2017 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award Winners
AUSTIN — The University Interscholastic League is proud to recognize 16 of the best UIL sponsors in Texas as the 2017 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners.
A panel of judges selected the winners in the areas of academics, athletics, and music from nominations submitted by school principals and superintendents across the state.
The award, now in its 27th year, was created to identify and recognize outstanding sponsors who enable students to develop and refine their extracurricular talents to the highest degree possible within the education system.
“Coaches and teachers have such a difficult job, and they go beyond the call of duty to serve as UIL sponsors, coaches, and directors,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “UIL events function and thrive on the dedication and immense effort from sponsors like these. On behalf of the UIL, I commend these outstanding educators.”
Each winner will receive $1,000 and a symbolic memento from the UIL in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the pursuit of educational excellence through interscholastic competition. The League continually strives to strengthen and promote the role of extracurricular activities in Texas through programs like the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.
The UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners for 2017 are as follows:
Roderick Boyce – Clarksville High School
Roderick Boyce has dedicated 33 years to UIL Music and Choir. During his tenure, he has led Clarksville High School to four top-5 finishes at the UIL Marching Band State Championships, including a state title in 2017. His bands have captured ten sweepstakes awards and 14 consecutive UIL First Division awards.
“Our mission (in partnership with the community) is to develop lifelong learners to become productive citizens in an ever-changing global society,” Boyce said. “By applying these principles, students learn dedication and discipline. Competition creates pride whereas all students work together to achieve common goals.”
Chris Brannan, Mineola High School
During his 23-year career in music, Chris Brannan has led Mineola High School to four gold medals, one silver medal, and one bronze medal at the UIL Marching Band State Championships.
“If you can do your best then you can never be disappointed with the results,” Brannan said. “We don’t talk about other groups or try to beat other schools. We show up and perform to the best of our abilities. This sense of pride through excellence is something they will keep for the rest of their lives.”
Deanne Brown, Austin Westlake High School
Throughout her 31 years in UIL Academic Competition, Deanne Brown has coached journalism at Austin Westlake High School. She has led her teams the District Sweepstakes Award eight times. She is also the sponsor for her school publication named the Featherduster. The paper has won state, national and international awards while under her direction.
“I support competitions – academic and athletic – at the high school level,” said Brown. “I think participating in games and contests helps teenagers understand and appreciate goal-setting, challenges, teamwork, fairness, good sportsmanship, and other characteristics associated with healthy competitions.”
Dwayne Craig, Lewisville The Colony High School
Dwayne Craig has been leading the theater department at Lewisville The Colony High School for the past 20 years. He has also coached the school’s UIL Academic team for four years. He has led his students to a total of six state championships in One-Act Play, most recently in 2017.
“With the focus of our work, and the telling of important stories that help us grow and heal, we can continue to grow and strive to be independent, life-long learners,” Craig said. “I want my students to grow as adults who can practice empathy and be responsible members of society.”
Mellessa Denny, Amarillo High School
Mellessa Denny has coached UIL Academics at Amarillo High School for 20 years, which includes CX Debate, Student Congress, poetry, and prose. She has been the school’s UIL Academic Coordinator for the past ten years where she has led five teams to the UIL CX Debate State Meet and four individuals to the Congress State Meet.
“The actual medal is not the end goal,” Denny said. “Through competition, even when one does not win, students learn valuable skills that will last throughout life.”
Gregory Dick, Friendswood High School
Gregory Dick has led the Friendswood High School Band for the past 18 years where his bands have won the UIL Sweepstakes Award every year. His groups have also advanced to the UIL Marching Band State Championships nine times, capturing the silver medal in 2003, 2005, and 2009.
“Competition is an essential component of a school’s basic educational mission because it prepares students for life,” Dick said. “It is not about winning or losing, but the learning process each student goes through to get ready to compete.”
Brenda Emley, Lytle High School
For the past 28 years, Brenda Emley has been a UIL Academic coach at Lytle High School. She has guided students in writing competitions, informative speaking, LD Debate, current events and ready writing. Her students have advanced multiple students to regional and state games, along with four state champions during her time.
“I know that academic and athletic competition has the potential to change lives,” said Emley. “From the critical thinking and problem solving involved in events to the bonding opportunities, UIL activities are invaluable. UIL academic competition, when backed with administrative support and passionate coaching, transforms kids’ lives.”
Janice Holcomb, Lufkin High School
Janice Holcomb has been the UIL Accounting Coach at Lufkin High School for the last 20 years. She has led her team to 18-consecutive district championships while capturing nine regional championships and finishing second at the state meet twice. She has also guided 14 individuals to the state meet.
