Pride brought to school by teacher

Thomas Halbert, Computer Science and Networking Technologies teacher, received an award from the Cisco Networking Academy on Aug. 23, recognizing him as one of the top 25 percent of instructors in the world.

Halbert’s award commends him on earning the title of Advanced-Level Instructor in Networking Technologies. The award acknowledges his use of resources, his participation in online instructor communities and his attention to students’ needs and performance.

“He gets down on our personal level, so you understand what’s going on,” senior Areka Asif said.

Halbert said he has a higher rate of students he gets through the Networking Technologies course and certified than surrounding schools and local community colleges.

“I’m very successful at getting my students through and done,”  Halbert said. “The award is given to the top teachers in the world, and this includes instructors right there in the company, it includes college instructors, it includes high school instructors, [and] it includes trade school instructors, so it’s quite an honor.”

Halbert said he didn’t submit an application, or apply for the award.

“I didn’t see it coming,” he said. “It’s just something that they gave.”

Halbert said he felt surprised and shocked when it came to him in an email.

“A  regular old email, ‘Congratulations, click this link here, there or the other,’ and there was a certificate for me and the award,” Halbert said. “So, it was pretty nice.”

Senior Kevin Pedraza said Halbert’s excitement showed in class.

“He told us like twice,” Pedraza said.

Pedraza said Halbert makes the class feel like a friendly environment.

“He’s really good,” Pedraza said. “He’s really fun, he always cracks jokes.”

Associate Principal Margaret Wiley said any faculty member that is recognized for their exemplary work brings a lot of pride to the school.

“[It brings] a lot of assurance to the students and staffing community that we do, in fact, employ the best people in the world at Cypress Creek High School,” she said.