I can think of no better definition of a Difference Maker than Shonda Cannon.  Shonda works tirelessly to not only make a difference with her co-workers at the administration building but throughout the district.  Shonda wears many hats in our district with teachers, students and administrators always being prepared and informed to strengthen and uplift those she is serving.  She is a leader, a friend, is kind, thoughtful and goes above and beyond to help anyone in need and does it with grace.  Shonda is always willing to help in an activity or project and always gives it 100 percent.  She challenges, encourages and motivates everyone in her path.  She makes others feel appreciated and important.  Denison ISD is a better place because of her and I feel no one deserves this award more than her.

Denison ISD Administration

Shonda Cannon


Mirian and Leslie are both new to DHS this year and they have done an outstanding job cleaning up and getting our attendance in order. They have worked relentlessly to get systems in place to account for attendance. They call students in and speak with parents on a daily basis. They meet with parents to come up with solutions to get their children to school. They are dedicated to this place and to their jobs! DHS is blessed to have these two new additions to our staff!

Denison High School

Mirian Martin and Leslie Smith


Our Scott Middle School Difference Maker is Mrs. Katie Palmer. Mrs. Palmer is an outgoing teacher who promotes equity and engagement in the classroom. Her science classroom is an active place for students to investigate through inquiry. One teacher remarked, “Katie is one of the finest educators I have ever known. She is an intense teacher in the classroom but she makes sure that her students are actively engaged in quality lessons all the time. I love the way she has student work displayed in the classroom and you can tell that her kids have learned a lot of content by asking them questions about their posters, classwork, etc. She has a gift for working with students who may have factors that can make them more difficult to work with and can help them still be successful and come out of their shell in positive ways.” For these reasons and more, we have chosen Katie Palmer as our Scott Middle School Difference Maker.

Scott Middle School

Katie Palmer

Jackie Gasca has proven to be an invaluable piece of our campus puzzle here at B. McDaniel. She has the energy and spirit of the energizer bunny…she never stops! Jackie goes way above and beyond covering her duties and then helping out with others. In doing all of this though, she is extremely humble; never wanting any credit or praise. It is known that she arrives early and works really late just so everyone feels at ease and ready to tackle the day. When you enter our building, the first thing you see is her bright and inviting smile.  You constantly see her answer phones and wait on our parents with genuine patience and kindness. She makes our Spanish speaking parents and students feel welcome along with everyone else. Our office at B. McDaniel runs smooth because she never stops running...literally to help the students, teachers and other staff with any of their needs. Jackie is a blessing to our community and school. She truly is a Difference Maker!

B. McDaniel Intermediate School

Jackie Gasca


When we think of a ‘Difference Maker”, we think of Mr. Pete! Mr. Pete assists with Pre-K/ECSE students with love and patience. He takes great interest and works so hard for students to learn critical skills they need.  He is always willing to jump in and help, before being asked! From getting here early to set up Pre-k and Kindergarten classrooms, assisting with lunch duties, or helping communicate to Spanish speaking families, he goes above and beyond his normal duties with a great attitude and possibly a Starburst for those students and coworkers he sees working hard! He is frequently the first person to school from the Pre-K team. However, when he clocks out at 3:00, he stays to help make sure dismissal goes smoothly. He shows he truly cares for both staff and students with his kind words and actions. He is a shining light at Houston Elementary School. We are so grateful for Mr. Pete!

Houston Elementary

Pete Canales


Our Hyde Park Difference Maker is Jessica Connor.  Her consistent positive attitude and endless energy is infectious.  One staff member states “Mrs. Connor is AWESOME!  It’s hard, hard work getting tiny people of various behavior and emotional levels going the right way all day. Her lessons are always engaging and hands-on.” One of her students told us that she is sweet, kind, and she helps us be smart.   Another said, “I love Mrs. Connor because every day she lets us play with new toys.”  Congratulations to Jessica Connor for being our most recent Difference Maker!! 

Hyde Park Elementary

Jessica Connor


This para-professional has been a true difference makers for the students and teachers at Lamar. She has gone beyond the call of duty. Years ago she organized a delivery of toys for our prek students each Christmas for several years. When she is asked to fill in for anyone anywhere she does so without hesitation. She is concerned about each student and will seek out ways to help them learn. She is extremely organized and has been know to take out here calendar or emails and answer a questions someone might have about something that happen in the past. She keeps a tight schedule going from one corner of the building to the next with out a minute to spare! Her work ethic is impressive. She is a significant asset to our campus!! Mrs. Grantland is a one of a kind, loyal, hard working and reliable. Thanks for all you do for LAMAR!!!

Lamar Elementary

Stacey Grantland

Our Mayes Difference Maker is the “under the radar” type. Although she doesn’t have much extra time, she always helps make our campus a better place. She spends her days working with readers who need a little extra push.  She works hard to make  learning in her classroom fun even when it comes with a lot of repetitiveness.  Besides boosting these kids up reading levels, she spends any other time hustling around the building adding pizzazz.  She transformed the outside of our boring cafeteria walls into a city park.  When the Parade of Graduates come, there are always decorations and banners hung without anyone asking.  She bleeds black and gold and always has the Fight Song ready to go when our Jacket Greeters show up on our campus.  She has helped countless students and served as a mentor to many teachers.  She cleans up after luncheons, creates student of the week bulletin boards and awards, and is the first one to jump in when help is needed.  She makes our campus brighter each day.

Mayes Elementary

Brenda Brown

Cheryl Trinkle strives to make a difference each and every day and has for over 25 years. She is steady, dependable, and goes about her day doing the right thing, without seeking attention for herself.  She arrives early and stays late, always looking for the best way make learning fun, engaging, and meaningful. Anyone who enters her classroom immediately feels the warm, inviting learning atmosphere. Those fortunate enough to be one of her students find acceptance, love, and support. Mrs. Trinkle has high expectations for her students; the growth they experience socially and academically is admirable. Long after students leave her classroom, they fondly remember the rich year they experienced, her love for them, and her playful sense of humor. Terrell Elementary and Denison I. S. D. are fortunate to have the commitment of this professional educator.

Terrell Elementary

Cheryl Trinkle

Denison ISD

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