HOUSTON — University of Houston-Clear Lake graduate student Sara Konesheck and undergraduate Amanda Funesti were named the recipients of the prestigious Dr. Patricia Potter Wilson School of Education Outstanding Graduate and Undergraduate Student Scholarships. Winners are chosen based on their academic achievements and demonstrated leadership capabilities.
Konesheck, currently employed as a fourth-grade teacher at Clear Creek Independent School District’s Greene Elementary, will complete a Master of Science in Educational Management with Principal Certification next May.
“The main role of the principal is to be the leader on campus – to have a vision and get everyone on the same page working toward the same goal,” says Konesheck. “You are both a leader and a motivator.”
She sees leadership as a journey that takes place over time, and requires gaining the trust of others in order to work towards that common goal. At Greene Elementary she has assumed many roles both at the campus and district levels to help refine her leadership skills.
Konesheck serves as the benefits representative for her campus, and she mentors both new teachers and student teachers. She served as the K-2 math team leader last year and also assisted in organizing a Title 1 Summer School with responsibility for everything from the selection of the students to registration, staffing and daily scheduling. Konesheck also serves as the Campus Instructional Improvement Council chairperson, which required organizing an 18-member committee with representatives from various campus groups, administrators, community members, parents and the district.
Funesti will complete a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with 4-8th grade teacher certification in December 2011. She has always enjoyed taking a leadership role. In high school she was a member of the National Honor Society and president of the INTERACT Club, a community service organization, where she organized two blood drives and a food drive, along with other community events in conjunction with civic organizations. The experience taught her early how to work with different people to get a project completed. Her leadership development has continued with her college work. She was a member of the Student Life Programming Board at Brazosport College, and was asked to develop and deliver a leadership workshop with the Brazosport College Student Senate.
Funesti plans to work with eighth-grade middle school students – a particularly tough time for students, she says. She also plans to make leadership a part of her classroom by incorporating leadership into her lessons whenever possible and serving as a role model.
“By being a role model of how to lead in the community, how to lead in the school or the classroom, my students can take what I’m modeling and know how to do it, and start to lead also.”
Konesheck and Funesti were each presented a plaque by the Wilsons with UH-Clear Lake President William A. Staples, School of Education Dean Dennis W. Spuck, family and friends in attendance. The two winners’ names have also been added to a permanent wall plaque on display in the dean’s office suite.
The endowment creating the awards was established 13 years ago by UH-Clear Lake School of Education Associate Professor Emerita Patricia Potter Wilson and her husband, Wendell Wilson, a retired captain for Delta Airlines.
Wilson, a retired educator, is also a community leader, business owner and author. She frequently serves as a member of various organizations and boards in Houston and the Clear Lake area. Wendell Wilson is also an avid community supporter, who enjoys working as a volunteer for non-profit organizations in the Clear Lake and Galveston areas.