Walnut Bend ES teacher named November Teacher of the Month

Fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher Molly Lashway thought she was finishing up a conference with her principal when she saw a parade of decorated vehicles coming around the corner outside.

As cars covered in colorful balloons and streamers rolled past to the sound of happy music, Walnut Bend Elementary School Principal Michele Dahlquist revealed to Lashway that she had been named the district’s November Teacher of the Month.

“I had no idea that this was happening this morning,” Lashway said. “I’m just glad I didn’t come to school dressed like a pilgrim today, because that was something that I considered for the day before Thanksgiving Break. But I’m really grateful for all of this.”

Lashway will begin her vacation driving a 2021 Ford Edge, courtesy of Sterling McCall Ford.

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan thanked Lashway for her unwavering commitment to teaching, despite spending the last two years battling a very rare form of cancer.

“I want to thank you because I understand that you’re dealing with your own health issues and you chose to come back and teach face-to-face,” Lathan said. “Thank you for your devotion to the students of HISD.”

Dahlquist said Lashway is an outstanding teacher and leader.

“Molly is a jewel,” Dahlquist said. “She has fit right in with our reading community. Other teachers go to her for support and information, and she’s always open to planning with them.”

Lashway started her teaching career at Walnut Bend Elementary seven years ago and returned to the campus this year.

“It’s been such a warm welcome coming back to this community that I loved being a part of,” Lashway said. “I put a real emphasis on building relationships and getting to know my students on a personal level, and that encourages them to reach toward their goals. Whether they’re at home or in person, my students are all giving it 100 percent regardless of the situation that is going on around us with this pandemic.”

HISD Area Superintendent James McSwain said the Teacher of the Month program is a way to recognize teachers who are not normally in the spotlight.

“There are some tremendous superstars in our classrooms, and they do such a great job,” McSwain said. “This award is representative of so many wonderful hardworking teachers that we have across this district that come in every day and make magic happen in the classroom.”

As part of the Teacher of the Month program, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and district leaders – along with a rep from Group 1 Automotive – surprise a deserving teacher. Each month, the selected teacher receives a gift basket and a luxury loaner vehicle.

Each of the seven HISD Area Superintendents will be responsible for selecting a teacher from their region to be honored from November 2020 to May 2021. Principals who would like to nominate a teacher on their campus should contact their school support officer or area superintendent directly.