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Thirty-plus year teacher still refers to kindergarten class as ‘home’

2015 April 16
by HISD Communications
William Ponder

William Ponder

When William Ponder joined Team HISD back in the spring of 1985, it wasn’t his first time in the classroom.

“I taught for six years before that, but then stopped,” he said. “All my friends were waiters, and they made great money and I was always broke. So I thought, ‘Well, I’m just gonna do this (be a waiter, too) for a little while and then I’ll do something else.’ Then I started thinking about how nice it was to be able to call in sick and still get a paycheck, and after five years—as corny as it sounds—I just really missed the kids.”

So Ponder took the plunge again, this time with HISD, and he’s been here ever since. The last 21 years he has been at River Oaks Elementary School, teaching kindergarten.

“When I first came to River Oaks, I was teaching fourth grade,” said Ponder. “Then the principal told me about an opening in kindergarten and asked me if I wanted it. And I said, ‘Oh, no! I might make those babies cry.’ But after a while, I realized I was with my people. I was home.”

Ponder officially marked his 30th anniversary with the district on April 15, but a number of other employees are also observing theirs in the first half of April and the last few days of March (March 29–April 18). See if you know anyone on this list:

40 years

  • Lela Spencer, associate teacher

20 years

  • Juanita Sada, secretary, Hamilton MS

15 years

  • Juan Castro, maintenance repairer, Construction & Facility Services
  • Roseline Daniel, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • James Hinton, teacher, Peck ES
  • Luis Ikwueke, associate teacher
  • Shonda Kemp, warehouser, Warehouse Operations
  • John Ngo, teacher, Park Place ES
  • Priscilla Peña, secretary, DeBakey HS
  • Rose Smith, attendant, Food Services
  • Glenda Williams, bus driver, Transportation Services

10 years

  • Vicky Caldwell, teacher, Jones Futures Academy
  • Mahmoud Chami, mechanic team lead, Transportation Services
  • Arthur Collier Jr, teacher, Black MS
  • Trevor Moore, teacher, Furr HS
  • Lydia Rodriguez, associate tutor, J.P. Henderson ES
  • Dawn Soria, teacher, Travis ES

5 years

  • Julia Armstrong, associate teacher
  • Maria Arroyo, attendant, Food Services
  • Adriane Brown, associate teacher
  • Toni Bright, associate teacher
  • Huy Duc Bui, teacher, J.R. Harris ES
  • Gilda Canales, attendant, Food Services
  • Marie Carabajal, associate teacher
  • Amanda Chapman, senior bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Mary Kay Ellis-Odea, teacher, Sharpstown Intl. School
  • Anne Fisher, teacher, Burbank Elementary
  • Carmen Flores, attendant, Food Services
  • Dianne Fonteneaux, associate teacher
  • Frances Green, associate teacher
  • Blanca Guerrero, attendant, Food Services
  • Rhonda Howard, social worker, T.H. Rogers
  • Lidia Ortega, attendant, Food Services
  • Fabiola Mendoza, attendant, Food Services
  • Juan Meza, senior mechanic, Transportation Services
  • Bernadette Moore, associate teacher
  • Ramona Mouton, attendant, Food Services
  • Janis Norman, clerk, HSPVA
  • Maria Rios, attendant, Food Services
  • Gloria Sanchez, associate teacher
  • Katrina Staggers, attendant, Food Services
  • Silvia Trinh, principal, Park Place ES
  • Maguadaulpe Vasquez-Collazo, attendant, Food Services
  • Maria Vega, attendant, Food Services
  • Wanda Watson, attendant, Food Services
Check back next Friday for more April Milestones. Leave a comment below if you’d like to congratulate any of the above employees.
4 Responses leave one →
  1. Oberon Coleman permalink
    April 17, 2015

    I see the twenty and forty year list. Who else is on the thirty year list? I did not see it.

    • HISD Communications permalink
      April 27, 2015

      Thanks for your interest! There were no employees hitting their 30-year anniversaries during the period indicated. HISD does most of its hiring during the summer months, so those lists tend to be super long. Not many folks are hired toward the end of the school year, though, so those lists are generally much shorter.

  2. T.Neal permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I would like to know if my name has been submitted for 10 year anniversary? I be contacted at

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