ABILENE – Three years ago, the Abilene ISD started a new award to honor staff members who are going above and beyond their call of duty – both at work and away from their jobs – to impact their community. 

The IMPACT Award was given out to six different people in 2019-20 before COVID shut down our schools in March 2020. We didn’t recognize anyone with an IMPACT Award during the 2020-21 school year, so the awards handed out in October mark the first time IMPACT Awards have been given out in the district since February 2020. 

Those three winners were Riley Scroggins (art teacher at ATEMS), Kim Guess (deaf education communication facilitator at Cooper), and the shop crew at Transportation. Here’s a brief synopsis of each of the three honorees:

Riley Scroggins, art teacher, ATEMS
Her co-worker who nominated her said of Riley:
“She is always a positive and encouraging presence on our campus, both towards her students and her colleagues. Last year, she was the sponsor of STARS, a student organization that promotes positivity on campus and recognizes both students and teachers for their accomplishments. The encouragement and recognition this group showed me at several times during the year was greatly appreciated.”

Away from campus, Riley inspires true creativity, passion, and kindness towards others among her art students. She collaborates with community organizations such as ACU and The Grace Museum to provide opportunities for her students to show off their artwork to the community and inspire those who see it.

Kim Gress, deaf education communication facilitator, Cooper
Her co-worker who nominated her, said of Kim:
“She has a heart of gold and is a dear mentor to me. She works on a completely different campus but is still willing to volunteer her time to help me in my classroom after working hours. She encourages me and is so passionate about supporting our kids and promoting language acquisition.”

Away from campus, Kim not only goes above and beyond serving Abilene’s deaf and hard-of-hearing students, she also volunteers to interpret in the community and at her church. She spends her free time helping Deaf Ed teachers, supporting the Deaf Community and attending Deaf Events and raising money for Deaf Charities.

Ken Bryan, shop foreman; Russell Allen, mechanic; Robert Anaya, mechanic; David Butler, mechanic; Greg Cruse, parts/records specialist; Domingo Hernandez Jr., mechanic; Claudio Moreno de la Cruz, assistant mechanic; Arnold Torres, mechanic.
Transportation Shop Crew
This group has been innovative in the way it works, moving from a breakdown and repair shop to a preventative maintenance shop. To do that they have developed more and more extensive preventative maintenance check sheets that are done on each bus, some weekly, some monthly, some by semester, and another one they do yearly. When they find issues on a bus, they actively look at the other similar buses (sometimes grouped by year, sometimes grouped by emission standard) and see if they are exhibiting similar wear and address with the same bus group.

In addition, they are also doing more in-depth repairs in house (not sending repairs out to other vendors, except warranty work). They repair several different engine types, all by taking them apart and fixing the parts inside these expensive units to save the district money. They rework bus windows to reduce the number of new windows we must buy (they rework cracked/broken glass sashes to reuse them). The guys meet together daily and share things they are seeing with different buses, this helps us also to see if have issues that affect more than one bus. We have a driver that does seat repair and replacement for us to reduce the amount of money we were spending before. The driver sews the seat backs and seat cushion covers so we don’t have to purchase them already made, thus saving us substantially in that area.