North Forest Independent School District Teacher of the Year
  • The mission of the North Forest Independent School District Teacher of the Year Program is to promote the profession and recognize the best teaching professionals who are implementing "best practices" within classrooms. Each year, the district honors two District Teachers of the Year - one in elementary education and one in secondary education. The Teachers of the Year are chosen through a thorough application and selection process. In accordance with state guidelines, North forest chooses a candidate who is "dedicated and highly skilled, a candidate proven capable of inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn." The two Teachers of the Year become spokespeople for teachers in the district. The district’s final selection committee and the superintendent of the district nominate the two educators to be considered for State honors, the Texas State Teacher of the Year.

  • Photo on the left was taken during the district’s annual Celebration of Excellence Gala held last 23rd of May at the Double Tree Hotel along John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Lakewood principal, Mr. Jerrell Purvis Jr. is shown handing Mrs. Bernal a bouquet of roses in behalf of the Lakewood family. Lakewood administrators and staff wish to extend their heart-felt congratulations to Mrs. Bernal.
  • Theresa Isidoro-Bernal, Lakewood Elementary School
    District Teacher of the Year for 2008-2009 (Elementary Division)
  • Mrs. Bernal joined the district from her country in the Philippines, in 2003. She has been a kindergarten teacher for over 15 years to date. As far as certification is concerned, Mrs. Bernal took and passed all three state certification tests; Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TEXES) all in one single take each – Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR), Generalist EC-4, including the state test for teachers of Second Language learners. In addition to these, she is also TOP rater certified.

  • Mrs. Bernal’s childhood in the Philippines was blessed with teachers who helped her identify and develop her abilities. "Those teachers made a difference for me because they saw something in me that I did not yet see in myself." says Mrs. Bernal. "I came to love learning and wanted to share that love with the students." She hailed from a long line of educators in her family, her Mother being one and two out of three siblings are also in the same profession.

  • In addition to teaching and learning from her young readers, writers, and thinkers at Lakewood, she is currently a Reading Rodeo coach. For two consecutive years, she and her team of kindergarten students had bagged the District First Place Award in Reading Rodeo.
  • The walls of this extraordinary teacher's classroom are covered with posters featuring everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Cat in the Hat to her students' writings and field trip pictures or candid shots of life in school. She believes that displaying the kids’ work is a good way to boost their self-worth. "It's when the students and I work together that something happens - that ideas take shape," says Mrs. Bernal. "My goal is to expose kids to a multitude of ideas and situations while asking them to connect, create and analyze."

  • According to Mrs. Bernal, one of the biggest challenges that education now faces is how to make school meaningful and relevant to all students. Her philosophy of teaching has evolved over the course of her career to encompass more of the why and how of learning. "We teachers are here to serve the needs of the students, not awaken our students to our own truths," says Mrs. Bernal. "Public education should offer students one opportunity after another to begin to figure out their world and where they fit in it."

  • In this photo, Mrs. Bernal poses with her kindergarten ESL students in her colorful classroom with its well-defined centers.
  • Recognition Ceremony for Teachers of the Year
  • Mrs. Bernal was named North Forest ISD’s Elementary Teacher of the Year at the district’s annual Celebration of Excellence Gala held last 23rd of May at the Double Tree Hotel along John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

  • The theme of the recognition ceremony was “A Night at the Oscars.” It was a night to remember as the teachers of the year dressed up for the occasion. Lakewood Elementary was well-represented during the Celebration of Excellence Gala.

  • Each of the district’s campus Teachers of the Year was honored at the gala along with service pin recipients and retirees. Mrs. Bernal is also a recipient of the Five-Year Service Pin Award.

  • The event was sponsored by support from community and business partners, including Capital Bank, Josten’s and Houston Community College-Northeast.

  • In this photo, Mrs. Bernal, holding her plaque and trophy, is shown with her husband who escorted her to the recognition ceremony. Mrs. Bernal’s husband is also an educator. He teaches Geometry in high school.
  • Core Values
  • Integrity My Foundation
    I demonstrate moral courage and uprightness,
    being consistent in word and deed.

  • People My Focus
    I value people, seeking to
    bring out the best in everyone.

  • Learning My Passion
    I embrace learning as a way of life,
    always ready for the future.

