.  Both retired in 1971.  After retiring from BISD, Zelma Root taught at Frank Phillips Junior College for five years.  Mrs. Gillespie had two sons, Dr. Hamp Gillespie and Dr. Mike Gillespie, who both graduated from Borger Independent School District.  After Velma Gillespie passed away in October 1994, her sons wanted to honor their mother and aunt by establishing the foundation.  

The award is given to a deserving teacher in the academic field who possesses the following: 

  1. A concern for students and the capability to inspire them
  1. The ability and willingness to work cooperatively with colleagues
  1. A drive to initiate activities that improve instruction for students
  1. An ability to work effectively with different groups in the community
  1. The desire to stay informed of current educational theories and practices
  1. An ability and willingness to make meaningful contributions to education
  1. Examples of innovations started in the nominees’ classrooms. 

The 2021-22 campus nominees included Kathryn Sims from Borger High School, Angelica Garay from Paul Belton Elementary, Charissa Drake from Gateway Elementary, Katie Rodriguez from Crockett Elementary, Lauren Hays from Borger Intermediate, and April Couch from Borger Middle School. 

This year the decision was very hard for the committee. They could not choose one winner so the award was presented to two teachers.  The Root-Gillespie award went to Charissa Drake and Lauren Hays. 

The nomination form for Mrs. Drake described her as ever-changing, charismatic, effective, influential, energizing, and transformative!  Also said of Mrs. Drake, “Have you ever crawled into an igloo to read a book? Crept on all fours into a dark bat cave for a day of learning by flashlight and glow sticks? Entered a pizza parlor to be inspired to write?  Mrs. Drake’s classes have!  She has a never give up attitude and cheers on her students to do the same!”

Mrs. Hays is described as an energetic, fun-loving asset to her campus and district.  The nomination form also stated, “A strength of Lauren’s philosophy of teaching is that she does not only teach students for one year, but she cares for and plays a role in their lives after they leave her classroom and campus. She has served two campuses, Gateway, and BIS. It has been fun to watch her be able to teach all her former students again at a different stage of their lives.  Her classroom is a safe place for students to be themselves and have a positive relationship with peers and teachers, while effectively interacting with literature.”   

Congratulations to all the candidates!  Thank you for your service!

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image of teachers


Posted by rebecca.calder On 08 August, 2022 at 9:08 AM