Chamber of Commerce welcomes new RISD teachers

(ROCKWALL, TX—August 10, 2016) New Rockwall ISD employees were welcomed to the “family” this morning by the Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses at the “Sailing Into the School Year” breakfast.

Newly appointed Superintendent John Villarreal expressed his excitement for his first school year serving in RISD.

“In my short time here, I can tell you, I have met some phenomenal people,” Villarreal said. “The community members that you see here love kids and love Rockwall ISD. I want you to be assured that you are in a great place where you will be supported. We have a level of community support that is unparalleled.”

Villarreal said RISD is expected to see an increase of 500 new students in the coming school year. He stressed the importance of maintaining Rockwall ISD’s reputation for having excellent schools, and said he will be making frequent visits to campuses all over the district to build relationships with the teachers.

“You were selected to join our district because you are excellence in action,” Villarreal said. “If I come into your classroom, I’m only there to see excellence. Judgment and blame is not something that I do. I call that behavior a waste.”

The program’s keynote speaker was District Teacher of the Year Brenda Sandoval-Jones, a kindergarten bilingual teacher from Dobbs Elementary.

Sandoval-Jones spoke on the importance of children as Rockwall’s overarching legacy and commended the district for its dedication to helping every child.

“Rockwall ISD is more than just a district,” Sandoval-Jones said. “You have decided to be part of a district that sees each one of us as part of a family. Rockwall IDS has its legacy: its children. We put children first. We do what we can to help them succeed, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

Sandoval-Jones said she attributes RISD’s success to the constant support that faculty members show each other.

“Rockwall ISD employees are people who value relationships,” Sandoval-Jones said. “There are many stories from across the district of how we have come together as family and helped each other out. You didn’t sign up for a job, you have joined a family.”

Chamber Vice President of Partner Engagement Darby Burkey expressed her gratefulness to the crowd for their dedication to RISD students.

“You are now all a part of our hometown spirit,” Burkey said. “Thank you for making Rockwall your choice when it comes to your career. You have the business leaders of this community behind you. Our gratitude for what you do for our children is absolutely overflowing.”

Robin Chouteau led a prayer, Rockwall Police Chief Kirk Riggs led the pledge of allegiance and Chamber Chairman of the Board David S. Mallard commended all of the educators in the crowd.

Mayor Jim Pruitt also thanked all of the teachers, principals and faculty present for ensuring Rockwall schools remain so strong.

“Thank you for being here on behalf of the Rockwall City Council,” Pruitt said. “You make our jobs easy. We can sell Rockwall because the first thing we do is sell the school district. This is where people want to be: this where we want to come and raise our children. We are putting our faith in you guys.”

All of the teachers received a goody bag full of gifts and supplies for the coming school year while they munched on breakfast food provided by Champions School of Real Estate. Each goody bag contained two tickets for Sail with Scott and a $25 gift card from Dodie’s Cajun Diner.

To close the breakfast, teachers were awarded a variety of door prizes. Congressman John Ratcliffe’s Office provided an American flag flown at the U.S. Capital Building. American National Bank awarded five teachers with $100 bills, Alliance Bank provided two iPad minis, and Northstar Bank provided a $250 gift card to Mardel Christian Supply store. Resthaven Funeral Home provided a $200 Walmart gift card and a flower arrangement, and Toyota of Rockwall provided an iPad.

Story and photos by Blue Ribbons News Reporter, Julie Anne White.

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