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erry Yonushonis, mother of 4th grader Lucca Incerpi, is on a quest. Kerry has committed to attempting The Ocean’s 7 Swim Challenge, a series of seven of the hardest, grueling open water marathon swims averaging 20 miles each, to raise funds and awareness for a dyslexia non-profit. Kerry is a dyslexic and mother of a son with dyslexia, as well as a marathon swimmer, motivational speaker, and psychotherapist. Kerry struggled in school her whole life as an undiagnosed dyslexic. However, she persevered and earned two master’s degrees after graduating from college.


Swimming for a Cause Pictured above: Kerry does a 5 1/2 hour Galveston training swim with Ocean Tribe as her crew support.

Share Briarwood media: @TheBriarwoodSchool / @TheTuttleSchool

Achieving the Ocean’s Seven requires an ability to swim in both very cold and very warm seas. It also demands that the swimmer is physically and mentally prepared to overcome every condition known to defeat open water swimmers, from strong currents to stiff winds. Yes, swimmers suffer sea sickness from the big swells. Not to mention jellyfish and sharks! In 2015, Kerry completed the first leg of her journey with a grueling swim through the Strait of Gibraltar….only the 10th American woman in history to claim this achievement. She is rigorously training for her upcoming swim challenge in August to take on the Catalina Channel off the coast of California. Kerry discusses the dyslexic experience though the metaphor of “Islands of Expertise.” She shares her secret to success and happiness in life by building island chains with others, whose strengths will compliment yours, and make you that much stronger.

Contents ›› FEATURE STORY Woody Harrelson visits Briarwood and gives students, faculty and staff the BEST DAY EVER.

F e at u r e 1 4


Features 4 Message from Head of School 14

Best Day Ever.


Development News The 46th Annual Benefit breaks fundraising record!

Campus Life School Highlights

8 Middle-Upper Sports 20

On the Scene with Debra Duncan


New Professional Development Series



Briarwood School



a school for children

with learning differences

& developmental disorders

Newsletter for The Briarwood & Tuttle Schools | S u m m e r E d i t i o n 2016

Briarwood, A School for Children with Learning Differences

24 Retiring Teachers Give 139 Years of Service

The Tuttle School, A School for Children with Intellectual Disabilities 12207 Whittington Drive | Houston, TX 77077

www.b r i ar w oodschool .org 281.493.1070 tel | 281.493.1343 fax

Alumni News 25

Alumni Highlights

Save the Date The 47th Annual Benefit Friday, March 31, 2017 at Lakeside Country Club

Now available for sale in the Brookwood online store!

Check out page 22 for more details.

The Briarwood School & Tuttle School admits students of any race, gender, color, national or ethnic origin. The school selects students who are interested in completing their education and who need a prescriptive educational program. Briarwood is a publication of The Briarwood School & Tuttle School. Briarwood is published annually and sent to alumni, present and past parents and friends.

From the Head of School

Weaving the

The Legacy of Briarwood

the beginning, we continue to unlock the potential in every child who enters our school. Along the way, each person – child, parent, teacher, donor – becomes an important part of the tapestry that we weave every day. Today, Briarwood offers a broad range of programs for over 300 students, K through Grade 12, with a variety of specialized educational needs. The majority of students are of average to above average intelligence who can maximize their learning potential in smaller classroom settings. Dedicated professionals provide innovative teaching techniques.

At Briarwood, the individualized education process is total. We educate the mind and cultivate the spirit – always striving to enhance self-image through academic, physical, emotional and social growth. Students are taught to identify and accept their learning challenges and, simultaneously, to celebrate and enhance their strengths.

Briarwood Milestones

Completion of new track

May 1979 Certificate of Achievement presentation to first five Vocational/Technical graduates from Special (now Tuttle) School

May 1978 Graduated first class of six seniors from Upper School

September 1977 Occupied new addition

August 1977 Enrollment reached 300

August 2012

Thanks to generous donors who believed in Briarwood’s Mission and Vision from

August '07 – January '09 Renovation of existing building and addition of 20,000 sq. ft. (Classes continued to operate throughout the renovation and addition)

The Briarwood School began with eight children and two teachers in the summer of 1967 in space provided by Memorial Drive Baptist Church. By the fall of 1969, there were 88 full time students and the school then began leasing space at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, a home to Briarwood for four years. In the Fall of 1972, enrollment had increased to 140 full time students with an additional 24 in an afternoon program. The need for Briarwood to have its own space was urgent. In April of 1972, Briarwood purchased 9.2 acres at 12207 Whittington Drive and began construction of a 37,000 square foot building in July. In April of 1973, excited students entered Briarwood’s very own building! Enrollment continued to increase and in the Fall of 1976, construction began of a 33,000 sq. ft. addition and athletic facilities. By September 1977, construction was complete and students began their school year in the new addition.

October 1976 Construction began of 33,000 sq. foot addition and athletic facilities

July 1972 Construction began of 37,000 sq. ft. building

April 1972 Briarwood purchased a 9.2-acre site at 12207 Whittington

August 1970 enrollment reached 100

June 1969 Briarwood moved to St. Philip Presbyterian Church* and by

June 1967 First classes opened with 8 students in space provided by Memorial Drive Baptist Church*

In the early 1960’s, our founders, Yvonne and Dave Streit, had an overwhelming need to find a school capable of teaching their severely handicapped daughter. After spending years looking for effective programs for educating children with special needs, she took the best ideas from around the country and got to work teaching these exceptional children and out of that need began the tapestry that changed lives of children and their families for a lifetime. In 1967, Yvonne Streit opened the Briarwood School’s single classroom to eight children with moderately severe to severe disabilities, her own child among them. To provide special and individual guidance not yet available in the Houston area, she began using any and every technique proving effective in overcoming or decreasing the children’s learning challenges. Within a short period of time, children who presented with learning differences, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, attention deficit disorders, began to

Briarwood will be forever grateful to Memorial Drive Baptist Church and St. Philip Presbyterian Church for their support and belief and, thus, for being a part of the tapestry of a school for children who learn differently.

August 1974 Enrollment reached 200


enter Briarwood. Two separate programs thus emerged.

April 1973 Briarwood’s first building occupied by students

beautiful song, Tapestry, is an apt description of the legacy of Briarwood, for a tapestry represents the pieces of lives that have come together along the way, woven to create something wonderful and meaningful. A piece of the fabric here, a life there, all have been woven together over a span of almost fifty years to create a legacy that has touched thousands of children – The Briarwood School!

Throughout this process, we continue to weave the fabric of self-esteem into every child. Each student is encouraged to reach for his or her personal best and, no matter the outcome, to take pride in the performance of the task. All that we do today is based on the application of the perceptual motor methods developed early on by various research groups. These applications range from the methods of such notable workers as Newell C. Kephart at Purdue, Samuel Kirk at Illinois, W.H. Cruikshank at Syracuse and many others. The Mission of Briarwood – our purpose – remains the same today and will continue to be woven through the tapestry of our being. Our founders set the stage for a lifetime for us, a stage with solid underpinnings, to continue to live the Mission of Briarwood. Given the opportunity, the environment, appropriate and well researched educational techniques, and outstanding teachers, our children’s destinies will continue to change. Briarwood has a rich history that is significant in that its mission and spirit have never faltered. Our founder’s vision became a reality, a reality that we will celebrate throughout the upcoming school year – our fiftieth year. As we move forward, we are visionaries, as were our founders. World-renowned, Briarwood continues to build on our foundation, examine the research in our highly specialized field, select what is best for our children, embrace the differences and strengths in each child, AND continue to believe in what ‘CAN BE.’ Our tapestry will always be woven with the fabrics of belief, respect, integrity and spirit – for each and every child.



Behind every successful student at Briarwood is a highly trained teacher

who is completely immersed in professional development, is passionate about teaching and is proud to be an educator. On-going education for teachers is required in our field, and it is crucial that the training is specific to the needs of our children. We hold true to the belief that every child deserves to be taught in the way that he or she learns best and, therefore, professional development must support our principles. As a professional community, we delve into the latest research and select curriculums and programs that will help us to develop areas of expertise in proven instructional practices for children with language-based learning difficulties. Our goal is to produce students who are academically skilled, confident, self aware, self advocates and reflective about who they are as learners. We always strive to foster innovative ideas from creative thinkers. Briarwood teachers attend HBIDA’s Fall Symposium and Spring Conference, the International Dyslexia Association’s Annual Conference, and the American

Speech & Hearing Conference. We have also hosted workshops with William Van Cleave (Writing Matters), Marilyn Zecher (Nationally Certified Academic Language Therapist/Math Strategies/Language), and Christopher Woodin (Math Strategies/Landmark School). We are trained in RAVE-O (Retrieval, Automaticity, Vocabulary, Engagement with Language, Orthography), LANGUAGE! LIVE, and are introducing LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) this year.

