Skip To Main Content
Cras justo odio, dapibus ac facilisis in, egestas eget quam. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
Tomball Independent School District

Tomball ISD Names 2023-24 ESL, Bilingual Teachers of the Year

Tomball ISD Names 2023-24 ESL, Bilingual Teachers of the Year

TOMBALL - For their high-quality teaching and the impact they have on students, Tomball ISD campuses recognized their ESL and/or Bilingual Teachers of the Year and from that list, two were named ESL, Bilingual District Teachers of the Year, announced by the TISD Multilingual Department.

  • Lesley Apolskis, Elementary ESL Teacher of the Year - Willow Creek Elementary
  • Maria Alejandra Martinez, Bilingual Teacher of the Year - Rosehill Elementary


Lesley Apolskis | Willow Creek Elementary

Lesley Apolskis

Ms. Apolskis is currently an ESL teacher at Willow Creek Elementary. All 11 years in education have been dedicated to the students in Tomball ISD.

What makes teaching so special to you? 
“Teaching elementary students is special for me because it is a chance to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young learners.  Today’s classrooms are diverse environments, students with different learning styles, abilities and backgrounds. Meeting each student's needs at their level and helping them understand a new or difficult concept or achieve a personal goal is very rewarding.”

Why do you continue teaching? 
“I continue to teach because I hope I can instill a love for learning and nurture students' curiosity with the hope that this will lead them to a lifelong pursuit of learning.”

Why Tomball ISD?  
“That one is easy.  Before teaching was even a thought, I was finding a community where I wanted to raise and educate my own children.  I wanted them in a district that had a strong reputation in student success, provided a supporting learning environment and challenged them at their level.  When I made the decision to start teaching, I could not imagine working for any other district.  In addition, at my campus, I have strong, supportive administration and dedicated and professional co-workers that makes me know I made the right decision.”

From Willow Creek Elementary Principal, Teresa Sullivan…
“Ms. Apolskis has consistently demonstrated a commitment to supporting and nurturing English language learners. She has shown exceptional dedication to fostering an inclusive and motivating learning environment for all students, leading to remarkable growth and academic achievements. She goes above and beyond to create unique and creative lessons and tailor instructional strategies to various students. She possesses the qualities, dedication, and passion necessary to inspire and empower English language learners, making a profound impact on the educational journey. I have confidence that she will continue to excel and positively influence the field of ESL education.”


Maria Alejandra Martinez | Rosehill Elementary

Alejandra Martinez

Ms. Martinez is currently a fourth grade Two Way Dual Language Bilingual teacher at Rosehill Elementary. She brings 15 years of experience to education, two of which have been in Tomball ISD.

What makes teaching so special to you? 
“Teaching is very special to me because it gives me the opportunity to help children grow in many aspects. I enjoy seeing and celebrating my student’s achievements. I feel I become part of their life and love to leave a good memory as their teacher.”  

“La docencia es muy especial para mí porque me da la oportunidad de ayudar a los niños a crecer en muchos aspectos. Disfruto viendo y celebrando los logros de mis estudiantes. Siento que formo parte de su vida y me encanta dejar un buen recuerdo como su maestra.”

Why do you continue teaching? 
“I continue to teach every year because the satisfaction that I find in my profession is found nowhere else. I am convinced my profession is the best profession because as teachers, we impact lives every single day.”

“Sigo enseñando todos los años porque la satisfacción que encuentro en mi profesión no la encuentro en ningún otro lugar. Estoy convencida de que mi profesión es la mejor porque, como docentes, impactamos vidas todos los días.”

Why Tomball ISD?
“I am part of the Tomball ISD family because I firmly believe in their mission statement. We educate students to become responsible citizens. As teachers in Tomball ISD, we have the amazing opportunity to provide a valuable educational experience. This is why Tomball ISD is not just a district, it is a Destination Excellence!”

“Soy parte de la familia de Tomball ISD porque creo firmemente en su misión. Educamos a los estudiantes para que se conviertan en ciudadanos responsables. Como maestros de Tomball ISD, tenemos la increíble oportunidad de brindar una valiosa experiencia educativa. Es por eso que Tomball ISD no es solo un distrito, ¡es un Destino de Excelencia!”

From Rosehill Elementary Principal, Gabby Avellaneda…
"As Rosehill's Principal, I can wholeheartedly say that every student in Mrs. Martinez’s class does not simply learn, they experience success. A visit to her classroom will entail a view of students with a wide range of linguistic and academic abilities. Yet, every student can articulate their learning goals, use technology to personalize their instruction, and share their learning in a second language using complete sentences. It is truly inspiring to witness her classroom environment and a privilege to work alongside Mrs. Martinez. She truly exemplifies and deserves the honor of district Bilingual Teacher of the Year."

The Houston Area Association for Bilingual Education (HAABE) recognizes outstanding bilingual and ESL educators from Houston and its surrounding areas. Districts’ TOY finalists will be publicly acknowledged and honored during the annual HAABE TOY Banquet on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at the Hilton Hotel University of Houston. 



  • Amy Rauscher - ESL - Teacher of the Year - Creekview Elementary
  • Millie Robison - ESL Teacher of the Year - Canyon Pointe Elementary
  • Sherri Saul - ESL Teacher of the Year - Creekside Forest Elementary
  • Maria Alejandra Martinez - Bilingual Teacher of the Year - Rosehill Elementary
  • Andres Victoria - Bilingual Teacher of the Year - Canyon Pointe Elementary
  • Tracy Bourland - ESL Teacher of the Year - Rosehill Elementary
  • Karen Stevens - ESL Teacher of the Year - Decker Prairie Elementary
  • Lesley Apolskis - ESL Teacher of the Year - Willow Creek Elementary
  • Bethany McDowell - ESL Teacher of the Year - Timber Creek Elementary
  • Ngoc Huynh - ESL Teacher of the Year - Lakewood Elementary
  • Melissa Noack - ESL Teacher of the Year - Wildwood Elementary
  • Bailey Andrews - ESL Teacher of the Year - Grand Oaks Elementary
  • Tammi Cruise - ESL Teacher of the Year - Early Excellence Academy


  • Marcy Johnson - ESL Teacher of the Year - Tomball Intermediate
  • Raul Rios - Bilingual Teacher of the Year - Tomball Intermediate
  • Sophia Anderson - ESL/Bilingual Teacher of the Year - Tomball Memorial High School
  • Carmen Morales - Bilingual Teacher of the Year - Oakcrest Intermediate
  • Abbey Hunt - ESL/Bilingual Teacher of the Year - Oakcrest Intermediate

Tomball ISD educates students to become responsible, productive citizens by providing innovative, individually rigorous, and personally valuable educational experiences. Founded in 1908, Tomball ISD now encompasses 83 square miles in northwest Harris County and southwest Montgomery County, and is located approximately 30 miles from downtown Houston. The district currently educates over 22,000 students across 23 campuses.


  • 2023-2024
  • Bilingual
  • ESL
  • Feel Good
  • Multilingual
  • RES
  • Teachers of the Year
  • WCES