11 Outstanding Science Teachers Honored by TMA
By David Doolittle


The Texas Medical Association named 11 Texas science teachers winners of its 2019 Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching during TexMed 2019.

The association also recognized outstanding physicians, medical students, mentors, and political activists at the meeting.

A special ceremony was held during the conference for the three first-place science teacher winners, one each selected from elementary, middle, and high school entrants. One of those first-place winners, Kaneice Washington (Second from left) of Galena Park Elementary School near Houston, also was named the overall winner.

“It was very unexpected, but it means a lot because it’s coming from some people that I know are really special,” said Ms. Washington, who teaches third- through fifth-grade science.

TMA honors these teachers for playing an instrumental role in creating tomorrow’s physicians by stirring student interest and excitement in science. Teachers receive cash prizes, and their schools receive cash resource grants to enhance their science programs.

To keep her students interested and engaged in her science classes, Ms. Washington puts on magic shows or writes rap songs about subjects like geology.

“There’s a book called ‘Teach Like a Pirate’ that says if you give students an uncommon experience, they’ll give you an uncommon effort. And that’s what I try to do with my kids,” said Ms. Washington, whose been an educator for 15 years. “At the end of the day I’m tired because I’m doing so many things to get them engaged, and if I get them engaged and I give that uncommon experience, they will give me their effort in return.”

Ms. Washington was the first-place winner in the elementary school category, which came with a $6,000 cash prize for her, and a $2,000 resource grant to her school. As overall winner, she was awarded an additional $5,000 cash prize.

The awards are made possible with a grant from the TMA Foundation, which is supported through an endowment generously established by Dr. and Mrs. Ernest C. Butler and gifts from physicians and their families.

The Butlers created the endowment 20 years ago to help promote science education.

“Our idea is to awaken young minds, and it’s my idea that through wonderful lesson plans a teacher can really excite children and make a difference in their lives,” said Mrs. Butler, a retired teacher. “We’re not trying to turn them all into doctors. We’d like to see them in any of the branches of science.”

The other winners are:

  • First Place (Each received a $6,000 cash prize; their schools received a $2,000 resource grant) 
    • Richard Embrick – David Crockett Middle School, Richmond
    • Andrew Brinker – Paschal High School, Fort Worth
  • Second Place (Each received a $4,000 cash prize; their schools received a $1,000 resource grant) 
    • Amy Banks – The Hockaday School, Dallas
    • Olivia Stalnaker – Lake Dallas Middle School, Lake Dallas
    • Ward Coats, PhD – Hillcrest High School, Dallas
  • Third Place (Each received a $2,000 cash prize; their schools received a $1,000 resource grant) 
    • Brenda Williams – Argyle Intermediate School, Argyle
    • Karen Sinor – Barton Middle School, Buda
    • Deshaun Dotson – Prosper High School, Prosper.
  • Rookie Award (Each received a $1,500 cash prize; their schools received a $1,000 resource grant)
    • Kimberly Bruch – Kealing Middle School, Austin
    • Ashley Cox – Sinton High School, Sinton

Several other awards and honors were presented during TexMed 2019.

  • The House of Delegates posthumously gave the association's highest award to the late Don Read, MD, a Dallas colon and rectal surgeon who had served as the organization's 151st president. Dr. Read died in March after a year-and-a-half-long battle with cancer.
  • Michael Bagg, a third-year medical student at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston, received the Medical Student Section Student of the Year Award.
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) School of Medicine received the Medical Student Section 2018-19 Chapter of the Year Award.
  • The International Medical Graduate Section recognized Nick N. Shroff, MD, of Plano, with the inaugural IMG Section Outstanding Physician Award for his commitment to improving the health of his community beyond his medical practice.
  • Texas medical students recognized Fort Worth family physician Linda M. Siy, MD, with the 2019 C. Frank Webber, MD, Award, for her commitment to mentoring medical students.
  • TEXPAC, the TMA’s political action committee, surprised Fort Worth obstetrician-gynecologist G. Sealy Massingill, MD, with the 2019 June Bratcher Award for Political Action, for outstanding support of a political campaign to help organized medicine.
  • Dr. Massingill also was named the 2019 TMA Young at Heart Award recipient. The Young Physician Section presented the award to him for his dedication to helping young physicians grow as medical leaders within the association, and for inspiring them to advocate for the health of all Texans.


Michael Bagg, right, with Luis E. Seija, TMA-MSS chair


Nick N. Shroff, MD, with Sejal Mehta, MD,chair of the TMA’s IMG Section Governing Council

 Linda M. Siy, MD

 G. Sealy Massingill, MD, left, with Gates Colbert, MD

Last Updated On

May 23, 2019

David Doolittle


(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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