Briarwood teachers are lifelong learners and have a responsibility to surround children with enthusiasm for learning. We have opportunities every day to change a life and, therefore, immerse ourselves in ongoing professional development. Students with languagebased learning differences are most successful when they are in a safe and nurturing environment and are taught by highly skilled and caring teachers. Our teachers must always find another way – and then another – to reach and teach our children.


Taking Math to New Levels

by Linda Decker

Assistant Head of School


pon leaving my long-term position as the Head of Middle-Upper School, Carole charged me with several new responsibilities. Among my favorites is to assess the Briarwood math program for grades K-12. Realizing that this project will be accomplished over time, my plan to immerse myself involved the creation of a pilot program. I would select potentially advanced 8th grade students who appeared to have an academic strength in mathematics. I’d need to be very subjective as I assembled my class. Selection was the result of a search through each and every 2015 – 2016 8th grade file. Specifically, I looked for their math stanine scores from the previous year’s ITBS. Six students rose to the top with prominent 6s and 7s. I had my class! Because these students would (a) agree to attend two math classes each day and (b) give up an elective course, I wasn’t sure if this Advanced 8th Grade Math class would be a semester or full year.

Middle Upper School

We went all year. I will never forget this experience or these 6 young people. Yes, I was able to go deeper into their math experience, but I got to go wider, too. By the end of the year, the students were factoring trinomials, dissecting complex word problems, and establishing our very own Slide Rule Club. How geeky is that? But there was just so much more happening with them: 1) they struggled, 2) made lots of errors, 3) at times received low grades, 4) As, Bs, and sometimes Cs were appreciated; not expected, 5) formed high level, pertinent, math-related questions and, 6) brain growth occurred. Today as I turn toward 2016 – 2017, I have expanded this opportunity to 7th and 9th grade. Knowing that language-based disabilities can affect every subject of study, I remain dedicated to maintaining the high level of requirements and expected rigor for this class. As for my class? Mr. Scott Finger and I are already designing an Algebra I class, the likes of which will be fitting for my eaglets! Fly high, fly long, hunt proudly. It was an honor and a privilege!

7 7


Sports Awards

DominicK DeRanieri Outstanding Male Athlete

Addison Hutchings Outstanding Female Athlete Tori Posa Brian Boles Award Katrina Day Martha Stanley Award

Tennis Team Triumphs ›› The boys doubles team of Nick Vachon (right) and Drew Crawmer (left) won their first match at the State Tournament before falling to the team that became State Champions. (Opposite page)

Middle Upper School Sports


Getting a

Jump Start

The Scope of Summer Remediation Goes City-Wide

T Briarwood’s Summer Remediation Program is offered for four weeks in the summer to students Lower School age at Briarwood and from around Houston. It’s summertime, so there is a fair share of fun!

he Summer Remediation Program began in June 2013 after Debbie Etheridge, Head of Lower School, visited Camp Success at Baylor University in Waco where intense reading remediation was the focus. Over the past four years, the program has served both Briarwood and students throughout the community with sessions tailored to students with language-based reading difficulties. Classes are facilitated by speechlanguage pathologists and specialized reading teachers. Recognizing the need for early intervention, younger students in kindergarten through second grade were included in the program offerings for 2016. Under the supervision of Phyllis Chancey, Director of SpeechLanguage Department, students receive intense remediation in areas critical to the development of both reading and written language skills. Prior to acceptance, students are screened to establish a baseline for programming; post-testing is conducted at the end of the program to measure student progress which is used to complete a summative report. During the month of June, students attend both individual and group sessions four hours daily. Multisensory techniques and language-based strategies, which have been proven through research, form the core of the program. Students are taught reading strategies that facilitate both decoding and comprehension in addition to learning tools that develop writing skills during group sessions. The focus of individual sessions is phonological awareness, oral expression, and vocabulary development. During the program, students continue to add to their “tool kit” binder, which they take with them at the end of the program to facilitate improved skills throughout their academic studies. Post-testing for the 2016 program revealed significant gains among the majority of the students attending the program in narrative comprehension and phonological awareness, skills that are important to becoming a successful reader. Additionally, all students recorded gains in descriptive language skills when using the strategies taught during the program.

Lower School




Always Striving for A Better Way


he foundation of the Tuttle School program is based on perceptual-motor experiences. A child who HAS sufficiently developed perceptual-motor

skills will be more prepared to learn and will enjoy better coordination and improved self-image. When a child does not properly develop perceptualmotor skills, then he or she will experience difficulty in all areas of learning. Young children who possess adequate perceptual-motor skills enjoy better coordination, greater body awareness, stronger intellectual skills, and a more positive self-image.

Research shows that perceptual-motor development is critical to children’s development of brain pathways that cross the right and left hemispheres. Because of this, students with poor perceptual-motor development often experience difficulty in learning to read and write when they are in the primary grades. In Tuttle School, students participate in fitness training classes designed to enhance gross motor ability by using lateralities to help strengthen neural pathways in the brain. As students’ brain functions improve, so do their abilities to read and write. Reading and writing are motor-based abilities that require the mind and body to work together. Early and on-going interventions are crucial for all of our students. Perceptual-motor skills allow sensory information to be successfully obtained and understood with appropriate reaction. Perceptual deals with obtaining information and motor refers to the outcome of movement. Thus perceptual-motor activities require children to use their brain and body together to accomplish tasks – for example, walking on a balance beam while reciting the alphabet!

Tut tle School

In the Background

Tuttle School did it again! Look at the beautiful quilt created by Tuttle School for the 46th Annual Benefit!


Feature Story

During a recent TV interview, Woody gives a great shout out to our founder, Yvonne Streit. He calls her a “super hero” and reflects on his visit to Briarwood in April calling it the “one of the best days of my life”.

Check out Woody’s recent interview on our Facebook page!

Best Day Ever.

Woody Harrelson Gives Briarwood an Unforgettable Day!


riarwood is still reeling from its recent encounter with celebrity Woody Harrelson! Woody Harrelson, who attended Briarwood as a child, returned for one purpose….our students! His focus was completely on our student body and his heartfelt message was sincere: Briarwood changed my life! He encouraged students to find their passions, their strengths and to embrace their own learning differences. What a day of joy for everyone! Before he was Woody, he was Tracy. That’s Woody’s middle name and what he went by growing up in Texas, mostly around Houston. Tracy had already been kicked out of at least three schools before the first grade. Around that time, he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). That’s when his mom found Briarwood and Mrs. Streit. Tracy loved the place. Finally, he wasn’t the only one with issues. And the teachers genuinely cared. Shortly thereafter, his mom moved the family to Lebanon, Ohio to start over. And that’s when Tracy became Woody. 14 T he B riarwood S chool

Dev elopment

It’s Not Hip To Be Square The 46th Annual Benefit Makes History


hinking outside of the proverbial box is, well, hard. Let’s face it, things are so much easier when you go with the grain, don’t cause waves, all of that jargon. But nothing extraordinary has ever come from this type of thinking. Great things happen when people take risks...and work hard. These two virtues inspired The 46th Annual Benefit, Celebrate Thinking Outside the Box, team to shoot for the moon. They shot, lassoed and served it up on a silver platter...profits, that is. This year’s benefit will go down in history as Briarwood’s most successful benefit ever, netting an unbelievable $630,000. Now, that’s thinking outside the box! In the spirit of Briarwood’s 50th celebratory year, let’s commend our founders, our leaders, the teachers who commit themselves to teaching our students, our supporters and parents/volunteers for being forward thinkers. Special thanks to Benefit Chairs Annie Seay and Tissie Bean for all of their hard work...job well done!


