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Katy ISD Leaders Honored with Regional Awards


April 17, 2019

By Addie Davis

Lorena Zertuche, Bear Creek Elementary principal, and Rania Maalouf, Kilpatrick Elementary assistant principal, received awards from the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA).

Lorena Zertuche (Bear Creek Elementary) and Rania Maalouf (Kilpatrick Elementary)

Each year, TEPSA recognizes a Region Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year for their outstanding service to the region. Zertuche was recognized by TEPSA as a 2019 Region TEPSAN of the Year. Maalouf was selected as a 2019 Regional Assistant Principal of the Year.

TEPSA honors school leaders for outstanding service to the association. Award recipients must be full-time Texas public school administrators/supervisors for Pre-K to 8th grades and members of TEPSA for at least five years. They must also be committed to advancing the principalship and the association, as well as serving as a voice for Texas students.

“These leaders volunteer their time to support and advocate for TEPSA members in their region. We are grateful for their contributions to the profession and to our association,” says TEPSA Executive Director Harley Eckhart.

Lorena Zertuche, Ph.D

Zertuche was humbled to learn she was named Region IV TEPSAN of the Year.

"I am blessed to serve in such a wonderful community where our school has been the heart for the past forty years," says Zertuche.

She has worked at Bear Creek Elementary for 12 years and has served as principal for five. When Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, Zertuche arranged for supplies to be delivered to families in the area. She also worked with local law enforcement to make arrangements for students to be bused to Paetow High School for two weeks to avoid utilizing contaminated water caused by the storm.

"We know that our community is resilient and has come back from tragedy numerous times," says Zertuche. "I want our students to carry that resiliency over into their academic accomplishments so that we empower every student to be engaged and reach their greatest potential."

Raina Maalouf

Maalouf has been the assistant principal at Kilpatrick Elementary since 2011. She was surprised and honored to learn she was TEPSA's Assistant Principal of the Year for Region IV.

"Region IV is a large region and is filled with amazing school districts, and it is an honor to hear I was selected among my colleagues for the region," says Maalouf.

When Maalouf is not working, she is volunteering within her school as well as her local community. After Hurricane Harvey hit, she started a book drive to help schools that lost books in the storm.

"When I originally started the book drive, the idea was much more local," says Maalouf.

The drive received national attention, and several communities from out-of-state answered the call to help. One couple from Midland, Michigan heard about the drive and started their own collection. They then drove to Katy with 10,000 books and school supplies loaded in a semi-truck.

Maalouf's motto is to "Lead by Example." As a mother and an educator, she tries to instill this in her children as well as her students. She believes every interaction with a child is an opportunity for growth.

"They might be in my office for discipline, but we will still talk and figure out how to improve," says Maalouf. "The next time I see them, it might be for an accomplishment or an award. It really is a learning experience."

Zertuche and Maalouf will be recognized June 12 at the TEPSA Awards Reception at the Austin Renaissance Hotel.

TEPSA has served Texas Pre-K - 8th grade school leaders since 1917. The member-owned and member- governed association has more than 5,900 members who direct the activities of three million Pre-K - 8th grade school children.

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