The Abilene Education Foundation has announced three award winners of district-wide honors ahead of its Teachers in the Limelight Celebration dinner later this month. Honored for their work on their campuses are Mann Middle School band director Amber Moore, Craig Middle School coach Josh Ambroson and Abilene High School counselor Roxanne Bush.
The three staff members and other nominees will be recognized April 26 at the annual Teachers in the Limelight Celebration dinner at the Abilene Convention Center. Each year, every AISD campus nominates a teacher who has met the criteria established by Edwin Jennings Jr., who honored his parents with the creation of the Edwin and Agnes Jennings Teaching Excellence Awards.
Each honoree is honored on their respective campuses, featured in the local news media, and receives a monetary gift of $200. The AEF will announce its Edwin and Agnes Jennings Teaching Excellence Awards winners at its annual dinner. The winners of the Secondary and Elementary Teacher of the Year honors will each receive an additional monetary gift of $1,300.
In addition, the AEF honors secondary math and science teachers with an Edwin and Agnes Jennings Teaching Excellence Award. Nominations for those awards are made by students, parents, colleagues, and community members, as well as school administrators. Seven of the math nominees and six of the science nominees will each receive $500. Two of these nominees are presented an additional $1,000 and will receive the “Edwin and Agnes Jennings Teaching Excellence Award” as outstanding math and science teacher of the year.
In addition to the Jennings Awards, AEF also awards from a pool of nominees:
- Future Shapers travel stipend of $2,000, in partnership with Future Shapers of Abilene
- Fine Arts Teacher of the Year – $1,500 + season tickets to Abilene Philharmonic, in partnership with the Abilene Philharmonic Association
- Coach of the Year Award – $500 – through the J. B. and Winnie Gibbs Endowment
- Counselor of the Year Award – $500 – through the J. B. and Winnie Gibbs Endowment
Moore is this year’s Fine Arts Teacher of the Year award winner. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. She completed her Masters of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies degree and Principal certification through the University of Texas-Arlington. She joined the AISD in August 2019 as the director of bands at Mann Middle School, helping to organize the first pep rally at the school. The entire student body was honored during the pep rally, from Million Word readers to UIL academic participants in the band, choir, and orchestra. One parent commented on Moore: “Mrs. Moore is highly resourceful and can motivate students with diverse backgrounds and abilities.”
Ambroson won the JB and Winnie Gibbs Coach of the Year Award. “Coach Ammo” to his students, Ambroson graduated from McMurry University and was a student teacher and intern in the athletics program at Abilene High School under then-head football coach Del Van Cox. In August 2019, he began his coaching career at Craig Middle School, where he currently teaches 8th-grade U.S. History and coaches football, basketball, track and field, and soccer.
On top of these responsibilities, Ambroson has implemented a “Shoe-design” project in his history class where students present their understanding of free enterprise and civic virtue by designing and delivering a shoe that “can improve society or quality of life for others.” As a result, students developed innovative and beneficial designs, such as shoes with compartments for medical supplies and filters for sanitizing rainwater. His principal, Deb Stewart, said of Ambroson: “It is evident that Josh wants to make a positive difference in the lives of his students; he adds value to all the lives he meets at Craig.”
Bush won the JB and Winning Gibbs Counselor of the Year Award. Bush is in her 14th year in the AISD and serves as the Student Assistance Services/Crisis Counselor at Abilene High School. A graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, Bush volunteers much of her time to the Eagle Closet. This program helps store student necessities, such as coats and other items. AHS principal, Emme Siburt, said of Bush: “Roxanne is honorable, dependable, intelligent, and an amazingly caring counselor.”