D evelo p m e nt

$25,000-$50,000 Friend of Briarwood Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. Gallery Furniture $10,000-$24,999 Bean Family Mary Crow & Sammy Jones Twila & Bill Day Ellwood Foundation Friend of Briarwood Luis Gonzalez & Angela Munoz Linda & Jim McIngvale Christina & Steve Morse Phillips 66 Annie & Steve Seay Ursula & Mike Sharp $7,500-$9,999 Ed Finger Marine Fueling Service $5,000-$7,499 Jeannie & Trey Able Cory & Jessica Bailey Chris Bean Debbie & Andy Castell Charles Clard Andrea & Bob Crawmer Ellen & Drew Elam Marvy Finger Family Foundation Felicia & Jay Fogal Rima & Ahmed Hashmi William S. and Lora Jean Kilroy Foundation Kim & Michael Martin Julie & Louis Mayer Connie & Steve Redmon Katherine & Joel Schrock Meg & Dick Weekley Mary & Greg Whalley $2,500-$4,999 Sherry Clark Dr. & Mrs. Louis Faillace Sue & Charles Hooks Marissa & Duncan Klussmann Gloria Orozco & Essa Kawaja Fay & Paul Lewis Amy & Robert Nuttall Karen & Tom Rickard Ron Ripley & Martha Keller Rolland & Sherry St. Aubin Sandra & Paul Swofford Robert Tucker Wendy & John Welch Julie & Chris Whitten Carole & Jim Wills Jeannette & Scott Stevenson $1,000-$2,499 Susie & Asche Ackerman Joan & Stanford Alexander Joe & Missy Allaire

16 T he B riarwood S chool

The 46th Annual Briarwood School Benefit

Amerapex Corporation Monica & Benjamin Berg Heather & Richard Bohan Marion & Eliot Bowtyz Sandra & Marty Brophy Rosemary & Ken Cash Kristelle & Mark Castiglione Chevron Matching Funds Molly & Tim Church Donald Condon Helen & Tony Davenport Melissa & Mano DeAyala Cris & Darren Bowden Dr. Elizabeth Dybell Debbie & Randy Etheridge Catharine & Grant Faulconer Nancy & Dan Garrison Deborah Gennero, DDS Allison & Brock Griffiths Autumn Brown & Chris Hajdik Vicki Henley Carole & Larry Huelbig Jamie Humphries Caroline & Bruce Hurley Jenna Irwin Lynn & Ronnie Jacobe Mary & Rich Jones Mr. & Mrs. Bashar Kalai Lorena & Terry Kubera Natalie & Chris Martin Brynn & Shane Matherne Sarah Randall & Tim McCullough Teresa & Dave Milich Jan Neuenschwander Gloria Neumann Patti Pace Kelly & Arron Pichon Terri & Matt Pitner Nancy & Michael Polychronopoulos Dean Putterman Magda Ramos Greg & Pam Roche Mr. and Mrs. Gary Rosenthal Tawnya & Rusty Rubenstein Linda & Jerry Rubenstein Kim & Seth Rubinson Nancy & Clive Runnells Foundation Eleanor & Richard Scalzitti Billy & Joanna Shirely Grace & Robert Sickler Dan Smith & Ann Pickard Trish & Josh Soybel Tony & Liliana Staples Shauna & Gregg Steffen Yvonne & Dave Streit Texas Childrens Hospital/ John Scales Anissa & Danny Torres Todd Vance Tamara & Grant Wagner Angela & Alan Weiss $500-$999 Julianne M. Bass

Laura & Jimmy Bates Angie & Don Baughman Michelle Beard, PH.D. Emily & Stuart Bodden Nix O. Bodden & Beth Zimpelman Patsy & Mike Brady Briargrove Pharmacy Craig Curd & Deborah Gennaro Marcela & Julio de la Colina Linda Decker Dan L. Duncan, Children’s Neurodevelopmental Clinic Tamara & Daniel East Rita & Brian Fader Fidelity Investments April & Nick Hiemstra Jane Ann Travis-Hurley & Jeff Hurley Angela & Greg Hyzak Meredith & Marshall Iler Erin & Todd Jones Shelly & Geoff Kaplan Susan & Randall Klein Bill & Pam Krocak George Lancaster Stephanie & Rich Langenstein Dea Larson & Al Thomas Stacey CasagrandeLetbetter & Vance Letbetter Lydia & Alfredo Lira Linda & Paul Lynn Suzy & Steve Mahoney Sarah & Jim Mallon Jennifer & Greg Marbach Mary & Frank McConville Don & Sally McGinty Colleen & Ted McLaughlin Teri & Sonny Milos Paula & Tom Munson My Friends Foundation John Obsta Parker School Uniforms Rachel & James Poysky Melissa & Ryan Reichert JoAnn & Robert Schaffer Elizabeth & Alan Seidensticker Pamela & David Smith Georgia & Mike Stanton Lyndsey & Damian Stead Laurie & Charles Swihart Paula & Steve Thomas Thompson Custom Homes Town & Country Orthodontics Debbie Wearing Teresa & Lance Witt Kathy Wright $250-$499 Dr. & Mrs. S.K. Ajmani Nadia Ismail & Nader Amir Parviz Emily & Tom Anderson Balfour Company Paul Bass Barbara & Larry Bellatti BHP Billiton Matching Gifts

Trina & Michael Blood Sharon Brougher Kathryn & Kent Cavender, In honor of Kate Cavender Ami & Keith Considine Kristi & John Coopeor Elizabeth & Matthew Dowell Epicurean Group Teresa & Sal Ferruzo Dian Ginsberg Suzi & Trey Grant Kathleen & Glenn Harper Lisa & Brad Hutchings Brian Jordan Mr. & Mrs. Victor Kilchrist Koetter Fire Protection Renee & Mark Lange Susie & Wayne Love Donna Maloney Amy & Daniel McCarthy Laurie-Anne McElreath Patricia & Philip McGraw Kirsten & Rick Meadow Meadows Foundation, Honoring Tissie Bean Mesquite Cottage Jordan Novelli Maria Oakum Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ogden Christi & Rob Parker Jane Petty Phillips 66 Matching Gifts Katy Child Psychology Lee & Todd Reeves Kiersten Schrock Pamela & David Smith Cindy & Paul Smith Sarah Tyler Suzanne & Tom Vaughn Niki & Bregg Warren Dr. Daniel Williamson $25-$249 Judge & Mrs. Richard Abrams Ann & Keelan Adamson Sarah & Lane Amos Anchor Communications Angela Ashley Bryan & Gayla Baird Harrietta & Miles Baldwin Nancy & David Baxter Sarah & Erich Bell Martha Benham Pragna & Hitesh Bhakta Barbara & Tom Blocher Frank M. (z’l) & Rita N. Blumenfeld Fund, In honor of Paige Suvalsky Jodi Bradford & Dave Andrew Christy & Byron Bright Terri & David Bright Jennifer & James Brolan Mrs. Martha Buck Patricia & Matthew Buck Elizabeth & Philip Buelow Melissa & Richard Cantu

Dev elopment

The 46th Annual Briarwood School Benefit $25-$$249 Cont. Omeisha Capdeville Laurie & Paul Carl Becky & Dan Carter Susan Cartwright Maria & Ronald Chamness Humaira & Mansoor Chaudhary Stephanie & Mark Cheney Mr. & Mrs. Mike Clark Lori Clark Clinic for Academic Therapy Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Considine Alice & Bill Cook Johanna & Raymond Cook Sevan & Edwin Cruz Candice De Los Santos Marcia & Marc DeBuyl Karla & Gino DeRanieri Carolyn DeRusso Kelli & Dan DesChamps Amy & Rusty Desormeaux Ramona & Mike Dimarco Mr. and Mrs. Billy Doherty Kathy & Mike Douglass Suzanne Duin Cindy & Gary Dunn Misti & Kristopher Dusek LaTonya & Walter Earl Kay Easton Vanessa & Jason Egan Christa Elliott Amy & Ricardo Escobar Gihan Yehya & Wael Essam Karen & Blayne Eversole Dava & Randy Feuer Michaela & Robert Filla Linda Finklea Lucinda & Brad Fleming Amy & Kevin Fllusche Jordan & Harry Folloder Lisa Malosky & Don Friedel Aurora & Rogerio Garcia Jackie & John Gaylord Ellen-Claire & Victor Gibson Lee Gill Cathie & Neal Gittleman Cory & Trish Glass Susan & Paul Gold, Honoring Sammy Folloder Debra Grade Jenny & Robert Graham Peggy & Matthew Gregg Amy & Grae Griffin Lori Guajardo Mellissa & Matt Guidry Deloris Guillory Beth Anne & David Gunn Sari & Rubin Gutman Chandra Hall-Dixon & Brian Dixon Tandy & Jonathan Harris Sebie Harris Alice & Bobby Hatfield Shelly & Wendall Hayes Monique & Steve Hazell Marjorie & Matthias Heinkenschloss

