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About Our Teachers

Instructional Staff - the Faculty
 
Twenty nine teachers instruct students in the core academic areas of English Language Arts (English and Reading), Math, Science and Social Studies, as well as electives in the areas of Art, Business (Technology), Health, Physical Education, Spanish, and Speech Communications. In addition, online instruction via Edgenuity and Schoology provide the opportunity to continue coursework in courses that are not available at this campus.
 
"About Us" - James Blankenship, Social Studies Teacher
 
Of his military service, James Blankenship says, “I was in the best branch, The US Navy, from 81-84 on USS Constellation and USS Ranger aircraft carriers.” He adds, “Even though Marines are one up on the army and air force since they are part of the Navy, Sailors and Marines generally have a mutual condescension for each other. Haze Gray and Underway!” – Now, how’s that for Navy pride!
 
"About Us" - Deborah Cathey, ELA & Speech Communications Teacher
 
I currently teach high school English and ELA elective classes as well as Speech Communications. With an undergraduate degree in Professional Writing from the University of Houston, I learned “real world” writing experience with Compaq and American Express. However, with a desire to work with children and share my love of reading, I earned dual teacher certifications in English and Special Education and later earned ESL certification. I began work in the Alternative Classes as a special education assistant in 2003 and after becoming certified, became an English teacher in this program in 2007.

My teaching philosophy can be illustrated by 2 questions I often ask my students:

How do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time.

How do you interpret difficult text? The answer is one piece at a time.

My favorite comment to hear from my students is, “May I borrow this book?” My next favorite comment would be “I can’t believe I read the whole thing! I’ve never read a whole book before!” Finally, my ears prick up when I hear anyone say,” I am reading the best book!” I instantly want to borrow it.

I am married and have two daughters who graduated from the Klein ISD schools. The oldest is a journalist and the youngest is a graduate student with a strong interest in photography. She has published a photographic essay book on life cycles and changes in her grandmother’s house. I have a few cats and a Pomeranian named Belle.
 
"About Us" - Steven Combs, Social Studies & Health Teacher
 
Mr. Combs succinctly says: he moved to Houston in 1963 from Florida; he graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1970; he enlisted in the Air Force and returned to Houston in 1975; he worked in the construction business for several years while continuing his education; he graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1994; he began teaching Social Studies courses and Health for grades 7-12 for Klein ISD in 1999; he is married and has a daughter.
 
"About Us" - Edwin Al Crooks, English Teacher
 
Hello, my name is Edwin Crooks, but personally, I prefer Al. I teach English and Language Arts. I have taught English and Language Arts for a little more than 10 years, the majority of them here. I grew up in Houston, Texas and attended Prairie View A&M University, home of the Purple Panthers. From there, I earned Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish. Currently, I am pursuing a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas (go Celts!). I chose English and Spanish because I believe that language is a very powerful tool. It is not just a form of communication but a means of expression, whether artistically, emotionally or intellectually. It is my pleasure to try to convey this perspective to my students so they, too, will realize that words have power and purpose, and the right combination of these words can have no bounds.
 
"About Us" - Joanne Fiore, Art Teacher
 

Joanne Fiore

Joanne Fiore has taught art to Alternative Classes intermediate and high school students since 2005. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts. She earned her Texas teacher certification in 2008 through Region 4 Education Service Center's Alternative Certification Program. She is also ESL certified. Prior to moving to Texas in 2000, she worked for several years as a graphic artist. Mrs. Fiore has travelled throughout Italy. One of her favorite places is Florence where she visited the Uffizi Gallery and climbed the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore Church) where the view of the city is spectacular. Mrs. Fiore is married and has a daughter and son and grandchild!












 
Shirley Fridie
"About Us" - Shirley Fridie, Special Education Teacher & Co-Teacher
 
Shirley Fridie is a special education teacher and co-teacher. She instructs students in English Language Arts (English and Reading) and many other courses. She says, "In my classes, students will develop skills in English and reading. I also co-teach with other core academic teachers." I graduated from Prairie View A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. I have a son, two dogs, and lots of cats.
 






