Borger ISD Announces Root-Gillespie Teacher of the Year 

The Velma Freeman Gillespie and Zelma Freeman Root Foundation was established in 1995 by Mrs. Gillespie’s family to honor a deserving teacher at the end of each school year.  Velma Freeman Gillespie and Zelma Freeman Root were twin sisters who both taught in the BISD system for over twenty-five years each.  Mrs. Root came to Borger in 1944. Mrs. Gillespie came to visit her from Arkansas in 1946 and never went back. Mrs. Gillespie taught in Borger Junior High School for 25 years.  Mrs. Root taught at Borger High School for 26 years.  Both retired in 1971.  After retiring from BISD, Zelma Root taught at Frank Phillips Junior College for five years.  Mrs. Gillespie had two sons, Dr. Hamp Gillespie and Dr. Mike Gillespie, who both graduated from Borger Independent School District.  After Velma Gillespie passed away in October 1994, her sons wanted to honor their mother and aunt by establishing the foundation.  

The award is given to a deserving teacher in the academic field who possesses the following: 

  1. A concern for students and the capability to inspire them.
  1. The ability and willingness to work cooperatively with colleagues.
  1. A drive to initiate activities that improve instruction for students.
  1. An ability to work effectively with different groups in the community.
  1. The desire to stay informed of current educational theories and practices”
  1. An ability and willingness to make meaningful contributions to education. 
  1. Examples of innovations started in the nominees’ classrooms. 

Campus nominees included:  Manda Gowdy, Pre-K instructor at Paul Belton, Teresa Jeffers, Dyslexia instructor at Gateway Elementary; Tiffany Willis, 4th grade instructor at Crockett Elementary; Kacie Kaake, SPED math instructor at Borger Intermediate School; Shauna Campbell, 8th-grade math instructor at Borger Middle School, and Kevin Kuehler, Borger High School Band Director. 

This year, the Root-Gillespie award went to Teresa Jeffers. Mrs. Jeffers was recognized at the Borger ISD Convocation. She will receive $750 to spend in her classroom. Each campus nominee will receive $250 for their classroom.  

Several years ago, Borger ISD realized a need for teachers to help identify and meet the needs of students with dyslexia.  Mrs. Jeffers selflessly offered to help serve BISD students by attending many trainings to widen her reach to these students.  For four years, Mrs. Jeffers divided her day and expertise between Reading Recovery and the Borger Dyslexia program. 


Mrs. Jeffers also devotes herself to helping others outside of the world of education.  She volunteers her time to helping raise money and shopping for disadvantaged children each Christmas through Angel Trees and Rainbow Room foster care projects.


Gateway principal, Teresa Bodey states, “Teresa Jeffers has a calling, and it is teaching.  She teaches not only her students, but she teaches us all in humble service and human kindness and true compassion.  She leads by example - teaching us all to wear a smile, have faith and never stop learning.  She is a beloved friend, colleague and a consummate professional.  She is worthy of this award and continues to leave a legacy of learning to touch the lives of all she encounters.”



image of Mrs. Jeffers accepting her award from Mr. Welch
Posted by rebecca.calder On 15 August, 2018 at 3:53 PM