Recently, staff members at Klein Cain nominated their fellow peers for the teacher and assistant principal of the year award. The nominated educators then applied for the title by writing an essay about their accomplishments and outlooks on teaching. This year, assistant principal Chase DeBord and English teacher and football coach Andres Gomez received the award.

Teacher of the Year Andres Gomez

English teacher and football Andres Gomez accepting his teacher of the year award from Nicole Patin.
English teacher and football coach Andres Gomez accepting his teacher of the year award from principal Nicole Patin.

Andres Gomez discovered his passion for teaching when he was young, always had the desire to be a teacher. When he worked with younger kids when he was still in school it led him to find joy in passing on knowledge to others.

“I discovered my passion for teaching when I was young and I always wanted to be a teacher,” Gomez said. “Working with younger kids when I was in school helped me appreciate the value of passing on knowledge to other people.”

This year Gomez was able to take some risks in and outside of the classroom that weren’t considered to be the traditional way of doing things. He is thankful that the administration lets him do many diverse things and allows him to be successful.

“I do a lot of things in my classroom that aren’t the traditional way of doing things,” Gomez said. “I try to do different things and the administration allows me to do those and feel like I’m successful.”

Gomez felt honored and pleased with the acknowledgment associated with the award. He was very humble and courteous, graciously accepting the award even though his perceived notions about his misgivings were unprecedented. Gomez feels that it is special to be recognized and nominated by the administration and his fellow educators.

“I felt very honored and very proud of the recognition,” said Gomez. “I don’t necessarily think that I am the most deserving because there is a lot of great teachers but it is special to be recognized by administrators and by my peers because I was nominated by other teachers. It’s a great feeling.”

Assistant Principal of the Year Chase Debord

Debord began his career as a band director and knew since high school that he wanted to help students the way band benefited him through his high school years. And then at his previous school, he took more leadership roles in which had an impact on the whole school.

“Being an Assistant Principal, I got to take on leadership roles at my previous school, and it made me want to make an impact on a bigger scale,” Debord said. “I wanted to be able to step outside the band room and help an entire school.”

Assistant Principle Chase Debord accepting his teacher of the year award from Klein Cain Principle Nicole Patin
Assistant Principal Chase Debord accepting his teacher of the year award from Klein Cain Principal Nicole Patin.

Last year was Debord’s first year at Klein Cain, and last year was a big learning experience for him. This year he felt able to have a strong collaboration with his peers. Each administrator has their part and strengths and weaknesses in influencing school and students.

“This year I was more confident,” Debord said. “We have a great team of administrators and we all have strengths in different ways. This year we are able to know exactly who to lean on for what and we know who to go to better this year.”

Debord was extremely shocked and surprised after winning the end of the year award, and this year was his first time being nominated for any “of the year” award. He even felt a little guilty because of how strong of a team presence the administrative team has.

“I felt shocked, I have never been nominated for anything of the year before,” said Debord. “I almost felt a little guilty to be honest because we are such a strong team and I know that I get a lot of help from my colleagues to hopefully do a good job.”

Debord likes being an assistant principal because he enjoys seeing a student get it. He refers to it being much like a teacher, but when you’re an assistant principal the focus can shift from academics and more prominently shift to a student’s character.

“My favorite thing is when I see a student get it,” Debord states. “When you’re an AP it is that ‘a-ha’ moment when they learn something about life. Whether that being them getting back on the right track or realizing that they have more potential to do something better.”