school names honorees

Family members, friends and the Aldine ISD Board of Education, pose with five of the six honorees who had schools or facilities named after them during the Sept. 19 Board of Trustees meeting.

The Aldine ISD Board of Trustees honored six individuals for their dedicated service over the years to the school district by naming schools or facilities after them during the Sept. 19 Board meeting.

Those honored were former Trustees Merlin Griggs, Rick Ogden and Ernest Mendel, current Trustee Rose Avalos, Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Archie Blanson.

The Board’s School Names Committee, consisting of chairman Paul Shanklin and members Dr. Kimberley Booker and Patricia Bourgeois, recommended naming the new Greenspoint EC/PK campus the Merlin Griggs, Sr. EC/PK Campus, renaming Rayford Road Intermediate School as Rick Ogden Elementary School, the new East Side Early College campus the Rose M. Avalos Early College Campus, renaming the future Aldine Heritage Museum after Ernest F. Mendel, renaming the Aldine ISD Resource and Staff Development Center the Dr. Wanda Bamberg Resource and Staff Development Center and naming the new Career Technical High School the Dr. Archie Blanson Career and Technical Education High School.

Mr. Griggs was an outstanding community volunteer and Board member. He served on the Aldine ISD Board for nine years. Before his Board service, he served on various campus and district committees, including the 2007 Steering Committee that saw the successful passage of the $365 million bond referendum. Mr. Griggs was a devoted family man to his wife Cathy and his two sons attended Aldine ISD schools and graduated from Nimitz High School. Mr. Griggs was a model trustee and attended numerous trainings and meetings to be visible in the schools and community. As a Board member, he held all four offices, including president, vice-president, secretary and assistant secretary. He also chaired various committees. Mr. Griggs passed away in December 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Mr. Ogden served on the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees for 27 years and was the longest serving Board member when he retired in December 2016. Mr. Ogden and his wife Charlotte lived in the Aldine community for 32 years and raised their four children who all attended Aldine schools. Before becoming a Board member, Mr. Ogden was an engaged parent serving his children’s schools and the district on various projects and committees including strategic planning and steering committees for bond referendums. Over the years, Mr. Ogden held all four board offices more than once. He served as president, vice-president, secretary and assistant secretary. He also chaired various Board committees over the years to support district initiatives. Mr. Ogden was also a well-known state leader for the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). Mr. Ogden served as TASB president, was a Master Trustee, a TASB Director and served on the TASB Risk Management Fund Board. Mr. Ogden provided leadership by presenting numerous workshops and sessions for fellow Board members across the state. Mr. Ogden also worked with the Center for the Reform of School Systems (CRSS) to train Boards across the state. He has served as a mentor to the district’s team of eight to support their knowledge and understanding of a school Board member’s role.
Ms. Avalos has lived in Aldine since she was two-months-old. She attended school in Aldine ISD all 12 years and graduated from MacArthur High School. Then she served the district for 33 years as a teacher, counselor, program director, and assistant principal and finally as principal of MacArthur High School. Ms. Avalos was named the district Principal of the Year in 2002 and 2003. She has served on the Aldine ISD Board since May 2006. During her tenure as a Board member, she has held all four Board offices and has served as a regional director with the Texas Association of School Boards.

Mr. Mendel served on the Aldine school board in the 1940s. Generations of the Mendel family graduated from Aldine schools, including Marrs High School, Aldine High School and Nimitz High School. Mr. Mendel and his wife Dora had four boys: Ernest Jr., Calvin, Clarence and Gene. The Mendel family farm included 153 acres. Known for his quiet demeanor and strong work ethic, Mr. Mendel passed away on April 27, 1952 at the age of 52. Mendel Elementary School was named in his honor in 1954. Since that day, many students have received an outstanding academic foundation at Mendel Elementary School. The campus has always enjoyed the benefits of being a neighborhood school.

Dr. Bamberg is entering her 36th year in Aldine ISD and her 11th year as superintendent. Her background is in curriculum and instruction and she has served as a teacher, program director of language arts, executive director of curriculum and instruction, and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction before becoming superintendent in 2007. Dr. Bamberg has been instrumental to the curriculum work done in the district and has been shared across the country through multiple local, state and national presentations. Dr. Bamberg has served the community of Aldine through her work on the Aldine Greenspoint YMCA Board, the Adults Relating to Kids (ARK) Board, and as a member of the executive teams for the Early Matters Initiative and the UpSkills Initiative through the Greater Houston Partnership. At the state level she has served on the Equity Center Board of Directors, Board President for the Academic Decathlon Board and is the incoming president of the Texas School Alliance. Also at the state level, Dr. Bamberg advocated for educational support and issues through testimony before House and Senate education committees and through meetings with state leaders. Dr. Bamberg’s awards include Sam Houston State University’s Distinguished Educator of the Year in 2016, the John Hoyle Education Leadership Award from Texas A&M University in 2010, the Region 4 Superintendent of the Year, the Outstanding Educator Award by the North Harris County American Association of University Women in 2011, the Be An Angel Award in 2017, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce and the Outstanding Educator Award from the Acres Home Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Bamberg has a son who attended elementary school in Aldine ISD.

Dr. Blanson has been in the community for more than 30 years and his three children attended Aldine schools. He has served as a teacher, assistant director, executive director, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent. Dr. Blanson oversees numerous operations departments and his leadership is evident in the work done to build, maintain and support the district through growth, change and improvement. Through his work in the district, he has served on the bond committee for the last five bond referendums and has been responsible for bond implementations. In addition to his work in the district, Dr. Blanson has supported the community through leadership roles with the Aldine Pathfinders and Gulf Coast Area Boy Scout Troops. He has also served as president of the Gulf Coast Personnel Association and Gulf Coast M&O Association. He is an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and serves on the Board of the Quality Texas Award. He also served as an adjunct professor for Sam Houston State University, Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University. Dr. Blanson has won numerous awards including the 2005 Trailblazer Award from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Black Heritage Committee, the 2005 Outstanding Educator Award from the Dean’s Roundtable at Texas A&M University’s College of Education and Human Development and was named the 2003 Boss of the Year for Aldine ISD.