“I believe the practices with accounting teams work to build camaraderie, leadership skills, and team workplace skills,” Holcomb said. “I have seen leaders emerge from a team with confidence and superb analytical skills. They become excellent problem solvers and face challenges with great energy.”
Julie Holloway, Grandview High School
Julie Holloway has coached UIL Academics at Grandview High School for the past 15 years and the school’s One-Act Play for the last eight years. She has led her teams to state titles in congressional debate, current events, and editorial writing. The One-Act Play casts she has directed have advanced to the state finals three times and regional competition all eight years she has coached.
“Students competing in UIL Academics become smarter students, more involved students, and better student leaders,” Holloway said. “They are given the opportunity to take their knowledge to a higher level through competition. These same students are reaching personal goals and preparing themselves for a competitive world.”
Kathy Johnson, Argyle High School
Kathy Johnson has coached UIL Concert and Sight Reading at Argyle High School for the last 31 years. She has also led the school’s Marching Band for the past 11 years. Her bands have earned consistent Sweepstakes ratings, and the marching band has won the UIL Marching Band State Championship in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014. They also finished as state runner-up in 2016.
“Healthy competition is a means to facilitate the setting of higher standards of achievement and excellence for individual students and student organizations,” said Johnson. “Competition serves as a medium to develop a strong sense of personal integrity, work ethic, and moral character in the individual participants, as well as a strong sense of teamwork, camaraderie, and family in teams and organizations.”
Aimee Kasprzyk, Blooming Grove High School
At Blooming Grove High School, Aimee Kasprzyk has been a UIL Academic Coach and involved with the One-Act Play Competition for the past 29 years. The past 15 years she has led the One-Act Play as lead director. She has led three individuals to state titles in poetry and prose, while also advancing the One-Act Play to six state finals. Her One-Act Plays finished as state runner-up in 2005 and 2008.
“Students should be taught to compete, not merely for the accolades they can win, but instead, the lifelong lessons of learning, the love of the subjects, and the people that the students encounter,” Kasprzyk said. “The respect and empathy that everyone can and should learn from each other should grow as a result of these pursuits.”
Lester King, Goodrich High School
A 38-year coaching veteran, Lester King has been the athletic director at Goodrich High School for 29 years. He has led the boy’s basketball team to the district championship 25 times and to the state playoffs 27 times. He has also led the girl’s basketball team to the state playoffs twice in three seasons.
“My philosophy is for kids never to be satisfied and to strive to do more and better,” King said. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Wendy Miller, Lone Oak High School
Wendy Miller has been a UIL Academic Coach for the past 14 years and Lone Oak High School’s UIL Academic Coordinator for the last ten years. She has led teams to state competitions in Congress (4), CX Debate (2), Journalism (3), Computer Science (7), and Social Studies (1). She has increased support and enrollment in events culminating in a district championship in 2016-17, which was the first district title in decades for Lone Oak High School.
“I value the way UIL has given so many of my students a place to belong and shine,” Miller said. “I have had the opportunity to coach many students that have never felt like they fit in anywhere or succeeded at anything, but shined in their UIL academic event. For my gifted and talented students, it gives them the opportunity to pour themselves into an event they love in a way that challenges and fulfills them.”
Glenn Roberts, Round Rock McNeil High School
Glenn Roberts has been a coach for 34 years with stops at Corpus Christi Calallen, Austin Johnston, and Round Rock McNeil. He has coached boys and girls track and field, boy’s cross country and football. Roberts led his team to a combined 13 district titles. He also guided 32 individuals to the state competition, and four of those individuals took home state titles.
“Each student-athlete is capable of success at all levels of competition,” Roberts said. “Our program is built around sportsmanship, integrity, and commitment.”
Katrese Skinner, El Campo High School
With 19 years of experience, Katrese Skinner has been the director of El Campo High School’s One-Act Play, as well as the UIL Coordinator for the school for the past 16 years. Her UIL students have won 10 district championships and advanced to the state meet 35 times.
“When I think of my school district’s mission, I cannot fathom a better way for me to help facilitate our district-wide mission than promoting UIL participation, involvement, sponsorship, and excellence,” Skinner said. “Coaching the content in all UIL Academics, speech, debate, interpretation, and one-act play is a way to give students access to abilities and a skill set that they use in all facets of future endeavors.”
Amanda Wolf-Schramm, Elgin High School
Amanda Wolf-Schramm has been the softball coach at Elgin High School for the past 11 years. She has led her team the state playoffs every season.
“I believe my purpose is not only to instill a winning attitude and mindset in athletics but to transform that mindset into academics and later life,” Wolf-Schramm said. “I am constantly telling my student-athletes that I want them to be winners in life. By that, I mean being positive influences in their community, going on to further their education, developing successful careers that they enjoy, and contributing to their future families and loved ones.”