Jennifer & Scott Heitshusen Jose Hernandez & Josefina Zayas Adriana Herrera Jill & Stephen Hockett Yana & Doug Hoheretz Lilly & Mike Howard Molly & Eric Huelskamp Karen & David Hume Kerry Yonushonis & Jon Incerpi Rebecca & Lee Jackson Maria & Frantz Jean Louis Becky & Steve Joest Guylaine & Carl Johnson Cole Johnson Jeannine & Joe Joiner Yvette Jones Kelly Jones Erica & Brian Jordan Lindy Kahn, M.A., CEP Klara & Kirt Keelan Jill & Kevin Keenan Sonya & Paul Kelly Larry Keltner, honoring Max Bright Shannon & Ronnie Kim The King’s Amy & Josef Klam Ryan Koortz Marcine & John Kowpack Rachel & Melvin Krezer Susan Krocak Lauren & Drew Krocak Rebecca & Luke Kuwertz Angela Ladet Lisa & Michael Lallinger Carolyn Lange Gaelle & Philippe Lasserre Janet & Mark Lauritsen Carol LeBlanc Eleanoa & Bryan Lealman Kari & Ron Lessner Ronnie Kurtin & Gary Lew Matt Lightfoot Brandy & Edwin Lobo Cindy & Ed Long Karen & Nick Lopez Elissa & Kevin Lorenzen Johna & Judd Lowe Joyce & Ran Loy Melinda & Pete Maillet Mr. & Mrs. James Mallon Maria & John Mannion Cheryl & Kent Marshall Linda Mauldin Denis & Jack Mayfield Cheryl & James McAnear Susan & Joe McDuffie Kathy & Patrick McLane Janice Melcher, Honoring Katherine Schrock Samantha & Gil Melman Bailey & Randall Mill Chrissy & Chip Miller Ashley Mims Dr. Mike Mizell Rena & Hugh Mobley

Hector Moctezuma Vona & Klip Morefield Muna & Alexander Nassar Jamie Ogden Cindy & Chuck Nelson Neuhaus Education Center Nancy Novelli Michelle O’Byrne Diane Olguin Lori & Jerry Ordeneaux Derinda Oufnac Dee & Tom Pace Angel & John Pawlak Carrie & David Pena Christine & Asquith Phills Natasha & Loren Pieper Jenifer & Chad Points Mildred & Steven Poock Cynthia & David Portgual Beth & Nick Posa Jill & Barry Presley Cynthia & Mike Ratliff Lisa & Norman Ritchie Ritter’s Telecia Rittiman Pam & Greg Roche Joy & Tom Roeh Susan & John Roper Kristen & Jon Rosenberg Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Ross Tawnya & Rusty Rubenstein Amy & Tom Ryan Emily & Michael Saathoff Peggy & William Samuels Tamara & Manuel Sanchez Colette & Sam Saucedo Deb & Dave Schultz David Schwartz & Rachel Kosoy Jackie & Michael Schwenn Gigi & Karim Semine Shell Matching Gifts Sarah & Jeromy Sherman Arika Sherman Shams & Ghazal Siddiqui Jeanie & Steve Simonich Dan Simpson & Monica Simpson Mr. and Mrs. Dan Simpson Luna & Peter Sisan Lisa & Dan Skillern Cathy Smith Belen & Roark Smith Naomi & Adam Soffar Kathleen & Mark Spangler Speech Language Learning Speech & Language Remediation Center Mr. & Mrs. Steve Staley Tracy Sullivan Maggie & Raphael Suter T’s Quality Automotive Karen & Philip Tallon Jean & William Therriault Margzellas Thomas Dallas Tippett Lisa & Tad Transou

Anna & Matt Tremblay Mrs. Lucille Tucker Courtney & Wayne Turpin Kiesha Upshaw Anne & Ron Vachon Emmanuelle & Matthijs van der Molen Joette & Hans Van Doesburg Yolanda Vanderhurst Tizziana & Robert Velasco Alex Valenzuela Maria & Alfredo Vilas Katherine Miller Walker Barbara & Paul Walker Pam & Bill Wallace Beth & Jim Watt Laurie & Doug Wendler Patricia Whitten Kathyrn & Tom Wilson Chok Hooi Wong Mr. & Mrs. James Wood Kenna Worthington Rocio Diaz & Francisco Zorrilla Tuition Assistance Gifts $20,000 Friend of Briarwood Friend of Briarwood Ursula & Mike Sharp $5,000 Tissie Bean & Susan Williams Mary Crow & Sammy Jones Twila & Bill Day Rebecca & Lee Jackson $2,500 Annie & Steve Seay $1,000 Chris Bean Andrea & Bob Crawmer Ellen & Drew Elam Ed Finger Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Hurley Sonny & Teri Milos Mr. & Mrs. Greg Roche Kim & Seth Rubinson Deb & Dave Schultz Caleb Thompson $500 Magda & Heriberto Ramos Up to $500 Heather & Richard Bohan Mr. & Mrs. John Cooper Mr. & Mrs. Davenport Debbie & Randy Etheridge Felicia & Jay Fogal Robert Tucker Wendy & John Welch


D evelo p m e nt

Annual Giving Fund 2015-16

Legacy Circle ($10,000+) Neil and Cathy Gittleman Friend of Briarwood

Founder’s Circle ($5,000-$9,999) Keelan Anderson Marvy Finger Family Foundation Ann and William McCulloch Joan and John Scales Martha and David Swift Head of School Circle ($2,500-$4,999) Judith Bradford Preston Bridgewater Marie Fay Evnochides Luis Javier Gonzalez Saad Hashmi Cuendod Families Susie and Wayne Love Lee and Gary Rosenthal Amy and Tom Ryan Shell Matching Gift Program Shawn Tippett Leadership Circle ($1,000-$2,499) Albert Alva Family Marion and Eliot Bowytz Sandra and Martin Brophy Eva and Robin Brown Andrea and Bob Crawmer Craig Curd and Deborah Gennero Twila and Bill Day Nora Dobin Harvey Friedman Doug Hohertz Rebecca and Lee Jackson Matthew Langford Camille Leugers Mr. and Mrs. Leo Linbeck III Susan and Vern Ludwig Sally and Don McGinty Ramona and Lawrence Mitchell Christina and Steve Morse Wiley Mossy Linda and Jerry Rubenstein Nancy and Clive Runnels McGinty-van der Molen Cindy and Paul Smith Jared von Plonski John Welch Julie and Chris Whitten Kathryn and Tom Wilson Educator’s Club ($500-$999) Sarah and Erich Bell Paul Dolan Rob Donnell Catharine and Grant Faulconer Sue and Philip Henry Dea Larson Eleonora and Bryan Leibman Dr. Gary Lew and Ronnie Kurtin

18 T he B riarwood S chool

The Annual Giving Fund/Directed Gifts Denis and Trey Mayfield Karen Ogden Heriberto Ramos and Assoc. Diana Strassmann and Jeffery Smisek Jacob Vrolijk and Susan Cartwright Mustang Club ($250-$499) Trina and Michael Blood Molly and Tim Church Teresa and Sal Ferruzzo Gerald Gehm Shelly and Wendell Hayes Aileen and James Ivy Lennard Johnson Ron and Vina Jordan Lydia and Alfredo Lira Samantha Melman Cathy Moran Thomas and Paula Munson Karen and Richard Ogden Katherine and Joel Schrock Debbie and Dave Schultz Sherwin Williams Cindy and Bill Sudela Edith Wittig and Henry van Wageningen Deborah and James Wood Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Woodson Blue & Red Club ($100-$249) Mr. and Mrs. Philip Baker Karen and Howard Batt Emily and Stuart Bodden Gina and Daniel Diluzio Clyde Dunn Mary Beech Finger Paul Glaves Mary and Julian Grace Jose Hernandez Mark Hobson Gail and Don Keasler Larry Keltner Janet and Mark Lauritsen James and Dale Lehman Lilah Malosky L.V. and Barbara McGinity Patrick and Kathleen McLane Tan Parker Michael Polychronopoulos Susan and Jack Rossate Jerri Sadowski Peggy and William Samuels Mr. and Mrs. Ron Sullivan Matthijs van der Molen Elizabeth Vester Craig Walker Mr. and Mrs. Paul Walker, Jr. Susan and Kent Wiser Kim and Richard Yeh Friend (Up to $100) Judson Bryant Janet and Thomas Frobase Lisa and Rick Garza Jennifer Harkey Marcine and John Kowpak, Jr.