"About Us" - Angela Gilbert, Special Education Teacher
 

Angela Gilbert

My name is Angela Gilbert. I graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama with a bachelors degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. After graduating from college, I taught Algebra I at Lanett High School in Lanett, Alabama. After one year of teaching in Lanett, I moved to Houston and taught at Klein Forest High School. Over the course of four years at Klein Forest, I taught Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. In 2011-2012, I took a year off from teaching to stay home with my son who is a toddler now. At Alternative Classes, I instruct special education students with a focus on math instruction. Because I believe that all students can learn, I try to motivate my students to gain interest in math and try their best on all assignments. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and watching television.
 






Ken Hartley
"About Us" - Ken Hartley, Social Studies & PE Teacher
 
Social Studies and Physical Education teacher Ken Hartley attended South Texas Junior College, Lamar University, and graduated from University of Houston with teaching degrees in history, physical education, and health. He is a native Houstonian (how many people can say that)! He was a high school basketball coach before coming to the Annex Alternative Classes. He says, “I have been teaching and coaching for almost 40 years, including head basketball coach at Westbury High School in HISD for 12 years and Joshua High School for 3 years. I coached Michael Clayton at Christian Life Academy in Baton Rouge. Mike has been the #1 receiver for Tampa Bay in the NFL.”

Ken Hartley is married and has one son who teaches math and coaches high school basketball. “Coach” Hartley enjoys sports, but is no longer active at playing sports. In history classes, he encourages students to read about the topic before the topic is discussed. He says “students need to have some understanding about the subject before we can discuss it”. In PE classes, he believes the course and activities gives students a chance to exert energy “or as they say, blow off steam”.
"About Us" - Claudette Hunt, Speech & English Teacher
 
Claudette Hunt's biographical highlights:
Bachelor of Science in Education from Jackson State University; major in Speech with a minor in Language Arts

Over 40 years teaching expereince, including 1 year on the elementary level and 39 years in secondary education

Began teaching in KISD in 1986 at Klein Oak High School; one of the "founding" core academic teachers for KISD Alternative Classes in 1994

Secondary English teacher in HISD, 1981-1986

Media Studies teacher in Bridgeport Public Schools, Bridgeport, Michigan, 1971-1981

Workshop speaker, test administrator, mentor for new teachers

"Ms. Hunt" says, "I decided that I wanted to be a teacher after I had a caring 2nd grade teacher. This is my 41st year as a classroom teacher. I presently teach intermediate grade 8 and high school English. It is my belief that all students can learn. It is my duty and calling to provide an education for the kind of students I have - not the kind of students I wished I had, or dreamed I had."

Ms. Hunt is a published author.
 
"About Us" - Robert Nixon - Isolated Instruction Teacher
 

Robert Nixon

Mr. Robert Nixon instructs students assigned to the isolated instruction classroom. Mr. Nixon earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Sam Houston State University with a minor in music. He taught music lessons to children and adults for five years and began substituting in Klein ISD in 2007. Mr. Nixon has completed several long-term substitute assignments at Alternative Classes, including secondary English teacher, secondary multi-disciplinary teacher and isolated instruction teacher. Mr. Nixon pursues teacher certification requirements for secondary English and math through an Alternative Certification Program.
 









"About Us" - Rhea Pringle - Elementary Teacher
 
Mrs. Rhea Pringle graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education. She later received a Master of Science degree from California State University Fullerton in Reading and certification as a Reading Specialist. Mrs. Pringle is currently certified in Texas for Elementary Education, Grades 1-8 and Special Education, Early Childhood-12. Prior to her employment in Klein ISD, Mrs. Pringle taught school full-time for 16 years, including a bilingual 2nd grade class for 6 years while she lived in California. Students in bilingual 2nd grade classes were taught core academic classes in Spanish – thus Mrs. Pringle taught reading and writing to the 2nd graders in Spanish. She became certified in English as a Second Language while teaching in California. She continued her teaching career as a special education inclusion teacher for grades K-5 in Deer Park, Texas and 7th grade at Granger Middle School in Indian Prairie District 204 in Naperville, Illinois. She then taught 5th grade at Fannin Elementary School in Bryan ISD and Thompson Elementary in Spring ISD.

Mrs. Pringle completed three courses of Spanish in college and lived in Ecuador for 1 ½ years. As a result, she can converse fluently in Spanish, which lead to her employment as a bilingual teacher in California.

She says, “Because of my husband’s work, I have moved several times and have taught in various states and school districts. I have learned a lot from each school setting, and have appreciated the growth I have had as a teacher from every experience.”

