Exquisite decorations, fine food and an evening filled with laughter and celebration describes the 2011   Montae Reagor Excellence Gala, held at 6 p.m. Thursday in Waxahachie Civic Center.

After welcome and special recognitions by Waxahachie ISD Superintendent Tom Collins and director of public relations Nicole Mansell, Montae Reagor, WHS alumnus and NFL veteran, delivered opening

remarks, paying special tribute to WISD educators.

Waxahachie schools have teachers that are committed, passionate and dedicated to seeing after the welfare and education of our children in the classroom,” he said. “Teachers, administrators and support staff, we want to thank you for all you do.”

In the absence of Victoria Bell, who has traditionally sung the Lord’s Prayer, an invocation was delivered by the Rev. James Hutchins.

Deputy Superintendent David Truitt, who is known for his humor and good-natured jabs at WISD personalities, introduced the teachers of the year.

Rookie of the Year honor went to Janita Faustin, first-grade teacher at Felty Elementary; Karen Moriarty, attendance officer for Finley Seventh Grade Center, was chosen campus support staff of the year; Martha Cunningham, counselor at Howard Eighth Grade Center, was named Secondary Teacher of the Year; and special education teacher at Shackelford Elementary, Diane Leggett, was selected as Elementary Teacher of the Year.

The four winners received gifts and recognitions from the Excellence Gala Sponsors: Citizens National Bank of Texas, Citizens National Bank of Texas Quarterback Program, city of Waxahachie, Education Foundation for Waxahachie ISD, J&S Office Supply, Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, Wiley’s Jewelry and Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson.

Mayor pro tem John Wray issued proclamations by the city honoring each of the 2010-2011 winners of the Montae Reagor Excellence Gala.

Wiley’s Jewelry presented each of the winners with a $250 bracelet and the Education Foundation announced that each winner would have her name placed on a seat in the Fine Arts Center. Citizens National Bank of Texas presented each of the winners with a $100 bill.

Kevin Chester gave special recognition to the winners on behalf of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce.

At the conclusion of the gala, Collins presented Reagor with a plaque in appreciation for his sponsoring the event.

See Page 14A for additional photo.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.