Cardinal Spotlight: Week of May 22

Cardinal Spotlight

Good morning Cardinals,

Teachers on the Cardinal Spotlight will receive a golden ticket to wear jeans for a week once school starts. Students in the spotlight will receive a goodie bag with school supplies.

This week’s amazing Cardinals are:



Mrs. Gonzales joined the Southside team in September as the new Lead Counselor of the district and SHS.  Since her arrival, she has made a significant impact on our district’s entire counseling department.  She leads with a positive attitude and has so much compassion for our students.  Her knowledge and hard work do not go unrecognized. 

Adriana Rodriguez is our Southside Cardinal Class of 2020 Valedictorian.  She is a member of the National Honor Society and will soon earn her Associates Degree from Palo Alto College as a participant in the Southside Early College High School. Adriana has chosen to further her education at Texas A & M at San Antonio and is a recipient of a Valero Alamo Bowl Scholarship.



Mr. Garcia is the Matthey Middle School Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year.  He is the director of our Mighty Cardinal band and works tirelessly in passing on his passion for music to our students.  The middle school band is featured performing on our campus prior to extended breaks and for faculty appreciation lunches.  The Matthey Middle School band has earned the highest distinctions during the past two years at the UIL competition.  The band has earned the sweepstakes title during these competitions.

Katelyn Marie Cleaves is an eighth-grader at Matthey Middle School.  She is a lifelong cardinal.  She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, Student Council, Gear Up Club, and a member of the Matthey MS morning announcement team.  She is also an athlete and believes in giving back to her community.  She is excited to continue her education at Southside High School as a member of the Early College High School Class of 2024.  Katelyn Cleaves is one of this year’s recipients of the Matthey Middle School’s Cardinal PRIDE award.  



Our teacher of the week is Cameron Tufino. He is an ELAR teacher at Losoya, and he tackles any task presented to him. He doesn’t allow our students to settle for the minimum and strives for excellence in his classroom. With the recent changes in education due to the pandemic, Mr. Tufino has transitioned seamlessly since he already had students using google classroom. Mr. Tufino is Losoya’s Teacher of the Week.

The Losoya Student of the Week is 7th grader Isaiah Gonzales from Mr. Tufino’s class. He is a dedicated student that has continued his studies during this difficult time. Mr. Tufino stated he is very dedicated, and goes above and beyond by completing extension activities. Please see the attachment of the great work from Isaiah Gonzales, who is Losoya’s Student of the Week. 



Vicki Munoz, a 3rd-grade teacher at Pearce Elementary, has been at Southside ISD for 28 years. She has a fun-loving personality that many grow to adore. Families enjoy hearing her attention-grabbing voice, silly humor, and contagious laugh. There is never a dull moment when Mrs. Munoz is around! She makes coming to school and coming to work a happy place to be. One thing about Mrs. Munoz is that she has always been terrified of new technology, but with COVID-19 and the commitment to learning for her students, she has managed to DO IT SCARED! She has taken technology to a whole new level in her teaching and loving every minute of it. Her positive attitude keeps her going in the right direction as we not only bounce back but bounce forward during these challenging times.

Evelyn Garza, 5th-grade bilingual student at Pearce Elementary, is a future teacher in action! Her leadership skills and initiative are GREATLY appreciated on our campus. She always helps others with classwork, has a positive attitude, and demonstrates responsibility. She is always on time to class, has great attendance, attends most on campus and off-campus events, and opens/closes our ceremonies with a message in English and in Spanish. She loves going to GT class, lending a helping hand, Reading, and Science. Evelyn is a role model in all that she does, maintains a dedication to completing all tasks, and has Cardinal Pride. Evelyn, we salute your hard work and efforts! 



Katherine goes above and beyond for her kiddos and parents to make sure that they have their needs met. She has taken on various leadership roles such as Special Education Team Leader, sponsor for our PBIS Student Patrols, and Special Olympics. She demonstrated commitment to our Freedom Family and Southside ISD and I am blessed that she was able to make such a profound impact at Freedom. She will be sorely missed by all staff members next year because she has accepted a position much closer to her home. She would drive one hour to and from work each day for the past 3 years and was rarely absent. KUDOS to Katherine for all that she has done for the Freedom Family!

Mackenzie is known for her positivity and smile! She is described as a hard worker and never backs down from a challenge.  Not only does she do well academically, she was selected as an All-Star player for the Southside Jr. Cardinal basketball team.  Mackenzie was going to play in the Jr. Cardinal All-Star game, but unfortunately that event was canceled due to the coronavirus.  This is an accomplishment that she worked very hard for, and I’m sure she will keep at it, and be ready for next season.  Mackenzie also rose to the challenge of the new world of online learning.  She was an active student and took pride in her work.  In an online guidance lesson on grit, the students were asked if they agreed that having grit was important.  She responded that she did agree, and said, “we are learning something new so we have to put our all into learning a new way.” Mackenzie surely puts her all into what she does, and we at Freedom Elementary are so proud of her.



This week’s spotlight for Heritage Elementary is 3rd-grade teacher, Carol Calderon, and 5th-grade student, Eddie Herrera. Ms. Calderon has a way with kids that no one else has.  She has a heart of gold and absolutely loves kids. She was recently awarded the distinguished Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching! Congratulations Carol!

Eddie Herrera has attended Heritage since he was in Pre-K.  He is a member of our student leadership group.  Eddie is an excellent student!  He will be a 6th-grade student at Matthey for the upcoming school year! We will miss you Eddie!



Mrs. Morris is a wonderful teacher.  She loves her students and is passionate about teaching.  She has been an Ambassador for Gallardo Elementary and is always willing to help.

Sofia Flores is an Elementary National Honor Society member that is generous and puts others first.  She loves reading and cheer plus hanging out with her friends.  She’s not afraid to speak up for others and befriend those in need. 



Southside ISD dual language pre-k teacher, Vanessa Guerra, makes learning fun, energetic, and engaging for her students on a daily basis. However, she doesn’t stop with her classroom. Mrs. Guerra has a heart of gold and is always striving for the best for students, the campus, district, and community.  During this time of COVID-19 and the closing of schools, Mrs. Guerra has not only been dedicated and worked with her 4-year-old students on-line for nine weeks, but has also assisted with creating lesson plans for her grade level, creating mini phonics lesson videos, translating student work into Spanish, and assisted district-wide with making dual-language lessons for other grade levels and SISD campuses. Mrs. Guerra accomplishes all these tasks with great initiative and a positive attitude. We are honored she is a part of Menchaca Early Childhood Center. 

Isayanna was a delight to have in class. She is enthusiastic and hardworking. She is always eager to help and to do her best. She participated in all our hangouts and worked hard from home. She reached 100% of the kinder curriculum on ST Math because she was determined to be one of the top students. (Mrs. Peralta said, “I challenged my class on this and I had a great turn out.”). She has a wonderful attitude about school, even when she kept asking about going back to the classroom.