Meet The Leaders
Over the years, the Teacher Enrichment Initiatives in the Department of Medicine (now housed in the Pharmacology Dept.) at the UT Health San Antonio has provided teacher professional development opportunities for area teachers. “Summer Intensives” are one such opportunity to develop TELA leaders. An intensive involves six weeks of on-site collaboration, research, and curriculum writing. Over 70 teachers, along with university researchers, have participated in this enriched experience and have grown an impressive collection of interdisciplinary health science learning materials that are offered free on the project website: TEIteachers.org.
These alumni represent twelve school districts in Bexar and surrounding counties.
Rosemary Riggs, M.A.
Ms. Riggs is responsible for being the main liaison between participating school districts and UT Health San Antonio. Ms. Riggs develops and conducts in-services and trainings for teachers. She works one-on-one with teachers on curriculum development, lesson planning, and adaptations of the materials. Ms.Riggs assists with the analysis and interpretation of the evaluation materials and coordinates with the teacher writing teams to revise the materials.
Shaunna Garner, M.Ed.
Ms. Garner started her 11-year teaching career at Northeast ISD, teaching 8th grade science. Shaunna received her Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas in December of 2000. In May of 2004 she graduated with her Master’s degree in Health Education from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Shaunna’s passion for science initially started her path in education, but her favorite part of the teaching profession is building relationships with her 170 students; their growth and accomplishments throughout the year are extremely rewarding.
Ms. Garner’s relationship with UT Health SA’s Teacher Enrichment Initiatives (TEI) started in 2006, with the Positively Aging Grant. She continued to grow with the TEI program by collaborating between UT Health SA and the NEISD’s Scrubs Club initiative. The Scrubs Club was for 8th grade students interested in the medical/health professions. Shaunna then continued her relationship with the TEI program by joining the Teacher Enrichment Leadership Academy (TELA), known at the time as the Voelcker Biosciences Teacher Academy (VBTA). She wanted to form a network of fellow teachers, to share experiences and to strengthen her teaching ability.
Shaunna is now part of the TELA Leadership and loves that she has a safe place to share her ideas and teaching styles with other like-minded individuals. In her free time, she enjoys going to the movies and jogging.
Ramon Gleason, B.A.
Mr. Gleason has been teaching for 16 years, and teaches Science, Math, ELA, and Work Skills for Adaptive Learning Environment (ALE) in grades 6,7, and 8. Ramon received his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Development and went on to get his teaching certification from Region 20. Ramon first began as a substitute teacher at a South San ISD school and was then offered a job at the same school. Soon, he found that he had a knack for working with the special needs population. Ramon’s favorite things about teaching are that it keeps him on his feet, and working with, and talking to students. It brings Ramon a fresh perspective on our world through their eyes.
Ramon joined the Teacher Enrichment Leadership Academy (TELA) in 2012, known at the time as the Voelcker Biosciences Teacher Academy (VBTA). He quickly became a valued member of the academy and was soon nominated to become Chair of the TELA Community Outreach committee. After showing much initiative in growing with TELA, he was hired as a Teacher Leader, and has continued to thrive. Ramon loves working with other positively minded people in the teaching field. Being a Leader in TELA energizes him and it reminds him that he makes a difference to his students and fellow teachers.
Besides his love for teaching and learning, Ramon enjoys bike riding on the Mission trails, working around his house, and watching movies.
Jennifer Lee, B.S.
Jennifer Lee has been teaching 27 years; she received her Bachelor's degree from the University of the Incarnate Word. She was inspired to become a teacher as a child by her grandmother; an elementary teacher for over 40 years. Mrs. Lee’s favorite part about being a teacher is watching the faces of her students light up when they discover something new.
Mrs. Lee’s greatest goal is to instill a sense of wonder and curiosity in her students. She wants them to ask BIG questions about their wonderful world. She does this through innovative and creative activities, such as using lemons to strengthen student observation skills and magnified parts of random objects to inspire students with their creative writing. Jennifer started collaborating with the Teacher Enrichment Leadership Academy (TELA), known at the time as the Voelcker Biosciences Teacher Academy (VBTA), by teaching workshops in the summer and spring. Since that time, she has risen from Committee Chair to Teacher Leader!
When Mrs. Lee is not teaching, she loves to explore new places and spend as much time in nature as possible. She is a devoted mother to her two daughters and enjoys spending time with her family. She also happens to be a musical theater enthusiast!
Christine Ziese, B.S.
Ms. Ziese received her Bachelor of Science from The University of Texas at San Antonio after completing an exchange program with Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH), and an internship at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL). Christine has been teaching for 8 years and currently is a Pre-AP Physics teacher at New Braunfels High School. Christine loves being able to impact her students and help them see what they want and could become. She has always wanted to help her community and the world, and being a teacher helps her make ripples that will hopefully one day turn into waves of positive change in the world.
Christine first started attending the Teacher Enrichment Leadership Academy (TELA) Annual Spring Conference in 2010, known at the time as the Voelcker Biosciences Teacher Academy (VBTA). She loves the close-knit community feel of TELA. It provides a positive environment that allows her to connect with teachers across districts and the state, where Christine can share and bounce ideas and get creative solutions to hurdles she encounters. Christine has taken on a role as a Teacher Leader in TELA. TELA is a place where Christine feels comfortable sharing her professional struggles and enjoys the positive feedback, guidance, and connections with colleagues.
In Christine’s free time, she likes to travel and enjoys taking photographs (especially of nature in black and white). She also enjoys hiking, reading crime novels, and anything forensic science related. She has recently turned to listening to true crime podcasts.