Teacher Appreciation

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to take this opportunity to thank teachers.  Specifically, I would like to thank my teachers.

I have had a very positive educational experience, thanks in part to each of the educators at districts in which I have been a student, teacher, and administrator.

This is me in 1st grade at Laura Jenkins Elementary in Midlothian ISD. This child thanks you, in advance, for the positive experience I will have as a result of your dedication.  I appreciate you, my teachers.  I hope to make you proud.


Ms. Nancy BergvallDirector of Instructional Technology & Library Services, Midlothian ISD

Ms. Bergvall was one of my elementary teachers in Midlothian ISD and instilled in me a love for school.  Ms. Bergvall is a learner at heart.

I appreciate you, Ms. Bergvall, for helping me love school.  I remember the layout of your classroom, how you had our desks arranged in a big horseshoe.  I loved that.  I remember your smile, too.  It’s the little things. And the big things.

Mr. James SmithPrincipal, Midlothian High School (Retired)

Mr. Smith was my middle school Earth Science teacher at Midlothian Middle School.

I appreciate you, Mr. Smith, for teaching me to love science.  I will not soon forget my rock collection, organized in an egg carton.  You encouraged us to bring in our collection early so you could provide help, if needed.  When I opened my carton, you announced, “gravel, gravel, gravel” as you pointed to each rock.  Then you encouraged me to look beyond my driveway for rocks.  You also tried to convince us that the sprinklers in the science lab were actually cameras, watching our behavior.  You loved science and I do, too.  Thank you.

Ms. Marthalu Dieterich, Spanish Teacher, Midlothian High School

Ms. Dieterich was my high school Spanish Teacher.  More than Spanish, Ms. Dieterich taught me to be kind.  I miss you, Ms. Dieterich, and your class.

I appreciate you, Ms. Dieterich, for instilling in me a love of Don Quixote, conjugating verbs in Spanish, and being kind.  You were an amazing teacher who dedicated class time to Random Acts of Kindness.  Thank you for teaching me to be kind.

Ms. Beverly Malke, Secondary Instructional Coach, Red Oak High School, Red Oak ISD

Ms. Malke was my AP Calculus teacher at Midlothian High School.  It was during her class that I applied and was accepted to Texas A&M University to enroll in the Department of Mathematics.  

I appreciate you, Ms. Malke, for presenting Calculus in such a way that I fell in love with the subject.  I became a Math Teacher because of you.


Ms. Susan Bailey, Girls Athletic Coordinator, Highland Park ISD

Ms. Bailey was my track coach at Midlothian High School.  

I appreciate you, Coach Bailey, for instilling in me a love of exercise, healthy habits, and commitment.  I have run 5 half marathons and 3 full marathons and can still hear you in my ear yelling – pull that rope!

Dr. Robert Capraro, Co-Director of the Aggie STEM Center and Professor Mathematics Education in the Department of Teaching Learning and Culture at Texas A&M University

Dr. Capraro served on my committee and supported me through many classes, writing my Thesis, and entering the teaching world.  

I appreciate you, Dr. Capraro, for your support through my time in graduate school. Thank you and Mrs. Dr. Capraro, as we respectfully referred to your loving wife, for nurturing me that year and a summer.  I won’t soon forget dinners with my classmates at your house.  Opening your home meant a lot to all of us.

Dr. Al Hemmle, Principal, Midlothian High School, Midlothian ISD

Dr. Hemmle hired me with zero experience to teach 8th grade mathematics at Midlothian Middle School in 2002.  The very next year he named me as department chair and brought me to a TASA conference to hear from the Schlecty Center about Working on the Work.  Little did I know I would have the opportunity to work side-by-side with John Horn from the Schlecty Center 13 years later!

I appreciate you, Dr. Hemmle, for convincing me to choose middle school over high school at that point in my career.  Thank you for allowing me to start my teaching career in my hometown.  There’s no place like home.

Dr. Norbert K. “Dutch” Ohlendorf, Adjunct Professor, University of Houston Clear Lake

Dr. Ohlendorf, a member of the Junction Boys and proud Texas Aggie, supported me through my Principal Internship.

I appreciate you, Dr. Ohlendorf, for your kind demeanor, thoughtful feedback, and one-on-one conversations I will not soon forget.  Thank you, also, for modeling commitment to a cause.


Dr. Nyla Watson, Senior Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Programs, Pearland ISD

Dr. Watson hired me in 2004 to teach Algebra I at Pearland Ninth Grade Center, then later to serve as Middle School Mathematics Specialist and High School Mathematics Specialist at the district level.

I appreciate you, Dr. Watson, for having faith in me.  I grew so much under your leadership and that set me up for the success I have experienced now.  Thank you for understanding when it was time for my family to move back to the DFW metroplex.  I will never forget something you told me that day – you said, “When you speak, people listen.”   I hope I have valuable things to say and an audience to listen.

Dr. Marilyn Denison, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Coppell ISD

Dr. Denison hired me in 2013 to serve as Director of Mathematics in Coppell ISD.

I appreciate you, Dr. Denison, for believing I could successfully steer this ship of K-12 Mathematics.  Thank you for nurturing the Coach in me.  A growth mindset is the cornerstone to success in yourself and your team.

This is me now. I thank you for the positive experience I have had as a result of your dedication. I appreciate you, my teachers.  I hope I have made you proud.



3 thoughts on “Teacher Appreciation

  1. Bev Malke says:

    You, Mary, have definitely made me proud. I’m honored to have been mentioned here. In education, we are rewarded by being able to watch our students as they become successful adults. There’s something even more special when they follow our footsteps in Education. Much like we wish for our own personal children, we hope that former students experience greater success than ours. I’m happy that you have done that!!
    – Mrs. Malke 🙂


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