The Parish School Blog

Join Us in Congratulating These Outstanding Parish and Carruth Team Members!

Written by Amanda Arnold
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The Parish School is unique and innovative thanks to our amazing team of teachers, paraeducators, therapists and administrators. Each bring their own unique skills and talents to our school and clinic to transform the lives of children who have communication delays and learning differences.

Every year, staff vote for the employees who stand out as going above and beyond, demonstrating the school’s core values of creativity, nurture, passion, ethical and people. We are excited to announce the following exemplary staff members who were selected as The Parish School and The Carruth Center’s 2019-20 employees of the year.

Teacher of the Year - Jessica Brock, MEd

Since joining Parish in 2012, Jessica has worked as a paraeducator, a playworker on the school’s adventure playground, and a nature studies educator. Today, she is the lead teacher for an upper elementary class – the Explorers. Jessica is constantly researching and learning about best practices in education, and channels that knowledge into her classroom daily. She helped pilot the inquiry-based learning program at The Parish School and has helped other educators implement the method in their classrooms by speaking at the Houston Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, South by Southwest (SXSW)® Edu, and Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association conferences. She is also passionate about the role of play in shaping a child’s development and spoke about the benefits of playwork at the 2019 Playwork Campference. 

“Jessica invests so much of her time and her heart in her students’ lives,” said Amy Richard, Director of Elementary. ”She helps to find the students’ strengths and build on them, empowering them to be independent and successful learners. She is a leader in our elementary team and I could not be more proud of her for winning this honor!”


Paraeducator of the Year - Maddie Wright

Maddie joined the Parish team as an early childhood paraeducator for the Dinosaurs class in 2018-19, and since then, has continuously brought so much joy to the classroom and to her team. She is always ready to take on new challenges and pushes herself to grow in new ways. When assistance is needed, she is willing to help in any way she can, from filling in when others have been out, to serving on staff committees, to volunteering to work the annual gala (now, two years in a row!).

“Even on the hardest days, Maddie can be found smiling, stepping in to help others, and meeting whatever needs arise,” said Anne Powers, Director of Early Childhood. “Her professionalism, passion and expertise make a difference in our community and most importantly, in the lives of our students.”

Therapist of the Year - Amy Lerman, MS, CCC-SLP

Amy came to The Parish School in 2006, when she started as a lead SLP in an early childhood classroom. This past year, she has simultaneously juggled roles as community outreach, Social Learning clinician, Sunbeams teacher, SLP, even a cockroach race announcer! And for all of them, she pours her heart and soul into at 110%. She is constantly seeking ways to promote the school and clinic in the community and collaborate with other organizations to further our mission. Through her efforts, Parish has partnered with several leading experts to present adult education sessions for families, participate in podcast interviews, and provide training for staff.

According to Clinic Director, Mimi Branham, “Amy is a therapist with outstanding dedication and compassion. She is creative and thoughtful in all her interactions with children, and truly exudes The Parish Way!”

Therapist of the Year - Rosie Herlihy, OTR/L, MS

Rosie joined the Carruth team during the 2017-18 school year and quickly became well-known and loved among clients and co-workers. She is always open to professional growth as demonstrated by becoming a DIR Floortime practitioner in 2018 and supervising two occupational therapy graduate students last year.

 “Rosie has become a confident, skilled OT who demonstrates creativity, devotion and flexibility in her work with Carruth and Parish clients,” said Mimi. “She is first to come up with ideas and plans to better our services, and her dedication to her clients and to The Carruth Center has been outstanding!”