There’s something good that happens when parents and community members step up to volunteer in schools.
They get to be called “Heroes for Children.”
Every year, the 15 members of the State Board of Education recognize 15 volunteers across Texas who give time and effort to support public schools and students.
In the last round of Heroes for Children, Fort Worth, Irving, and Prosper ISD all saw their nominees honored.
Ken Kuhl in fort worth runs the carnival at his daughter’s school, secured grants for outdoor classrooms, engaged parents and that’s just a few of his roles.
“I’m involved in a lot of ways but my favorite way is being in place in her school, seeing those bright, shining happy faces and figuring out ways to support them and to support their parents because parent engagement, I’ve come to believe, is a great component to great student outcomes,” Kuhl said.
Irving ISD volunteer Elsa Munoz spends her time helping teachers, helping at school events, and going to parent classes to support her children and her personal growth.
And in her 11 years in Prosper schools, Jill Beitel has served as a room mom, club chair; PTO officer, and also volunteers with the Prosper Education Foundation.
Kuhl in Fort Worth says schools always need more helping hands.
“Explaining to parents that any way you can get involved is gonna be beneficial. And there are plenty of ways. PTA can point you in the right direction. The office manager in the school office will have ways to plug in volunteers. Trust me, there’s always a way to do it. All you have to do is show up,” Kuhl said.
ABOUT THE NORTH TEXAS WINNERS:
Ken Kuhl (Fort Worth Independent School District – SBOE District 11)
Ken Kuhl has been a PTO member and officer of the Fort Worth ISD for the past five years. Ken is dedicated to making every child’s positive potential become a reality. He has planned and executed the annual carnival at his daughter’s elementary school and has led the district’s Council of PTAs as president. As a volunteer, Ken worked with parents, the community, and the district to secure the funds to build three new elementary schools in under-resourced Fort Worth communities. He also galvanized both parent and public support for the renovation of aging middle schools in order to make a positive impact on how students learn in their physical learning environment.
During the pandemic, Ken and his PTA colleagues were a source of support, encouragement, and strength to all of the district’s families. During that time, he organized, led, and moderated virtual town hall meetings to share school information provided by the district leadership team and answered parent questions. He also secured a grant from National PTA to build outdoor classrooms, which proved to be useful for both students and teachers. Ken’s leadership ability to build coalitions and partnerships among local and state elected officials, community stakeholders, and parents makes him an exemplary citizen and a real hero for the children of Fort Worth ISD.
Jill Beitel (Prosper Independent School District – SBOE District 12)
Jill Beitel has been a volunteer for Prosper ISD for the past 11 years. In her roles at the district, she has been involved in activities that assist teachers and provide opportunities for students. Her roles include serving as a lead room mom, a club and organization chairperson, a PTO officer, and a member of the planning committee to help with the development of the district’s Strategic Plan. Her commitment to the district led her to get involved with the Prosper Education Foundation, where she actively serves on the grants and scholarship committee and in several other capacities.
In addition, she serves on one of the Legacy Scholarship committees. She also volunteers for the Young Men’s Service League, several food pantries and assistance charities, Prosper Ladies Association, and Lovepacs Prosper. There are very few areas of the district and the greater Prosper community that Jill is not involved in serving as a model of grace, compassion, service, and integrity. Jill is a selfless servant leader committed to serving everyone she crosses paths with and deserves to be recognized as Prosper community’s Hero for Children.
Elsa Muñoz (Irving Independent School District – SBOE District 13)
Elsa Muñoz has volunteered at Townsell Elementary in Irving ISD for the past eight years. She sees the value in helping teachers because she knows it gives them much-needed time to prepare for quality instruction for their students. Elsa values the relationships she has with campus staff and the opportunity to learn more about the school setting. Elsa does not hesitate to change her schedule when she’s asked to volunteer for school events so that she can help in any way she can.
She has become an advocate for parent engagement with school activities. If she is not in the classroom volunteering, you will see Elsa helping with craft activities or working on event decorations for the school. She attends parent classes and encourages other parents to attend because she believes the parent classes offered at Irving ISD have helped her better support her children and her personal growth. Her positive and helpful spirit helps make Townsell Elementary a better place to be for its students.
Read about all the 2022 winners here.
The 2023 award recipients will be honored at the Board’s September 2023 general meeting in Austin. Each hero will receive a plaque and a resolution, and their names will be engraved on a perpetual plaque displayed at the Texas Education Agency headquarters.