Skip to content

Horn Academy nurse ‘still loves coming to work’ after 40 years

2014 August 28
by HISD Communications
Horn Academy nurse Missy Bendiksen poses with "Mr. Bones," whom she keeps in her office to educate children about their bodies. Behind him hangs a tongue-in-cheek sign that reads, "This is what is left of the last child who didn't listen to the school nurse!"

Horn Academy Nurse Missy Bendiksen poses with “Mr. Bones,” whom she keeps in her office to educate children about their bodies. Behind him hangs a tongue-in-cheek sign that reads, “This is what is left of the last child who didn’t listen to the school nurse!”

As a school nurse in HISD, Melissa “Missy” Bendiksen has been bandaging scraped knees, soothing upset tummies, and helping children lead healthier lives for the past four decades. But the talented artist (.pdf) didn’t originally set out to pursue a career in healthcare.

“I didn’t see (art) as an occupation,” she explained. “In those days, you were either a nurse, a secretary, or a teacher, so I chose nurse. But I still love coming to work every day.”

Ironically, Bendiksen started out at The Rusk School in 1974, the same year her current principal, Sarah Harrington, was hired there as a student teacher.

“She just got her 40-year pin also,” said Bendiksen. “And when we compared notes, we remembered all the same people, but not each other. Rusk was then—and still is now—a pretty small school, so I guess we must have been busy in our own areas. I was in the clinic and she was in the classroom.”

Over the years, Bendiksen has also worked at Burbank, Gordon, Lockhart, MacArthur, and Northline elementary schools, but she has been at the Horn Academy for the longest, at 33 years and counting.

“When I came here, I was as old as the parents,” she observed, “and now, I’m as old as the grandparents.”

Among her most cherished memories is that of a student named Ingrid, who was afraid of a movie based on the children’s book, Miss Nelson Is Missing. “I have a picture of her sitting on my lap as a kid, watching that movie. She grew up and majored in music, but a few years ago, her father died of brain cancer, and I saw her at the funeral. We ended up taking another picture of her on my lap, so now I have them side-by-side: her as a child and her as a 30-year-old.”

Bendiksen officially marked her 40th anniversary with the district on Aug. 26, but a few other employees are also marking theirs this week (Aug. 24–31). See if you know anyone on this list:

40 years

  • Synthia Coleman, librarian, Sugar Grove Academy
  • Sanjuana Elizondo, principal, Scroggins ES
  • Kathleen Goodell, teacher, Eliot ES
  • Charlyn Kyles, teacher, Sharpstown HS
  • Eleanor Morse, teacher, Poe ES

35 years

  • Aurelia Ayala, clerk, Northline ES
  • Tamara Cubit, trainer, Risk Management
  • Aaron Karolinski, report analyst, Transportation Services
  • Patricia Pough, teacher, Bonham ES
  • Audrey Sanders-Smith, teacher, McGowen ES

30 years

  • Marsha Achee, teacher, Carrillo ES
  • Lawrence Allen, community relations liaison, Strategic Partnerships
  • Rosalinda Escamilla, secretary, Milby HS
  • Virginia Hernandez, crossing guard, J. R. Harris ES
  • Martha Jiner, teaching assistant, Bell ES
  • Ruby McKinney, teacher, Garden Villas ES

