By Wendy Gragg
Killeen Daily Herald
Parents, children and educators within the Killeen school district have long known what a treasure David Woodberry is to the community. Now the state is standing up and taking notice as well.
Woodberry, site director of the Communities In Schools program at East Ward Elementary in Killeen, was named CIS Staff Member of the Year for the state of Texas. He will be honored Friday at the State Board of Education meeting in Austin.
The Texas Education Agency made the announcement Tuesday, along with winners of the CIS Volunteer, Parent, Student, Superintendent, Principal, Teacher, Business, Board Member and Executive Director of the Year and the Paul Lane Award of Excellence.
"I have to credit (the award) to all the people who helped me," Woodberry said, listing the students, parents and community as his partners. "It's a group effort."
Woodberry has spent 11 years with CIS, a nonprofit agency that aims to meet the needs of students and families and to clear any roadblocks that stand in the way of academic success. He case manages about 210 students at East Ward, and about 50 kids are regulars in his afterschool program.
But his service to East Ward and the surrounding neighborhoods doesn't stop there. Woodberry can often be found at the Connections office as late as 9 p.m., teaching a GED prep class to some of his students' parents.
He also works an extra job to provide more for the program and his students.
"That's above and beyond, it really is," said Mary Barr, executive director of CIS Bell-Coryell Inc.
Woodberry said he puts his heart, soul and time into CIS because he believes that everyone deserves the chance to make it.
"I feel that people did that for me when I was a kid they gave me opportunities," he said.
Barr said Woodberry is an excellent representative of the many dedicated people working for the agency.
"David is truly exceptional," she said. "He pretty much just dedicates his life to children."
Recognition from the state is nice because it draws attention to the program, Woodberry said. But he takes the greatest satisfaction in seeing the results of his work, such as when high school students return to his program to work with younger students and pass on what they learned from Communities In Schools years before.
If he can reach everyone he encounters, and then they go on to reach everyone they encounter, the positive influence of Communities In Schools will multiply.
"That's how you change (things)," he said.
Contact Wendy Gragg at firstname.lastname@example.org