In Memory Of Joe McDuffie In Honor of Caroline McDuffie

Phoebe Roquemore Pat Ross Shauna and Gregg Steffen Lytle L. Taylor Lewis Welch Nancy and Frank Wilson

Mr. and Mrs. Gene Barbin Donna and Robert Grimes Jonathan and Sunshine Heger Sydney Hollingshead Nayona Millard Cindy and Randy Pettus Becky and Len Phillips Jeanie Reckart Kelley Spurrier Scott Staples Jenese and Daniel Tesar Connie and Robert Tesar Trust Jim Tesar Anne Theall Mary Ann and John Young

Directed Gifts 2015-16

Matching Gifts AIG Aetna Foundation Apache Corporation BP Fabric of America Chevron Conoco Phillips Halliburton Foundation Morgan Stanley Nexen Norvatis Phillips 66 Shell Oil Sherwin Williams TIAA-CREF Trans Ocean

In Memory (of/from)

Hannah Whelton Keelan Adamson

Robert Gehm Shauna and Gregg Steffen Patsy Davidson Spenser Pat and David Swank

Community Donors Albertsons/Safeway Albertsons/Randalls Kroger Office Depot Safeway/Randalls Sherwin-Williams Foundation Target Indumar Products Martial Arts Training and Techniques, LLC Comerica Bank

In Honor (of/from)

Max Bright Larry Keltner

Stephen Falick Henry and Sara Hope Samantha Folloder Betty Bobbit Dubose John K. Zaid

General Operating The Ellwood Foundation A Friend of Briarwood

Alexandra Gittleman Julian and Mary Grace Baker Watt Wiley L. Mossy

Staff Development M. D. Anderson Friend of Briarwood Tuition Assistance Ascende Charitable Trust ACT Fred and Mabel Parks Foundation Ann and Bill McCulloch The Hamill Foundation One Ashford Owners Association Hamman Foundation Strake Foundation Judith Bradford Tuttle School Charity Guild of Catholic Women MU Student Council A Friend of Briarwood Booster Club A Friend of Briarwood

Thomas Whitten Jennifer Harkey

James Wills Scholarship Fund

Debbie and Randy Etheridge Gay Roane Carole and Jim Wills

Brian Boles Scholarship Fund

Chris Dooley

For omissions|corrections|giving opportunities, please contact Linda Peters in the Development Office, 281.493.1070 or at

Auction Donors ❘ The 46th Annual Briarwood School Benefit 3 Olives Italian Restaurant A.D. Players Darlene Abdouch abientot Ann & Keelan Adamson Advanced Dermatology Candice Alexander Alley Theatre Ann's Clock Shop Araya Chocolate Laboratory Bradley Archer AREA Armandos Jane & Mark Arnold Artmix Creative Ashford Veterinary Hospital/ Sally Slomer-Fickes Auntie Pasto's B&B Butchers & Restaurant Philip Baker Bar R Kennels Tissie Bean & Susan Williams beau Kisses Beautique Day Spa Becks Prime beGlammed Bering's BeSpoke Rocks Frank Billingsly/KPRC Biron Gymnastics Trina & Michael Blood Blue Willow Books Heather & Richard Bohan Marion & Eliot Bowytz Briar Shoppe Briargrove Pharmacy Brick & Mortar Kitchen The Bright Family The Brookwood Community Sharon Brougher Suzanne Bruce & Associates Dermatology Buchanan's in the Heights Café Benedicte Cal-a-vie Camp Huawni Capital Grille Hyatt Regency Elvia & Paul Cardinal Carmelo's Ristorante Italiano Carrabba's Stacey Casagrande-Letbetter Rosemary & Ken Cash Central Market Cooking School Ceron Hair Salon Maria & Ron Chamness Cheesecake Factory China Baroque Kimberly & Nicholas Chiovitti Chocolate Bar Chuy's Tex-Mex Ciro's Italian Grille Charles Clark Sherry Clark Coppa Osteria Gina and Larry Corbin Andrea & Bob Crawmer Mary Crow & Sammy Jones & Robert Cuatro Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Cypresswood Golf Club Dairy Ashford Roller Rink

Thank you for supporting The Briarwood School!

Twila & Bill Day de la Colina Family Melissa & Mano DeAyala Demeris Bar-B-Q Karla & Gino DeRanieri Carolyn DeRusso Kelli & Dan DesChamps Devine Affair Devi Rao DHN Real Estate Interests Dimensions in Fashion Josh Dolan Marc Donnelly Elizabeth Sledden Dybell Walter & LaTonya Earl The Egg & I Eddie V's Prime Seafood Ellen & Drew Elam Elements Massage Eleventh Grade Project Elizabeth Brooks Designs Christa Elliott Train with Lanie Shell Houston Open Epicurean Delight Karen & Blayne Eversole Brian & Rita Fader Fadi's Mediterranean Grill Fashion Diva On Wheels Teresa & Sal Ferruzzo Paige & Tilman Fertitta Ed Finger Fiori Spa Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar FlyWays Dove Hunting Jordan & Harry Folloder French Cuff Friend of Briarwood Gal-Tex Gallery Furniture Alicia Garrison Kelly Gartner Jackie & John Gaylord Gelines Jewelry George's Pastaria Lee Gill Dian Ginsberg Glazed Over Goode Company BBQ Stephanie Gore Gow Media/ESPN Radio Grand Lux Café Susie & Trey Grant Peggy & Michael Gregg Gunner& Hook/John Savagio Chandra Hall Hartgrove Galleries - Artwork & Orbis Jewelry Heart's Delight Josefina Zayas & Jose Hernandez Adriana Herrera April & Nick Hiemstra Home Media Solutions/Matt Lightfoot Hot Wells Shooting Range Houston Ballet Houston Golf Association Houston Grand Opera Houston Museum of Natural Science Houston Rockets Houston Symphony The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa Lillian & Michael Howard Jamie Humphries Jane & Jeffrey Hurley Angela & Greg Hyzak ibiza Food & Wine Bar iburn Ideal Body Ipic Theater Jacs by Shawnaa Fatjo James Avery Craftsman Dale Jefferson Becky & Steve Joest Erin & Todd Jones Erica & Brian Jordan Jos A. Bank Josephines Day Spa & Salon

Shelly & Geoff Kaplan Katie Scott Design Klara & Kirt Keelan Martha Keller & Ron Ripley Kendra Scott Jewelry Amy Klam/Noonday Collection Marissa & Duncan Klussman Sharon Parker, KnollStudio 104.1 KRBE Radio Esta Kronberg Dermatology KSBJ Radio & NGEN Radio Lorena & Terry Kubera Kuwertz Familiy La Soula Jewelry Matthew & Lisa Lallinger Lam Bespoke Lasagna House III Janet & Mark Lauritsen Eleanor & Bryan Leibman BT Dubs Grill/Lessner Family Fay & Paul Lewis Dr. Drew J. Lomonte Cindy & Ed Long Los Tios Mexican Restaurant Susan & Wayne Love Lower School 5th Students Lower School 6th Students Lower School Intermediate Students Lower School Primary Students Lucas & Lucas, LLC Dr. Steve & Suzy Mahoney Main Street Theater Maison Pernoud Maison Maison Maria & John Mannion Mark's Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom LLP Natalie & Chris Martin Kim & Michael Martin Masraff's Masterson Design James & Cheryl McAnear Mary & Frank McConville Susan & Joe McDuffiy Jim McGinty Colleen & Ted McLaughlin Taft McWhorter Art Kirsten & Richard Meadow Melman Familiy The Melting Pot Memorial Yard Greetings Memorial Athletic Club Bonita & Bill Merrill Mesquite Cottage Middle School Families Upper School Families Chrissy & Chip Miller Teri & Sonny Milos Moderno Taco & Tex Mex Christine & Stephen Morse Museum of Fine Arts Nacol & Co. Naturally Nourished/Ali Miller, RD, LD, CDE Sherrell & Charles Neal Nigro Dermatology Nike Niko Niko's Greek & American Café Jordin Novelli Nancy Novelli Out of the Box Palazzo's Trattoria/Westchase Paper Source Pappas Restaurants Paula & Tom Munson Pecan Hill Kennel Pei Wei Carrie & David Pena Perry's Steakhouse & Grille Jane Petty Christine & Asquith Phills Phoenicia Speciality Foods Natasha & Loren Pieper Terri & Matt Pitner Planet Beach Pleasant Hill Winery Nancy & Michael Polychronopoulos

Dev elopment

Potter's Wheel/Kathryn Hunt Magda Ramos The Redneck Country Club Melissa & Ryan Reichert Karen & Tom Rickard Cheryl Rinehart Ritter's Custard Burgers Glaciers Robert's China, Crystal & Gifts Pam & Greg Roche Kristen & Jonathan Rosenberg Rover Oaks Pet Resort Rowdy Design Royal Oaks Country Club Tawnya & Rusty Rubenstein Kim & Seth Rubinson Ruth's Chris Steak House Emily & Mike Saathoff SALTAir Seafood Kitchen Laurie & Bret Sanders The Schaffer Family Katherine & Joel Schrock Deb & Dave Schultz Season's 52 Annie & Steve Seay Shabby Slips Ursula & Mike Sharp Shawna & John Shelor Shudde Brothers Silverthread Designs Jeanie & Steve Simonich Skeeters Mesquite Grill Lisa & Daniel Skillern Sky High Sports Cindy & Paul Smith Dan Smith & Ann Pickard Barbara Smith Smith's Fine Jewelry Society for the Performing Arts Southwell's Hamburger Grill SPEC Some Action Adventures Spec's Fine Wines Cynthia Stange Shauna & Gregg Steffen The Sugar Jar Sugar Creek Country Club Sugar Cycles Preactive Solutions Maggie & Raphael Suter Sandra & Paul Swofford Tall Plants Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort & Spa Susie & Trey Tate Texas Snakes & Moore Rhonda Texter Dr. Steve & Paula Thomas Trey Thompson D.D.S. Three Olives Tiff's Treats Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen Anna & Matthew Tremblay Ginny Trevino Triniti Restaurant Truluck's Seafood, Steak & Crab House Robert Tucker Elaine Turner Tuttle School Students U.S. Coins Donna Uliva Uptown Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry Urban Chef Vachon Photography DeMarcus Ware Beth & Jim Watt Debbie Wearing Wendy & John Welch Westside Tennis Club Mary & Greg Whalley Julie & Chris Whitten Willowcreek Country Club Ray Wilson Teresa & Lance Witt Chi Ling & Chok Hooi Wong Worth the Weight Susie & Asche Ackerman Julie & Louis Mayer Colette & Sam Saucedo Pressing Events


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On the Scene As Students tune-in to their learning differences

›› Check out Sarah Cate, Henry’s

and Carole Wills tv interview on Briarwood’s Facebook page or website!


embers of Briarwood’s Film Committee were honored to be invited to appear on Great Day Houston with Debra Duncan on KHOU-11 this summer. Henry Bean and Sarah Cate Jones did a fabulous job representing the Film Committee and Briarwood. They articulated their personal journeys and struggles with a learning difference. This show is the only “live” show in Houston. Several members of Briarwood’s staff and family made up the “live” studio audience. Sarah Cate and Henry were great under pressure; you’d have thought they did this every day, amazing!

20 T he B riarwood S chool

Briarwood’s “Film Committee” was the brainchild of one our esteemed alumni, Sarah Munson. Working on her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Sarah was interested in raising awareness among educators at the college level of the challenges those with learning differences face every day. Her legacy is continuing three years later. A huge thanks to Deborah Duncan for inviting our students to tell their story. It was a great day, Briarwood!


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Teachers Run for Dyslexia Kim Wright, MU teacher (left) and Amanda O’Neil, 5th grade teacher (right), participated in the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in June. They were part of The International Dyslexia Association’s TeamQuest. The goal was to bring awareness and support to those struggling with dyslexia and other reading difficulties….and the belief that reading changes lives! They did an amazing job!

And the Award Goes to... Irene Keay, Tuttle School Teacher, was awarded the 2016 Elizabeth Brand Teacher Excellence Award which was presented by The American Association of Professional Landmen and The Houston Association of Professional Landmen. This honor was in recognition of Irene’s excellent contribution to the field of education for The Tuttle School at Briarwood, the encouragement of students and the harmonious work with fellow teachers and administrators. Congratulations, Mrs. Keay!

›› For the 2nd year in a row, the Middle Upper School Student Council was awarded the 2016 National Gold Council of Excellence Award for its exemplary record of leadership, service and activities to improve the school and surrounding community.



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The Inspirational Journey of Yvonne Streit


s we embark on our 50th year anniversary, Briarwood’s founder, Yvonne Streit tells the story of Briarwood and Brookwood for the first time in print. Her journey began in 1957, when her one-year-old daughter, Vicki, became seriously disabled from complications caused by the mumps. Always giving the credit to God, Mrs. Streit now understands the divine purpose that was set from the beginning. Her strong belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and be taught through experiential education led to the realization that there were other children with similar needs. Classes started in the Streit’s backyard and continued to grow

“ ”

This book will inspire you from beginning to end and remind us that everyone has self-worth and purpose and an important seed to sow.

from one location to another until enough money had been raised to build the current building. Briarwood evolved into a K-12 school for students with learning differences and The Tuttle School, K-21 for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Ten years later another dream was realized when The Brookwood Community was created as an adult residential program that includes “citizens” who live in and work full-time, as well as citizens enrolled in the day program.

Now available for sale in the Brookwood online store! The proceeds from the sale of each copy of this book go to Brookwood, its citizens, and its outreach programs.

›› Want to learn more? Check out the IDA & HBIDA websites: and

Carole Wills & Debbie Etheridge

Honorary Postitions

22 T he B riarwood S chool

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New Professional Development Series


e are excited to announce that on August 15th, Briarwood will launch its first professional development series of LETRS -- Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling. LETRS is a professional development program for educators involved in teaching literacy to students in grades K-12. Written by literacy expert Dr. Louisa Moats, LETRS is steeped in research and is considered the gold standard for professional development in reading science. LETRS is not an instructional program to be delivered in the classroom. Rather, it is learning that is administered through a series of modules meant to deepen teachers’ knowledge so they can make informed decisions about the design and delivery of reading, spelling, and writing instruction. It addresses the “what,” “why,” and “how” of teaching literacy. Briarwood is steadfast in providing exemplary instruction across the content areas, and our new professional development series is another way we are raising the bar. All Briarwood teachers in grades K-12 will participate in LETRS training. In addition, our goal is to offer LETRS training to educators outside of Briarwood beginning the summer of 2017. This is in keeping with our commitment to being leaders in the field of diagnostic-prescriptive education. Dr. Moats once said, “Teaching reading is rocket science.” Briarwood’s new professional development series is another step toward providing outstanding teacher preparation and ongoing excellence at Briarwood.

“Briarwood’s new professional development series is another step toward providing outstanding teacher preparation and ongoing excellence at Briarwood.” Lisa Landi, M.Ed.

Briarwood Director of Curriculum & Instruction Local Certified LETRS Trainer

Carole Wills, Head of School, Serves on the Board of the International Dyslexia Association Carole has played an active role in IDA at both the national and branch level. She is a past president of the Houston Branch of IDA and has also served on the Branch’s Board of Directors, Advisory Board and Speakers Committee. Nationally, Carole has previously served on the national Nominating Committee and on the Branch Council Executive Committee. For over 50 years IDA has fought for the rights of people with dyslexia while fending off critics who said that there was no such thing as dyslexia - that children who exhibited signs of dyslexia and other learning disabilities were lazy, stupid or worse, developmentally disabled and therefore incapable of learning. During this time, our members, individually and as an organization, have tested and tutored hundreds of thousands of children so that these children would grow up to lead productive and fulfilling lives. Today IDA membership exceeds 10,000 teachers, other professionals, individuals with dyslexia, and parents. There are 42 branches in the U.S. and Canada and 24 Global Partners across the globe corners of the globe.

Debbie Etheridge, Head of Lower School, Is Now Serving on the Board of Directors of the Houston Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (HBIDA) Debbie began teaching in Lower School at Briarwood in 2002 and in 2011 she became the Head of Lower School. She was elected to serve this year on the Houston IDA board. The Houston Branch of The International Dyslexia Association (HBIDA) was founded in 1978, at a meeting among parents and teachers. They were concerned for the education of children with language learning problems and wanted to create an organization to promote efforts to help those children. The objectives of HBID are: • Increase community awareness of dyslexia • Encourage the use of scientifically-based reading instruction for individuals identified with dyslexia • Support educational and medical research on dyslexia


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Retiring Teachers Give 139 Years of Service Holly Strapulos, 38 years Retiring after 38 years of unabashed devotion to her students and to Briarwood, Mrs. Strapulos was the epitome of a Briarwood teacher: professional, innovative, life-long learner, always finding another way to reach a child. In addition to teaching reading remediation throughout her career, Mrs. Strapulos was instrumental in starting the CEI, Creative Writing and Reading Labs, along with the EPals Program. Through the EPals Program, Mrs. Strapulos connected our students to students in six different countries. The consummate educator, Ms. Strapulos plans to spend time with her husband and animals on their farm.

Cathy Moran, 24 years Ms. Moran retired after 24 years of teaching English to all freshmen in the Middle Upper School. Serving as Chair of the English Department for most of her career, Ms. Moran will be remembered for her love of literature, her dedication to her students and for always going above and beyond to be certain that each student learned through her varied methodologies of teaching. Ms. Moran initiated the ‘Breakfast of Champions’ awards program to recognize a student’s attitude, effort and attendance. For many years, Ms. Moran also organized the annual Awards Program, another recognition of students’ academic achievements. Ms. Moran left her mark in many places at Briarwood!

Alice Forbes, 22 years After 22 years as a classroom teacher in Tuttle School, Ms. Forbes bowed out of her duties as a lead teacher and

elected to become a Teacher Assistant for the upcoming school year. Still energized and excited about teaching, Ms. Forbes is looking forward to her new role in Tuttle School. As a Teacher Assistant, she will continue to incorporate diversification of instruction, technology and perceptual motor skills into all facets of each student’s program.