25 years

  • Guadalupe Aguirre, teacher, Crockett ES
  • Angelia Alexander, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Jeffrey Amerson, principal, Poe ES
  • Judith Anderson, teacher, Crespo ES
  • Esther Arnold, teacher, Shadowbriar ES
  • Cynthia Banda, principal, Ketelsen ES
  • Jacquetta Banks, teaching assistant, Atherton ES
  • Angela Barnes, attendant team lead, Food Services
  • Cheryle Boyd-Julien, teacher, Carrillo ES
  • Brenda Braziel, teacher, Madison HS
  • Ollie Butler, teacher, Edison MS
  • Blanca Cardenas, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Lois Carter, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Annette Chambers, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Jean Cius, teacher, Energy Institute HS
  • Melissa Corrigeux, teacher, Martinez ES
  • Jennifer Crow, teacher, Browning ES
  • Clayton Crook, principal, Cullen MS
  • Deborah Crowe, school support officer, Middle Schools Office
  • Jerri Deleon, principal, Johnston MS
  • Craig Edgley, assistant principal, Holland MS
  • Ann Felton, teacher, Briargrove ES
  • Diane Franz, teacher, DeBakey HSHP
  • Michael Freeman, program specialist, Special Education
  • Maria Garcia, plant operator, Construction & Facility Services
  • Bruce Green, bond program senior manager, Construction & Facility Services
  • Jacqueline Green, principal, Ketelsen ES
  • Elena Greer, teacher, De Zavala ES
  • Freddia Grooms, teacher, Bastian ES
  • Mary Hall, librarian, Petersen ES
  • Sharon Hamilton, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Patti Hernandez, teacher, Hamilton MS
  • Dennis Huffman, teacher, Lanier MS
  • Barbara Johnson, student information representative, Black MS
  • Donnis Johnson, speech therapist, Child Study
  • Shawndra Johnson, dropout prevention case worker, Wheatley HS
  • Dawn Kale, teacher, Piney Point ES
  • Dawn Kotecki, teacher, Chávez HS
  • Joan Lawrence, nurse, Lanier MS
  • Diana Leeson, school business manager, Bellaire HS
  • Carla Lewis, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Dorothy Loy, teacher, Garden Villas ES
  • Tracy Lyman, teacher, Lantrip ES
  • Marilyn Manjang, instructional specialist, Pilgrim Academy
  • Ronnie Martinez, plant operator, Construction & Facility Services
  • Vanessa Melançon, plant operator, Construction & Facility Services
  • Cindy Menn, teacher, Emerson ES
  • Michael Mitchell, dean of students, Sharpstown HS
  • Linda Mortimer, teacher, Kennedy ES
  • Carol Mosteit, principal, HSLECJ
  • Niels Nielsen, teacher, Lanier MS
  • Barbara O’Connor, teacher, Pershing MS
  • Taoridi Olabode, associate teacher
  • Debrah Patterson, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Maria Pellegrini, teacher, Scarborough ES
  • Miriam Picardi-Vaughan, teacher, Cunningham ES
  • Carol Roberson, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Sharron Raibon, counselor, Lamar HS
  • Jo Redd, reading teacher, Reagan HS
  • Juan Regalado, teacher, Berry ES
  • Alice Reuter, dean of students, Sharpstown Intl. School
  • Theresa Rose, principal, Bush ES
  • Samantha Rosenthal, program specialist, IT Education Solutions
  • Kathleen Sanders, evaluation specialist, Vision Programs
  • Anne Sasko, teacher, Kolter ES
  • Joan Scheumann, teacher, Vision Programs
  • Jennifer Sias, teacher, Robinson ES
  • Jo Sweeny, teacher, Red ES
  • Chere Sutton, associate teacher
  • Fry Tamara, teacher, Shadowbriar ES
  • Ida Thomas, teacher, Pilgrim Academy
  • Willie Tillmon, clerk, Transportation Services
  • Katherine To, teacher, White ES
  • Scherie Townes, teacher, Askew ES
  • Patricia Valdez, teacher, Scroggins ES
  • Barbara Valentine, teacher, Hamilton MS
  • Lisa Van Stone-Giering, licensed specialist in school psychology, Child Study
  • Sandra Washington, attendant, Food Services
  • Barbara Welch, teacher, Piney Point ES
  • Judy White, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Rosalind White, teacher, Washington HS
  • Bridget Williams, teacher, Tijerina ES
  • Gwylen Wright-Haywood, teacher, Northline ES

