By Stafford MSD Communications
Ellen Bishop and Carin Williamson are two of the best teachers in Stafford Municipal School District, but their story started long before they began working in the district.
Williamson was a teacher and a cheerleading coach at a private school in Harris County, and Bishop was a member of her cheerleading squad. Little did they know, their friendship would blossom many years later.
“She was a tough coach,” Bishop said. “She had high expectations of us. She was determined to have the team learn the routine.”
Williamson recalls a quality student/cheerleader who always had a smile on her face and enjoyed learning.
“She has a gentle spirit,” Williamson said.
After Bishop graduated high school, the student and coach went their separate ways. Jobs, families and life happened. They re-connected on social media, and Bishop ended up applying for a job at SMSD – where Williamson had been on the staff for nearly 20 years.
Last month, Bishop and Williamson each received an amazing honor. Bishop was named Stafford Elementary School Teacher of the Year, and Williamson received Stafford Middle School Teacher of the Year honors for the 2016-17 school year.
When Williamson received her honor, Stafford Middle colleagues presented her with a gift certificate to a local restaurant. She celebrated by inviting Bishop to dinner with her.
Bishop and Williamson represent two of the five finalists for SMSD Teacher of the Year, which will be announced on June 2. The winner will receive a free summer lease for a vehicle, courtesy of Group 1 Automotive.
Both Bishop and Williamson joked that they would ride around with one another in the car, should either of them receive that ultimate honor. They agreed that the District Teacher of the Year honor would mean a great deal – long after they turn in the keys to the leased vehicle.
“Being named Teacher of the Year is about being recognized by your peers and knowing someone sees the hard work you put in,” Williamson said.
Bishop, in her second year at SMSD, was surprised and honored that her peers thought so highly of her.
“It makes me feel proud and honored that my whole campus felt that way,” Bishop said.
Another interesting note in their friendship is the fact that Williamson taught Bishop’s daughter three years ago. That marked the first time that Williamson had taught and/or coached two generations of the same family.
Sometimes, Williamson will even attend the younger Bishop’s swim meets and choir performances.
“My friendship with Ellen Bishop is special,” Williamson said. “It reflects what I think Stafford MSD is all about. We’re a family-oriented district.”