The Temple Education Foundation announces the 2021 Distinguished Alumni honorees: Earl Nottingham and Amanda Coots

The Temple Education Foundation (TEF) is proud to honor Earl Nottingham (class of 1972) and Amanda Coots (class of 2001). These two individuals are being recognized for their distinct career paths that took them to exciting vocations around the state of Texas and beyond.

A 1972 Temple High School graduate, Earl Nottingham is considered one of Texas’ preeminent photographers. He attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Photography from East Texas State University. After owning a successful freelance business for several years, he took over as chief photographer for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1996, where he served for 25 years, retiring in 2021. His assignments for TPWD and its magazine took him to every corner of the state, documenting its landscape, people and historical treasures. Earl continues shooting professional assignments, teaching workshops and public speaking. “Wild Focus: Twenty-Five Years of Texas Parks & Wildlife Photography,” a book of Nottingham’s work can be pre-ordered through Texas A&M University Press and Amazon.

When astronauts say “Houston, we have a problem,” it is Amanda Coots who answers the call! In her position with NASA, Amanda serves as a flight controller and instructor for the International Space Station (ISS). Her team plans, trains, and assists flying operations for the ISS, Orion, manned commercial vehicles and Lunar Gateway. After graduating in the Top 5 students of her class at THS in 2001, Amanda went on to earn both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Texas A&M University. In the fall of her junior year, Amanda began working with NASA as a co-operative education student, alternating semesters at NASA and semesters at Texas A&M. In 2007, she began working full-time for NASA. Amanda also sits on the Board of Texas Odyssey, which oversees Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving competition for students K-12 through college.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni event will be a special evening celebrating these individual’s accomplishment and learning about their unique careers. Though decades apart from one another, TEF is thrilled to celebrate the foundation that was built for each of the honorees while they attended Temple schools. We hope members of the community will join us to honor these unique Temple High alums. Individual tickets may be purchased by calling the TEF office at (254) 215-6125 or online at

In conjunction with the Event, TEF will be hosting a virtual auction. Families at home and those attending the dinner will be able to bid on great items such as a braces package from Smile at the World Orthodontics, original framed photograph by Earl Nottingham, family passes to the Longhorn Caverns, and exciting destination trips! The Distinguished Alumni Event benefits the Temple Education Foundation, which provides innovative teaching grants and student scholarships for the Temple Independent School District. In the previous five years, the Distinguished Alumni Event has raised $650,000 to impact Temple schools.

A new $5,000 grant aimed to enhance a Temple High School liberal arts teacher professional development to be presented on Friday, Mar 25, 2022. The grant was given to theTemple Education Foundation by 1949 THS graduate, Boyd Taylor.

The TEF Innovative Teaching grant program is a hallmark of the Temple Education Foundation. For 30 years, TEF has been supporting TISD teachers by encouraging them to dream big for their classrooms. The TEF Grant chairperson, Sharon Williams, explained “Innovative Teaching Grants strives to be a springboard for innovative ideas that teachers otherwise would not be able to accomplish without the funding and support of the Education Foundation.”

This fall Kristy Brischke, Executive Director of the Temple Education Foundation, received a surprising call. Boyd Taylor, a 1949 Temple High School graduate, called about establishing a grant specifically for teachers in the liberal arts. Now an author of five novels and numerous short stories, Mr. Taylor explained that while in high school, “teachers who influenced [me] most were liberal arts teachers.” He added, “in my case it was Olivia Jones, who taught me Latin and History, and Mary Elizabeth Holden, who taught me English.”
During Mr. Taylor and Kristy’s initial conversation, Mr. Taylor explained that with so much emphasis on STEM in high schools today, he wanted to impact the liberal arts. In high school, he was on the tennis team, co-editor of the high school newspaper, a member of the debate team and a cellist in the orchestra. Mr. Taylor attended Temple College and the University of Texas, where he received a B.A. with Honors and an LL.B. At Temple College, he was editor of the newspaper and a member of the state championship debate team. At Texas Law, he was on the Editorial Board of the Texas Law Review and a Quizmaster. He was awarded the Wright Morrow Scholarship. He was a member of Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity. He is a Keaton Fellow. Boyd and his wife Katherine Brown Taylor live in Austin. They have one son, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The Taylor Grant for Excellence in Teaching is a $5,000 grant for a liberal arts high school teacher to pursue professional development opportunities such as certifications, courses, training, and so forth. Applicants must:

– Demonstrate instructional expertise as well as innovation and creativity in teaching methods and classroom activities.
– Display the ability to engage students of varied backgrounds and abilities, cultivating joy of learning and critical thinking.
– Participate in activities that improve his or her knowledge and skill in the liberal arts.
– Share his or her own classroom success through mentoring, curriculum development, publishing, and/or presentations.