20 years

  • Kathy Clabron, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Martha Flores, plant operator, Construction & Facility Services
  • Freida Frand, teaching assistant, Pleasantville ES
  • Sonya Justice, attendant, Food Services
  • Tina Lewis, attendant, Food Services
  • Blanca Lira, student information representative, Martinez ES
  • Freida Possu, teacher, Northline ES
  • Faith Simmons, teacher, Bastian ES
  • Jonilee Taylor, associate teacher
  • Rigoberto Vaquiz, plant operator, Construction & Facility Services
  • Brenda Woodwards, crossing guard, Foster ES

15 years

  • Annette Barnes, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Likeythia Blackmon, teacher, T. H. Rogers
  • Jimmy Cavitt, security guard, Milby HS
  • Candace Garvin, Title I coordinator, School at St. George Place
  • Veronica Guzman, attendant, Food Services
  • Lorena Kelly, teaching assistant, R. P. Harris ES
  • Anissa Molina, teaching assistant, Stevens ES
  • Sandra Orduña, teaching assistant, Anderson ES

10 years

  • Delfina Arteaga, attendant, Food Services
  • Maria “Alex” Avalos, associate demographer, Office of Student Support
  • Galen Brownley, teacher, Camp Olympia
  • Donna Campbell, teacher, Sinclair ES
  • Brendella Chavis, clerk, Wesley ES
  • Yi-Chun Chen, Special Education chair, Carnegie Vanguard HS
  • Jerry Cornish, carpenter, Construction & Facility Services
  • Charlotte Darthard, teacher, Fondren ES
  • Carol Graves, associate teacher
  • LaShonda Herbert, teacher, Garcia ES
  • Fanny Jimenez, attendant, Food Services
  • Jane McKinney, teacher, Marshall MS
  • Francisco Molina Cruz, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Carolina Moore, teacher, De Chaumes ES
  • Martha Quintanilla, attendant, Food Services
  • Jeffrey Perrigo, wrangler, Camp Olympia
  • Linda Platt, teacher, Red ES
  • Zaira Ramos, literacy coach, Cornelius ES
  • Norma Rodriguez, attendant, Food Services
  • Leticia Roman-Veloz, attendant, Food Services
  • Jose Sada, teacher, Hamilton MS
  • Ella Sampson, attendant, Food Services
  • Hjordis Scranton, teaching assistant, Long Academy
  • Rosaura Torres, attendant, Food Services
  • Paul Varghese, teacher, Washington HS
  • Leticia Vasquez, attendant, Food Services
  • Enrika Williams, teacher, Milby HS

