Eanes ISD Educator of the Year Kitty Mellenbruch looks forward to another year of teaching


Bailey Gold

EISD Educator of the Year Kitty Mellenbruch speaks in front of her colleagues at convocation. She was awarded Campus Educator of the Year along with seven other EISD teachers, and was named EISD Educator of the Year after the committee recognized her devotion to teaching and her success in using Social Emotional Learning in the classroom.

It’s a typical Monday, and as the bell rings, you scramble to get to your ninth grade English Pre-AP class. Once you reach room 214, you slide into your seat and pull out your ISR book. The room falls silent as everyone beings to read. Then, after 10 minutes, your eyes finally leave the pages. The teacher begins her lecture on short stories and all eyes are on her. For 28 years, Kitty Mellenbruch has done what she knows best. Last May, she was recognized for her ability to not only educate, but go above and beyond in her profession.

Mellenbruch received the Eanes ISD Educator of the Year award, an annual honor given to one teacher in the District. After being chosen by her colleagues as Westlake Teacher of the Year, she went on to be selected by the local Rotary Club and school staff to represent the entire District.

“I appreciate the award and the honor so much,” Mellenbruch said. “There are so many deserving teachers in this district. It’s a very humbling experience, and it fills my heart to be recognized in such a wonderful way.”

Following this decision, the winner is announced at the annual staff appreciation dinner in May. The next day, the Rotary Club sponsors a lunch for the winner, other nominees and principals from each campus.

“The committee makes a selection, and every year this is a very difficult decision, since each campus is sending someone who they feel exemplifies an outstanding educator,” District employee and EOY chair Molly May said. “We have the best of the best from which to make our choice. In addition to the luncheon, Rotary offers a monetary gift to each campus EOY.  Eanes ISD is extremely grateful to have the support of the Rotary and appreciate their dedication to our wonderful educators.”

Mellenbruch spoke at District-wide convocation on Aug. 17.

“I think it’s a very prestigious honor to be able to stand in front of the entire district and deliver some type of message, [such as] your philosophy [or] your ideas about teaching,” Mellenbruch said. “I was grateful that I had the opportunity to do that.”

Mellenbruch began her career in the Eanes district as a student teacher at Westlake in the fall of 1990, landing a full-time teaching job in 1991.

“I work with such talented people that are incredible teachers, mentors and educators, and to be selected among those people by those people was probably the biggest honor,” Mellenbruch said. “It’s a very humbling experience.”

Mellenbruch is very appreciative of all the students and teachers who have made a positive impact on her life.

“People that I work with inspire me, and the students that I get to teach are my biggest influences,” Mellenbruch said. “Each day, I am surrounded by magnificent teachers that are extremely talented and dedicated.”

Her students are inspired by her efforts as well. They are drawn to her flexibility and laid-back attitude towards various learning techniques.

“I really like Mrs. Mellenbruch because she gives you time to finish your assignments, and she’ll give you a heads-up on what’s going on,” freshman Isha Mitra said. “If you don’t really like reading, she’ll give you a different approach. She’ll let you be creative. And if you’re more of a logical person, she’ll let you write everything down. She’ll let you do it your way.”

Not only does Mellenbruch give her students the ability to choose, but she makes their needs her priority.

“I think I keep the students front and center,” Mellenbruch said. “They’re the focus for me. Not only [regarding their education], but realizing that they have lives outside of Westlake High School and trying to help them keep a balance, juggling all the balls between their school life and their home life. [I show] an interest in them as a person. I get to know them, their activities, their likes and their dislikes, and realize that they have good days and bad days. I try to be a good listener for them. I think those are very, very important qualities to have for a teacher.”

She also envisions a bright future for many of her students, and encourages them to pursue and apply the skills learned in English to their everyday life.

“I want them to be confident writers,” Mellenbruch said, “and I want them to have a love for reading, and understand the importance of both written and oral communication. And to realize that they can set themselves apart from the crowd and achieve things through written word.  They have possibilities and can reach their goals by working hard and setting goals for themselves and helping other people.”