In the inaugural year, the recipient of the Taylor Grant for Excellence in Teaching the Liberal Artsis William Nelson. Mr. Nelson teaches graphic design at Temple High School. In his application discussing his creativity and innovation in the classroom, Mr. Nelson stated, “I have been working to integrate project based learning and cross curricular projects. For instance I have worked with AP English to create written stories to then be illustrated by my Graphic Design/Illustration students. I have also invited Game designers Taylor Fischer and Dakota Herold to have an hour long live virtual meeting to discuss creation and the industry of game design and production. I have had SCAD professor, “Daybreak” Illustrator and graphic novelist Brian Ralph visit in person to discuss how his graphic novel “Daybreak” was turned into a hit NETFLIX show.” Mr. Nelson plans to use the funds to take a graphic design course in order to enhance his teaching.

Additionally, Kaleigh Verett applied for the grant to help fund a language immersion program she hopes to do in the summer of 2023. Kaleigh Verett is the coordinator for Temple High School’s IB program and a french teacher. The committee decided to present her with the grant for 2023 already this spring so that she feels confident to complete her plans this coming fall. She stated in her application:

“I would spend the funds on a full-time language school in France in the summer of 2023. Because summer courses are in high demand, it’s necessary to enroll for the course and finalize all logistics in the fall. These language schools are full-time immersion programs for adults with a high level of French language. The French teacher course focuses on perfecting the French language while also learning pedagogical strategies specific to teaching a foreign language. In the school, I’d attend classes full-time for either 4 or 5 weeks. In the evenings and on the weekends, I’d be able to explore the city, travel around France, and immerse myself fully in the culture.”

Mr. Taylor was thrilled about this year’s recipients. He too attended a French immersion school and he stated “I am envious of people who have the talent to work with graphic design, especially 3D graphic design.” TEF feels these were the perfect choices for the grants. The Temple Education Foundation is thankful for Mr. Taylor and his generosity and allowing TEF to expand our grant funding to include professional development opportunities for liberal arts teachers. 60% of general funds raised each year go towards TEF’s innovative teaching grants program.

Temple, TX – 14 teachers from Temple High School, Western Hills, Kennedy-Powell, Cater, Garcia, and Meredith-Dunbar Early Childhood Center will be surprised on Wednesday of their funded grants from TEF. Over $23,000 will be given this spring to teachers at 6 campuses.

The TEF Grant Patrol will to inform TISD staff of their awarded grants on Wednesday, February 9, 2022. Below are summaries of a two of the grants being awarded this month.

Ryan Boutwell from Temple High School athletics is receiving a grant for a technology training tool the Vmaxpro sensors. These sensors will be used in the Temple Athletics weight room. In his application Ryan stated “Training is just more than sets, reps and weight. It’s about creating an environment that sets the athlete up for long term success. These sensors will be used across all sports that make their way through the weight room during the week.” Mr. Boutwell is receiving $2,300 from a grant TEF received from Bancorp South. TEF Executive Director, Kristy Brischke, said “The Temple Athletics grant is a unique grant in that it involves the wright room instead of the classroom. However, TEF felt like Mr. Boutwell’s grant used innovation and technology to improve students’ awareness of health and safety which with that knowledge they will use throughout their life. Mr. Boutwell explained further that “During training, the sensors are placed on the bars. The data is projected onto the iPads where the coaches and or athletes are able to see instant feedback on sets, reps, bar speed and bar path. This allows me as the administrator of the workout to dictate to the students to add or subtract weight based on how well they are moving the weight. The readiness of each athlete is ever changing. Using this tool would allow me to tailor workouts to each athlete based on how they were feeling that day. This would help better prepare the athletes for their sport and reduce overtraining and injury.”

The Let’s Go with Science grant submitted by Gary Rutkowski at Kennedy-Powell Elementary School will be used to purchase circuit kits and microscopes for the campus. Mr. Rutkowski stated “Circuits are a difficult concept for students to understand, doing hands on with the snap circuit kits will allow students to not only have hands on experience, but also will allow them to engineer and design complete circuits. The microscopes will be used to understand matter, used with fossils and rock formations, organisms and environment. Lessons will help enhance the understanding that there is life beyond what our eyes can see.” Mr. Rutkowski’s grant is funded through money received from BBVA.

The Temple Education Foundation raises support through a variety of projects throughout the year. Additionally, the spring grant funds are specific funds received through grant applications that TEF submits. For the 2023-2024 school year, TEF has given over $64,000 to teachers for classroom innovation.

The Temple Education Foundation announces the 2020-2021 Distinguished Alumni Honorees: local philanthropist, Allison Dickson; dedicated educator, Cornelius Carl “C.C.” Sampson, and NBA star, Brian Skinner

Due to Covid-19, TEF has postponed the Annual Distinguished Alumni Event until sometime in the spring. Despite the delay of the event, the Temple Education Foundation hopes to celebrate the Distinguished Alums all year long.