  • Excellence My Pursuit
    I shall be the best that I can be,
    seeking continuous improvement
    in all that I do.



  • Mission
    To empower every student to be life-long learners and
    responsible citizens with integrity and compassion.
    Educational History
  • At the early age of 20, Mrs. Bernal graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at the University of Santo Tomas, one of the largest and oldest universities in Asia, founded on April 28, 1611. The University admits about 10,000 new students out of 50,000 applicants per year, roughly 20%. Mrs. Bernal considers herself privileged to have had her education completed at such a prestigious university.
  • Teaching Experience
  • 1991-1993
    Kindergarten
    St. Paul College, Philippines

  • 1993-2002
    Kindergarten
    Colegio San Agustin, Philippines

  • 2003-Present
    Kindergarten
    North Forest ISD, Houston Texas


  • Statemenets of Beliefs
  • I believe that every student who enters my classroom can learn and succeed. As a teacher, it is my duty to help students reach their full potential and gain the knowledge and skills that they will require in their daily lives as a democratic citizen of our society.

  • I believe that teaching should be student-centered and students should be accountable for their learning and behavior. In addition, students should take responsibility for their decisions and actions. As a teacher, I will help to facilitate my students’ pursuit for knowledge and help them acquire the communication skills, problem solving skills, and critical thinking skills which will enable them to be life-long learners.

  • I believe students should learn to be independent, yet have the skills necessary to work constructively in a team.

  • I believe I am a role model for my students; thus, I should demonstrate respect, honesty, empathy, responsibility, promptness, and a desire for learning. To help nurture a desire for learning in students, I feel that education should be relevant and interesting.

  • I believe education should incorporate the students’ families and communities when possible. In addition, I believe that teachers should incorporate new findings and technological advances. In order to keep material relevant, it is important to stay up-to-date and use the most current and accurate information.

  • I believe that every student has something to teach me. In order to facilitate sharing of ideas by my students, I wish to develop a safe atmosphere where my students feel that their thoughts and opinions are valued.

  • I believe a teacher is more than a source of learning, or a facilitator of knowledge. A teacher should be a mentor and a trusted adult with whom students feel safe to share both accomplishments and challenges.

  • I believe that every student should be treated as an individual and that every individual deserves excellence in education.”
  • Awards and Recognition
  • Principal's Excellence Award
    School Year 2003-2004
    Lakewood Elementary School

  • Outstanding Service Award
    School Year 2003-2004
    Lakewood Elementary School

  • First Place
    2004 District-wide Reading Rodeo
    North Forest ISD

  • First Place
    2005 District-wide Reading Rodeo
    North Forest ISD

  • Employee of the Month
    February 2007
    Lakewood Elementary School

  • Teacher of the Year
    School Year 2008-2009
    Lakewood Elementary School

  • District Teacher of the Year
    Elementary Division
    North Forest ISD


  • Message from Mrs. Theresa Isidoro-Bernal
  • My primary message is that high expectations yield high results. I have seen this throughout my many years of teaching, regardless of whether I am teaching a slow learner or a gifted student. Students emulate my example to never settle for less than their personal best. I love the quote from John Ruskin that says. “The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.” As students and teachers, we are all works in progress, with common goals, high expectations, and achieving success.

  • "As a teacher, I believe that I have the greatest gift to give children a positive self-concept; I can do this by treating them as though they were already what they could only hope to become. I can allow them through my eyes to see themselves as competent, worthy and in control of their destiny. Give them direction to their longings and leave them with the conviction that their fate need not be shaped by accident; that their happiness does not depend on happenstance. Introduce them to themselves. Allow them to learn who they are and what they can be. If this is accomplished, they will no longer be strangers to themselves. They will feel at home in the world."

  • In this photo, Mrs. Bernal beams with pride as she strikes a pose with her supportive teammates, The Kindergarten Team “I have been blessed to belong to this team of fun-loving, young-at-heart friends. Never a dull moment when working with them. Unity in diversity! They have tirelessly mentored me since my neophyte days in Lakewood and have since been a pillar of strength in my journey through the academe. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my teammates! Thank you friends! Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM)."

  • L-R: Reading intervention teacher, Ms Francis; K-Team: Ms Coleman, Mr. Grande, Ms Gertman, and Mrs. Driver
  • ©2009 North Forest ISD - All rights reserved.