The Abilene Education Foundation honored 38 outstanding teachers at its 7th Annual Teachers in the Limelight Celebration on April 24 at the SoDA District Ballroom.

The teachers were recognized and received monetary awards thanks to a grant from Edwin and Agnes Jennings, who wished to honor teachers by funding the Edwin and Agnes Jennings Teaching Excellence Awards.

Five overall winners were announced at the conclusion of the evening, and teachers of the year from each campus and nominees for science and math teachers of the year were presented checks. A new honor introduced this year was the Future Shapers Award, a $2,000 travel gift given by a local business, Uniqu3 Solutions. The award is provided to reward an outstanding, up-and-coming teacher in the district.

The top five award winners for 2019 are:

  • TLC Elementary Teacher of the Year – Molly Harless, Lee Elementary
  • TLC Secondary Teacher of the Year – Kathy Ellison, Abilene High
  • TLC Science Teacher of the Year – Jessi Spitler, Cooper High
  • TLC Math Teacher of the Year – Allison Stanley, ATEMS
  • Future Shapers Award – Nicole Flores, Ortiz Elementary

Here is the complete list of campus, math and science nominees:

Elementary: Alisa Anderson, Jackson; Patti Bryan, Thomas; Sheri Daniell, Martinez; Nicole Flores, Ortiz; Mark Graham, Taylor; Kelli Grigsby, Reagan; Molly Harless, Lee; Debra Letz, Bonham; Brittny Lomax, Ward; Cristen Macke, Dyess; Stephanie McKnight, Bassetti; Kelly Roberts, Johnston; Cynthia Simmons, Bowie; Susie Vandever, Austin; Blair Wallace, Jane Long Early Learning Center.

Secondary: Chrissy Adkins, Abilene High; Cheryl Barber, Cooper High; Marcia Daniels, Mann Middle School; Robin Dennis, Cooper High; Kathy Ellison, Abilene High; Patricia Gonzalez, Woodson Center for Excellence; Jill Monroe, Madison Middle School; Nathan Monroe, ATEMS; Jeanette Rodriguez, Craig Middle School; Lorry Spears, Clack Middle School.

Science: Debra Borchert, Holland Medical High School; Julee Isenhower, ATEMS; Tracy Long, ATEMS; Amie Miller, Cooper; Ryan Owens, ATEMS; Jessi Spitler, Cooper High.

Math: Stephanie Angell, ATEMS; Katie Davenport, Cooper High; Scott (Jeff) Findley, Abilene High; Laurie Harris, Abilene High; Allison Stanley, ATEMS; Angela Walker, Abilene High; Tiffany Woodard, ATEMS.

For more information about the AEF and the Teachers in the Limelight Celebration, go to