Allison Dickson, Temple High School class of 1998, has not only overcome many obstacles in her life, she has triumphed over them. Diagnosed with Werdnig-Hoffman Muscular Dystrophy when she was 15 months old, she was given only a year to live. Not one to let physical limitations hold her back, she graduated third in her class from Temple High School, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Southwestern University, and first in her class from Baylor Law School where she was recognized as the Baylor Young Lawyer of the Year in 2017. Since her return to her hometown of Temple following law school, Allison has been an active community volunteer and philanthropist. In five years she has created and fully endowed through community fundraising three scholarships: The Allison Dickson Delta Delta Delta Scholarship at Southwestern University, The Allison Dickson Baylor Law School Scholarship, and The Allison Dickson Temple Proud Scholarship through the Temple Education Foundation benefitting a Temple High School Senior who will attend Temple College. Affectionately nicknamed “Temple’s Sweetheart,” Allison inspires others daily through her positivity, faith, and determination. TEF is so proud to call her one of our own.

Temple High School Class of 1970 becomes the first class ever to endow a scholarship with the Temple Education Foundation

Temple High School Class of 1970 becomes the first class ever to endow a scholarship with the Temple Education Foundation
The Temple Wildcats Class of 1970 has given an endowed scholarship to the Temple Education Foundation to celebrate their 50th Class reunion. An unprecedented amount is being given to the Temple Education Foundation and it is the first-ever whole-class endowed scholarship established for TEF.

Ms. Ann Dunn, Class of 1970, generously gave the initial gift in memory of a classmate, Dr. Bob Pappas. Her generous gift set the stage for other classmates to join in with her to establish an endowed scholarship with the Temple Education Foundation. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Class of 1970’s 50th reunion has been postponed until sometime in 2021. Patrick Mullins, the Class of 1970 Class President, feels certain that significant additional funds will be raised despite not having the opportunity to gather as a class.

Temple Education Foundation Awards over $115,000 in Scholarships to Temple High School Graduating Seniors

On Monday, May 18, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. Temple High School hosted a virtual Awards Ceremony to announce the Class of 2020 scholarship recipients. Along with scholarships sponsored by the high school were 42 general, named, and endowed scholarships made possible through the Temple Education Foundation (TEF). TEF’s mission is “maximizing opportunities for all students in the Temple Independent School District.” Through year-long fundraising efforts such as the fall’s Distinguished Alumni event and the TISD Staff Giving Campaign, TEF was able to award over $115,000 in scholarships to Temple High School’s Class of 2020.

TEF Hosts the Academic Recognition Event Honoring THS Top 20% and Favorite Teachers

On March 2, 2020, the Temple Education Foundation hosted the 2020 Academic Recognition Celebration at the Western Hills Church of Christ. This event honors the top 20% of Temple High School’s graduating class. Students were informed about this recognition in small meetings with the TEF Program Committee chair, Rebekah Little. At this meeting, the students were asked to submit the names of three of their favorite teachers throughout their time in Temple schools.  The students also turned in individual letters to each of their three chosen teachers, which were given to the teachers at the Ceremony. The letters are special mementos that the teachers keep to remind them of the impact they had on their students.  “The event was like a family reunion, no one seemed to want to leave,” said TEF Chairperson, Becky Montgomery. Some of the teachers honored had not seen their students since elementary school-days, while others go to class or practice with their honored teacher every day at Temple High. It was a special night to recognize a special group of students and teachers.

The Callaway Foundation gifts addition funds, totaling $40,000 for 2020 scholarships

The Temple Education Foundation (TEF) was presented with $26,000 from the Callaway Foundation at the Temple Education Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Event this past October. This money, along with other funds from a previous scholarship from the Callaway Foundation, will be awarded to 2020 Temple Independent School District (TISD) graduating seniors.  A total of eight $5,000 scholarships will be given to high school students pursuing some element of secondary education.

J. L. and Bonnelle Callaway created the Foundation in July of 2002, one year before each of their deaths.  The Callaways formed the Foundation to enhance the futures of high school graduates and to help students realize their dreams.  J. L. Callaway worked for McLane Company in Temple for more than 55 years as one of its key senior executives.  The Foundation is administered by Kevin Koch and wife, Hope, an associate professor of Information Systems at Baylor University.

In the spring, the Callaway Foundation scholarships and around 30 other general TEF, endowed, named, and pass through scholarships will be given to THS Class of 2020 students.

2019 Distinguished Alumni Event raises nearly $160,000

On Thursday, October 24, 2019, The Temple Education Foundation (TEF) hosted the annual Distinguished Alumni Event, honoring four individuals who have made significant contributions to the Temple community and the students and families of TISD.  Honored that evening were Mr. Thomas Baird (Temple High School, class of 1971), Dr. Sonjanette Crossley (Meridith-Dunbar High School, class of 1968), Mrs. Dorothy Powell (Dunbar High School, class of 1949), and Mr. Wendell Williams (Temple High School, class of 1966).