5 years

  • Latifa Agboola, teaching assistant, Henry MS
  • Martha Aguilar, crossing guard, McNamara ES
  • Jerry Baldwin, crossing guard, Petersen ES
  • Kimberly Bankston, teacher, Vision Programs
  • Eitan Basile, teaching assistant, Jones Futures Academy
  • Rosemary Batson, associate teacher
  • Annette Beck, teacher, Rusk ES
  • Juanita Bennett, teacher, Hilliard ES
  • Susan Bigelow, teacher, Pershing MS
  • Vanessa Bowie, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Gladys Cabrera, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Robert Chaney, crossing guard, Benavidez ES
  • Gerardo Chapa, teacher, Browning ES
  • Margaret Charles, crossing guard
  • Joy Charles-Erickson, teacher, Bonner ES
  • Diana Cifuentes, teacher, Hines-Caldwell ES
  • Curtis Criswell, crossing guard, Ross ES
  • Michelle Cummings, Special Education chair, Revere MS
  • Harold Edaburn, associate teacher
  • Kirsten Esslinger, teacher, Carrillo ES
  • Donjuan Floyd, teacher, Sam Houston MSTC
  • Barbara Fontaina, crossing guard, Eliot ES
  • Ross Ford, crossing guard, Wainwright ES
  • Marilyn Frank, crossing guard, Golfcrest ES
  • David Freeney, teacher, McReynolds MS
  • Ana Garcia, teaching assistant, Rodriguez ES
  • Patsy Gonzalez, crossing guard, Jefferson ES
  • Damian Greer, teacher, Cook ES
  • Della Hall, aide, Fondren ES
  • Jamie Handy, teacher, Sam Houston MSTC
  • Malissia Harrison, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Diana Heath, teacher, Rucker ES
  • Felicia Henderson, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • George Hixson, teacher, Travis ES
  • George Hunt, officer, Police Department
  • Kevin Hunt, officer, Madison HS
  • Leticia Jaimes, teacher, Tijerina ES
  • Francies James, attendant, Transportation Services
  • Carol Kazakewich, teacher, Whittier ES
  • Ivette Kestenbaum, teacher, Roosevelt ES
  • Jennifer Kuhleman, teacher, Westbury HS
  • Tommy Law, crossing guard, Anderson ES
  • Monique Lewis, teacher, Foerster ES
  • Tina Licata, general manager, Business Assistance
  • Kathryn McCracken, teacher, Sinclair ES
  • Gary McKee, teacher, Jackson MS
  • Susan McKinney, associate teacher
  • Nolan Mills, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Mia Mundy, associate teacher
  • Willie Murdock, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Stephen Niejadlik, associate teacher
  • Alice Nyamu, teacher, McNamara ES
  • Meredith O’Rourke, teacher, Lovett ES
  • Shirley Parker, associate teacher
  • Louella Parnell, associate teacher
  • Jerry Pearson, crossing guard, Benavidez ES
  • Reyna Pesina, associate teacher
  • Billy Polk, associate teacher
  • Byrd Powell, teacher, White ES
  • Landrum Price, officer, Police Department
  • Gloria Pullam, crossing guard, Young ES
  • Amy Reyes, student information representative, Dávila ES
  • Fabiola Rovirosa, associate teacher
  • Gerren Rush, teacher, Mark Twain ES
  • Maria Sanchez, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Gopal Sanchiher, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Joshua Silberman, teacher, Challenge HS
  • Marcia Simmons, crossing guard, Reynolds ES
  • Christine Siverand, teacher, Rodriguez ES
  • Billy Smith, tutor, Milby HS
  • Reuel Sosa, teacher, Atherton ES
  • Maria Soto, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Shanta Strawder, officer, Dowling MS
  • Andrea Taylor, teacher, Garden Villas ES
  • Marcus Thalmann, teacher, West Briar MS
  • Jarrod Thornhill, teacher, BCOM@Ryan
  • Esperanza Torres, clerk, Special Education
  • Kimberly Urban, accounting manager, Construction & Facility Services
  • Prentice Robinson, crossing guard, Cage ES
  • Patricia Smith, crossing guard, Bastian ES
  • Jason Whittie, associate teacher
  • Justin Williams, officer, Police Department
Check back next Friday for more Milestones. Leave a comment below if you’d like to congratulate any of the above employees.
4 Responses leave one →
  1. Tammy Moore permalink
    August 29, 2014

    Good morning, could you please check on my mile stone. Thanks.

  2. Virginia Martinez permalink
    August 29, 2014

    Congrats to all for your years of dedication and service to our Houston community! And a special Congrats to that awesome individual on the cover story! Gooo Missy! I too worked at Rusk as the school nurse for 4 years! I love being a school nurse and I hope that I can share that passion with my scholars for as long as Missy!

    -Virginia Martinez RN, BSN
    Dogan Elementary School Nurse

  3. Yin Feng permalink
    September 3, 2014

    My kids are in Horn. They really like Ms. Bendiksen. She is a very nice lady. I still remember when my little one lost her first tooth at school, She got a tiny little box for her tooth from Ms. Bendiksen. That made her sister jealous:”Why my tooth is not falling at school?” 🙂
    Not only being nice to the kids, Ms. Bendiksen is also a very good nurse. Each year I get a report from her telling me if the kids need eye doctor or dentist or something. And she needs a feedback!
    Dear Ms. Bendiksen, Thank you so much for your hard work for the kids! Congratulations for your 40-year-working anniversary!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS