The Duncanville ISD Spirit of a Champion award recognizes district employees who have demonstrated expertise and leadership in the area of education for the betterment of our students and district. Spirit of a Champion recipients are individuals who are well-respected by their peers for their countless contributions to the organization. They exemplify characteristics of positive mentors, exemplary professionals, serve as positive role models and demonstrate that they are friends of public education.
Javier Canales is a former instructional aide with the English as a Second Language Department (ESL). While working in the classroom, Mr. Canales refused to let any student fall through the cracks. He now works as a maintenance employee at Duncanville High school where he is described by his peers as diligent, efficient and always greets people with a smile. Mr. Canales proactively looks for items that need to be repaired - often using his own equipment. Regardless of his role in the district, Mr. Canales embodies the belief that students are our priority. He demonstrates his care for students and DHS by attending athletic and band competitions. He also goes to graduation every year to support students and staff.
Natalie Crittendon is an assistant principal at Byrd Middle School. She has a welcoming smile and an infectious laugh. Ms. Crittendon exemplifies initiative, courage and passion for her students every day. As a parent of two students in the district, she brings a dual perspective to her work as an administrator and a parent. One of her peers wrote: “Her example has carried me and many of my colleagues through incredibly difficult days when it felt like the ground was shifting beneath us and unsure times lay ahead. Natalie inspires me to continue moving, continue working and continue believing that what we do here every day is simply the most important work that we can do.”
Tijuana Hudson is a counselor and testing coordinator at Summit Education Center. Ms. Hudson’s peers describe her as a tireless advocate who regularly asks herself “what is in the best interest for this student?” She is dedicated to providing support to ensure students’ academic success. Ms. Hudson places a high value on people and relationships. She uses a ‘person-centered’ counseling style based on building trust with her students. She seeks innovative ways to offer guidance including partnering with community-based agencies. Ms. Hudson coordinated a Meet and Greet event at Summit where students brought a parent or guardian for weekly sessions to develop social skills. Her impact on Summit students and staff is immeasurable.
L. Renae Shedd is a paraprofessional at Brandenburg Intermediate School. Ms. Shedd has been with Duncanville ISD for more than 15 years. In that time has developed an outstanding In School Suspension (ISS) program. Students respect Ms. Shedd because they know she looks out for their best interests. She maintains a ‘can do’ attitude and takes care of staff by coordinating monthly luncheons, teacher incentives and staff celebrations. Ms. Shedd has a big heart and her compassion and kindness make a difference for students and staff. She is a crucial member of the Brandenburg family.