Meg Smith, 19 years

Joining Briarwood in 1997 as a Teacher Assistant, Ms. Smith soon earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Her remarkable career was spent in Lower School, where she taught intermediate classes. Embracing early intervention, Ms. Smith recognized the importance of merging academic skills with pragmatic skills and helped to develop the TOPS class (Teaching Opportunities of Pragmatic Skills) for all of our Lower School students. Ms. Smith’s legacy continues through TOPS, the Sixth Grade Speeches and historical productions through the Lower School program.

Mary Baldwin, 14 years Known for her expertise in math and language, Ms. Baldwin taught with a belief that every child has the potential to learn and, therefore, to become a productive young adult and contributing member to society. With a unique ability to meld creative ideas through direct instruction, Ms. Baldwin launched many students from Lower School to Middle School or to a mainstream school following their Briarwood education. Throughout her career at Briarwood, Ms. Baldwin also served as a mentor to student teachers. The student teachers learned from a master!

Ms. Knight joined the Briarwood team in 2004 as an English teacher in the Middle Upper School. With a combination of her love for literature and for her students to be well versed in all genres of literature, Ms. Knight provided tenth graders with a solid foundation that served them well throughout high school and into college. Part of Ms. Knight’s legacy at Briarwood is an annual fundraiser to fight cancer through the Susan G. Komen Foundation. With donations to promote awareness of cancer and to foster research, Briarwood students, faculty and administrators were encouraged to wear pink to show their support. Thanks to Ms. Knight for a memorable legacy that became a piece of Briarwood’s rich history.

Jean Horn, 10 years Entering Briarwood in the Fall of 2007 as the Athletic Director, Coach Horn continued to build upon the successful programs that her predecessors had established. Coach Horn expanded the athletic program to include Flag Football, additional sports for the Middle School athletes and continued to encourage students to participate in sports. In her last year at Briarwood, 74 percent of the Middle Upper School students participated in at least one sport. In 2009 Coach Horn was recognized by the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance as Teacher of the Year. Well known for her mantra – Academics before Sports – Coach Horn modeled great coaching with those who came on board to coach. Kudos to Coach Horn for leading the young Mustangs to accomplish goals many thought would never be possible!

Left to right: Holly Strapulos, Cathy Moran, Alice Forbes, Meg Smith, Mary Baldwin, Elaine Knight and Jean Horn. 24 T he B riarwood S chool

Alumni Highlights

Alison Galbraith Reflects on

Life After Briarwood

In the fall of 2003 (my 9th grade year at Briarwood) I notified my parents that I believed I had accomplished what I needed to do at Briarwood, and I was ready to try out a mainstream high school that might accommodate my learning differences. In the fall of 2004 I enrolled in Lutheran High North to begin my Sophomore year in high school. I graduated from LHN in the spring of 2007 and enrolled at the University of Dallas (UD) in the fall of 2007. UD does not have a formal learning disability program, but the dean of students did allow someone like me who had certified learning disabilities to work out arrangements with professors to obtain extended time on certain assignments and exams. Briarwood’s course in self advocacy served me well in working out these arrangements with my professors. For the last two years, I have taught third graders English grammar and high school students Medieval History. During this time, I have occasionally had the opportunity to teach children with learning disabilities, which has been a great experience. In my free time, I continue to read English literature and poetry, philosophy, history, art and architecture, much of which I discuss with other recent college graduates when we regularly meet as a group. Briarwood indeed instilled in me a love of learning! I am grateful for the dedication of all those at Briarwood who helped give me confidence that I could master certain subjects notwithstanding my learning differences.

What’s the Scoop? We love to hear from Alumni and former students. Take a moment and tell us what is happening in your life (photos are a bonus!). Email us at

Matthew Ignas, former student Matthew attended Briarwood from 3rd grade – 8th grade and currently attends St. Thomas High School where he is very involved in 4-H Club, especially shooting skeet and trap. He was awarded Reserve Champion in photography through the 4-H Club. He volunteers at St. John Vianney’s summer camp and is planning to participate in track in the fall. Shot put and discus are his specialties. After graduation, he hopes to attend Texas A&M or University of Notre Dame where he hopes to study Wildlife Management.

Advice to new students at Briarwood? Set goals; strive to be your best. Get involved in extra curricular activities. Do your DRP, start young and it becomes a habit. Matthew still uses the Briarwood binder system. Matthew credits Briarwood for building a foundation for his success at St. Thomas.

Hutch Hagendorf ‘11 Hutch graduated from the University of Arizona in 2015. He is in his second year working for World Caribbean Cruise Line as a dancer. He loves his job and gets paid to do what he loves!

For news and events around Briarwood Visit:


A lu m ni N Ews

The Alumni Basketball Game

They shoot, they score! Thanks to Briarwood’s alumni for coming out for a friendly basketball game this past January!

Kim O’Neal, ‘87 What advice would you give a new student coming into Briarwood? I would like to tell the new students entering Briarwood not to worry about what others might think about having a learning difference. They will be meeting others with similar educational difficulties and forging lasting friendships. They will learn in a supporting environment with wonderful, caring teachers. Their self-esteem will improve as they become more confident in their abilities. The feelings of failure and poor grades, with hard work, will be replaced with a love of learning. This is what Briarwood did for me. The teachers closed my educational gaps and while doing so, increased my self-esteem. I learned about my strengths and my weaknesses and how to play to my strengths and learned strategies to help in the areas where I was weak. I am so excited for all of the new students entering the 2016-2017 school year and I wish them all the very best.

What did you take with you from Briarwood that helped you along the way? What I took from Briarwood was the knowledge that a learning disability doesn't mean that I could not pursue my dreams. It just meant that it may take me longer than my peers to finish my college degree (it took 5 1/2 years instead of 4). I know that when I read articles during our meetings at work that I will probably have to read what I didn't get finished at home. I know that it takes me longer to take tests, but it doesn't stop me. Briarwood also had wonderful teachers. And last, but not least, my amazing friends that I made while attending Briarwood, all of whom I'm still friends with. Having attended Briarwood has also helped me in my career. I have an understanding of what students may be going through when they first learn that they have a disability. My experience at Briarwood has helped me be more compassionate for others who struggle in school, whether it is a learning disability, autism, anxiety, depression, etc. I am truly grateful for having attended Briarwood. I hope that others will have as great a time as I did at Briarwood. 26 T he B riarwood S chool

Alumni N ews

Blake Brougher, ‘11 Blake is a recent graduate from Schreiner University where he received a degree in Business Management. He is currently working at Forge USA as a financial Analysis/Advisor and would like to continue his education by getting a Master’s Degree in Finance. Blake met his fiance, Sarah, during his travels abroad and they are planning their wedding for November 2017.

Brent Richardson, ‘02 Brent graduated from Stephen F. Austin in 2008. He worked at Hotel Fredonia in Nacogdoches for four years while attending SFA. He started as a bar manager and event planner bringing in all types of entertainment. Shortly after he was offered a job at a full service Marriott in Austin. He was promoted to open the Westin Austin/Downtown where he had to create standard operating procedures, hire staff, design work flows, learn all new branding and oversee his 40 employees. Brent is now opening his 2nd Westin hotel from the ground up. Brent and his wife Giselle (from U.K.) met while she was in Austin for an internship. They have been married for a little over a year.

His advice to new students attending Briarwood? Trust the process. “I came in 5th grade reading below a 1st grade level and within a year I was above grade level,” says Blake. Get involved in extra curricular activities, sports, drama.

His accomplishments: •

• •

Voted by Student body of Schreiner as Speaker of Student Government Associates and introduced the “Lights out, Power Down” initiate to save energy on campus Member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity where he was the Intermural Sports Chair, Community Service Chair, Member of the Greek Honor Society Graduated Cum Laude at Schreiner Studied abroad in Italy.

Courtney Etheridge, ‘08 For the last few years, I have fulfilled my dream of working with children. I am currently working for Katy I.S.D as a para-professional. I graduated with my Associates Degree in Human Services from Beacon College and am living in Katy, Texas. I enjoy spending time with my friends and my family, especially my nephew, Chase.

George Van Wageningen, former


George attended Briarwood from 1998-2002, 5th grade until middle school. George is a proud graduate of Texas Tech University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management in May, 2010. Following a successful career in sales with Southeast US, George recently joined Lawyers Title Company in Southlake, where he continues to use his expertise in sales. George, his wife Stephanie, and their two little girls, Tinley and Peyton, live in McKinney, Texas. “Briarwood definitely made an impact on my life!”