2016-2017 is Mrs. Pringle's eleventh year as elementary teacher at Alternative Classes - three as a long-term substitute and four as full-time elementary teacher. She enjoys reading, movies, baseball (she’s a big Astros fan), swimming, gardening, crafts, traveling, and having fun with her family.
 
"About Us" - Bradford Raphelt, Business Technology and Credit Recovery Teacher
 

Bradford Raphelt

Mr. Raphelt graduated from Abilene Christian University with two Bachelor of Business Administration degrees - one in Human Resource Management and the other in Finance. While at Abilene Christian University, he played football and earned All-American Honors as a punter in 2001.

In 1998, Mr. Raphelt joined the US Army, Texas Army National Guard. After attaining the rank of Sergeant with 10 years enlisted service, Mr. Raphelt attended Officer Candidate School to become an officer in 2008. He has served two tours of duty to combat zones: Iraq (2005) and Afghanistan (2011-2012 - notice the photo). He is currently an Engineer Officer with the rank of Captain.

After working in the corporate world for about five years, Mr. Raphelt decided to go into teaching. With teacher certification in Business Education, he has taught business courses for five years – 1 year in Mesquite, Texas, 2 years in Crowley, Louisiana, and 6 years in Klein ISD. Presently, Mr. Raphelt instructs students in business technology classes as well as credit recovery.

A couple of Mr. Raphelt’s thoughts:
• “Failure is not an option.” – If you allow failure to be an option, then you will fail more than you will succeed. If you try and do not succeed, then get back up and try again. Most successful companies and products have come after numerous unsuccessful attempts.
• “Education is one of the solely selfish things in life.” No one can make you learn, but then again, only you can make the decision to learn. Your decision to learn, with hard work, will give you the ability to succeed. Do not let anybody (your friends included) keep you from learning and getting YOUR education.

When Mr. Raphelt is not teaching or serving in the Army, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and exercising.
 
Jeff Wallace
"About Us" - Jeff Wallace, 6th Grade Teacher
 
Mr. Jeff Wallace graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2004 with a bachelor degree in English and a minor in Political Science. Mr. Wallace substituted in the Klein school district beginning January 2006, including a long-term 8th grade multi-disciplinary teacher position and a long-term 6th grade teacher position at Alternative Classes. He received Texas teacher certification after completing an internship at Alternative Classes in 2007-2008. Mr. Wallace grew up in the Klein community and attended school in KISD from elementary through graduation from Klein High School in 1999. His mother also taught in the Klein school district for over 20 years. Mr. Wallace is ardent about reading, writing, movies/television, traveling, politics, and working towards staying physically fit. He and his wife are new parents to three young children.
 










"About Us" - Lenora Wilkes, Science Teacher
 

Lenora Wilkes

Lynn Wilkes graduated from Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She received a Master of Science degree in General Science from Jackson State as well. She worked toward a doctorate at the University of Houston, but placed that endeavor on hold to spend more time with her family. Prior to Klein, she worked one year in Aldine ISD school district as a Chemistry, Physics and Oceanography teacher. Mrs. Wilkes also taught seventh and eighth grade students in Houston Independent School District before coming to Klein.

Mrs. Wilkes taught Biology, Chemistry, and Integrated Physics and Chemistry at Klein High School for 13 years. She became a science specialist for the district and at Klein High School before returning to the classroom at Alternative Classes. She also does private tutoring for students in Cy-Fair, Klein, and private schools.

Originally from Mississippi, Mrs. Wilkes will often spend the weekend there for a couple of days of horseback riding, visiting relatives and enjoying the country. She enjoys biking (motor), shopping for antiques, refinishing antiques, reading, and interior design. She has two children.
 
"About Us" - Lynda Worlow, Math Teacher
 
Lynda Worlow graduated in 1983 from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a specialization in Mathematics. She went on to teach special education math and spelling in Hillsboro, Texas before returning to Texas A&M to complete her Masters of Education. Since then, she has taught three years in Bryan, Texas and is in her tenth year in Klein Independent School District, having taught at Wunderlich Intermediate and Alternative Classes. She enjoys working with students in small groups and helping them to acquire skills that they may not have previously mastered. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, reading, crafts, and working with the Boy Scouts of America as a volunteer leader.
 
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