A lu m ni N Ews

Is the Doctor In? Dr. Anthony Nocella, II, ‘95 Anthony J. Nocella, II is an assistant professor of Sociology and Criminology at Fort Lewis College. He joined Fort Lewis in 2015 after being a Senior Fellow at the Hamline University Law School, teaching in the School of Education at Hamline University, and teaching in the School of Education at St. Cloud State University. Dr. Nocella is the editor of the Peace Studies Journal, an Executive Director and co-founder of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, National Co-Coordinator of Save the Kids, Director of the Institute for Hip Hop Activism, editor of Poetry Behind the Walls, and Director of the Academy for Peace Education. Dr. Nocella has published more than fifty scholarly articles or book chapters and has published more than twenty-two books including “Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth” (2006) and “Hollywood’s Exploited: Public Pedagogy, Corporate Movies, and Cultural Crisis” (2010). He is editor of the Critical Animal Studies and Theory book series with Lexington Books and Radical Animal Studies and Total Liberation book series with Peter Lang Publishing. Dr. Nocella is a co-founder of the fields of critical animal studies, disability pedagogy, eco-ability, radical animal studies, total liberation, and academic repression.

Education •Ph.D., Social Science, Syracuse University •M.S., Cultural Foundations of Education, Syracuse University •Graduate Certificate, International Conflict Management, Syracuse University •Graduate Certificate, Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University •M.A., Peacemaking and Conflict Studies, Fresno Pacific University, 2003 •Graduate Certificate, Mediation, Fresno Pacific University, •B.A., Political Science, Pre-Law, and Public Administration, University of St. Thomas

Peter Scalzitti, former student “I left Briarwood after my 8th grade year. For high school I attended St. Thomas and graduated high school in 1993.

“Since October of 1999 I have been married to my best friend and love of my life, Flavia. Flavia and I do not have any children, but we do have a crazy Irish Setter who is spoiled. What I have taken with me from Briarwood is a very heavy understanding of who I am and what I am capable of." 28 T he B riarwood S chool

I was accepted into The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and moved to DC to start college in August of 1993. I graduated from college in December of 1997 and shortly after in January 1998 I started in sales with my father’s company Advanced Office Systems, Inc. and Advanced Record Storage. For the past 18 years I have been involved with our businesses in all capacity. Just recently I became President and owner of Advanced Office Systems, Inc. after we sold our other company Advanced Record Storage in January of 2016.”

Alumni N ews

Amin Noorani, ‘06

Ryan Harkey, ‘89

Amin graduated from St. Edward’s University in Austin in 2010 with a BS in Communication, PR and Advertising. After graduation, Amin worked as a car and technology salesman until he found his true passion in real estate. For the past three years, Amin has worked as a Lending Associate for CCG Capital in Austin.

Ryan Harkey returned this summer to visit Briarwood. Along for the trip were Ryan’s wife Emily and their children: Sam, Seth, Luke and Evelyn. In 1994, Ryan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Photo-Communications from Texas Tech University, and then went on to receive his Master’s from Moody Theological Seminary. Ryan served with the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in multiple countries during his college years and, professionally, with Athletes in Action Media. Ryan and his family reside in Bothell, WA., where he oversees both a church and a school. “Briarwood made a huge difference in my life! I am so thankful for my years spent at Briarwood and was so blessed by the teachers and administrators who spoke into my life to help make me the person I am today.”

According to Amin, Briarwood gave him the tools that he used in college to succeed. These “guiding tools are confidence, persistence, being eager to learn” are qualities that Amin continues to use each day.

Shelly Dompier Mulanax, ‘87

Chris Hausburg, ‘06 With a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Information Systems from The University of the Incarnate Word, Chris returned to Houston to begin his career. Completely immersed in technology, Chris recently joined Landry’s as a Hardware Engineer. Chris’ hobbies include kayaking, fishing and devoting his time and scouting skills with students at Yellowstone Academy. He and his wife, Morgan, enjoy living in Houston and helping others.

Wedding or birth announcements? Please share your news with your Briarwood family at

First and foremost in Shelly’s life is her husband, Jerome and her three children, Allison, Abby and Cameron. Since leaving Briarwood, Shelly has found her passion for service to others. She is on the Board of Directors for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and a long-time member of the Mutton Bustin’ and Special Students committees. Shelly serves on the boards of the Kelsey Research Foundation, Children’s Museum of Houston, the Mike James Foundation, the Texas Children’s Pediatric Advisory Board, Cystic Fibrosis, Camp for All, the Epilepsy Foundation, and Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS). While at Briarwood, Shelly was influenced by Barbara Lassiter, the Drama and Senior English teacher. Barbara’s “Zest for Life” continues to motivate Shelly in all she does for others.

Morgan Jones, ‘15 Following a successful Freshman year at Trinity (San Antonio), Morgan received the exciting news that he had been selected to participate in the National Science Foundation-funded Automotive and Energy Industrial Mentorship (AERIM) Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. Morgan was one of ten students (120 applicants) selected to participate in the ten week program. Congratulations, Morgan!


A lu m ni N Ews

Jennifer Soley, ‘87 What advice would you give a new student coming into Briarwood? The words “learning difficulty” has a different meaning than “learning difference”. Each one of us learns differently no matter who you are or what school you attend. Life would be very boring if we all learned the same way. So as you enter the blue doors, your first day at Briarwood, allow it to be your home. It was for me. Take a deep breath and begin to allow yourself to learn the way YOU learn. The teachers at Briarwood will help you find the proper strategies and technologies to help you gain worldly knowledge. Might I say…I love spell check! Embrace your strengths because, believe it or not, you have more of them than your weaknesses. Don’t curse your weaknesses. Instead, challenge them and one day they, too, will be your strengths. Dyslexia does not define me. I have many many strengths because of my dyslexia. I am forever grateful for the impeccable and nurturing teachers and staff at The Briarwood School. Enjoy your new home!

What did you take with you from Briarwood that helped you along the way?

30 T he B riarwood S chool

Chris Keller ‘11, Christine Wearing ‘10, TJ Condon ‘01, Kiersten Schrock ‘13, Seth Moran ‘14, Ross Ackerman ‘15, Ashley Ackerman ‘12, Al Farb ‘05.

Seen Around Campus

I took a class my junior year and as part of the curriculum we read the book “I Can” written by Zig Ziglar. Those words “I can” have resonated with me when I have had obstacles during my undergraduate and graduate studies. I always made sure I knew my professors on a personal level. I would tell them my strengths first and then that I had dyslexia. I made sure I turned in my papers to my professors before the due date for their feedback, I then could correct the paper before the final due dates. None of my teachers in high school or through my graduate studies had ever failed me because I had the “I can” attitude.

Alumni N ews

My name is Maria and I am Dyslexic, Dysgraphic and have ADD. Many people do not really understand what those learning differences are. Because most people are not really familiar with what Dyslexia is or what Dysgraphia is, they back away and do not want to communicate with us because all they see is that you talk differently or that you think differently. We are judged by society based on how we talk and how we think. For years I thought I was stupid and never knew what was wrong with me. “Why is it that I am different from the other students? Why is it that I am in special education classes, Mom? Why can’t I talk like everyone else? WHY DOES IT TAKE ME TWICE THE EFFORT TO GET ONE ASSIGNMENT DONE?” For years I struggled in school until the seventh grade. My parents found a school that teaches students with learning differences. Beginning in the seventh grade and continuing in my senior year, I learned how to organize, study, make friends, and communicate. Now I am looking forward to my next chapter in college with my constant companion, Dyslexia.

My Friend Confusion and struggle Reading and writing Lost in instructions Spelling is my enemy Loss of confidence Lost interest What’s wrong with me? Discovering myself Could it be? A friend I never thought would live inside me? Dyslexia A gift A special way of learning A friend who will always be there in my journey.

- Maria (‘Ree’) Krezer ‘16

Tuttle School Alumni


Tuttle School Alumni Are Making BIG Strides!

Alumni Emily Deiss, Sabira Khan, Alexa Smith, Josie Vaiana, Zach turner, Ricky Walsh, and Kenny New are all using their talents to make greeting cards for Special Treats Cards. They have been very successful and to date have handmade and sold over 6,000 cards! The card crew also participates in a Fitbit challenge and, as a group, has logged over one million steps! Emily and Alexa work at the original Brookwood store. Sabira and Josie work at the new Brookwood at Gallery Furniture. Zach Turner participates in the nonpareil program where he can use his computer skills. This group of alumni also participates in the Easter Seals Adult Lead Program for social and leisure activities. Josie is a member of the Fort Bend Arc Special Olympic golf and volleyball team. Kenny New never misses a Sugar Land Skeeters game, is a huge Texans fan, and enjoys keeping in touch with many of his old classmates. Ricky is a very talented artist, plays baseball, and enjoys Zumba classes.



Briarwood School a school for children

with learning differences

& intellectual disabilities

12207 Whittington Dr. Houston, Texas 77077

www. briarwoodschool. org address service requested

The Briarwood School 2016  

Check out the latest news and events from Briarwood!

The Briarwood School 2016  

Check out the latest news and events from Briarwood!