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2021 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award Winners

Media Contact: Logan Lawrence
Phone: 512-471-5883
Fax: 512-471-6589

Date: Mar 22, 2022
Category: AcademicsAthleticsGeneral Information Music


AUSTIN — The University Interscholastic League is proud to recognize 15 of the best UIL sponsors in Texas as the 2021 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges in the areas of academics, athletics and music from nominations submitted by school principals and superintendents across the state.

The award, now in its 31st year, was created to identify and recognize outstanding sponsors who enable students to develop and refine their extracurricular talents to the highest degree possible within the education system.

“Coaches and teachers have such a difficult job, and they go beyond the call of duty to serve as UIL sponsors, coaches and directors,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “UIL events function and thrive on the dedication and immense effort from sponsors like these. On behalf of the UIL, I commend these outstanding educators.”

Each winner will receive $1,000 and a symbolic memento from the UIL in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the pursuit of educational excellence through interscholastic competition. The League continually strives to strengthen and promote the role of extracurricular activities in Texas through programs like the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.


The UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners for 2021 are as follows:

Brian Alford – College Station A&M Consolidated High School

Brian Alford has been involved with A&M Consolidated High School, sponsoring UIL Events for the past nine years. Events include Congress, Debate, Speaking Events, Academic Events, and One-Act Play. He has led his students to state championships in Congress (2018, 2019), Persuasive Speaking (2021), and Current Issues and Events (2019). Alford has been a judge for UIL Events since 1997 and has run numerous district tournaments around the state in Academics and Speech.

“These competitions are important for schools,” Alford said. “It allows students who have nowhere else to fit in to find their niche and grow. These events are how these kids make their mark on their school. Students must have an outlet for their strengths, and the UIL allows that on many levels.”


James Barfield, Garden City High School

During his 24-year career as an academic coach, James Barfield has led his teams to two state championships, two individual state championships, and they have qualified for the state tournament 20 times in the events of Number Sense, Calculator, and Mathematics. He has also hosted nine district championship events and has been an UIL Academic Coordinator for 12 years.

“UIL Competition offers an enhanced learning experience for students,” Barfield said. “The required work ethic and extended education not only prepares them for future, but opens the door to success.”


Misty Bellard, Orangefield High School

During her 23 years as an academic coach, Misty Bellard has had 19 total students qualify for the Computer Applications State Contest, with two of them winning a state championship. She has coached students in Accounting, Spelling and Vocabulary, and was a basketball, softball, and volleyball coach. Bellard has been the UIL Academic Coordinator for Orangefield High School for the past 15 years. She has hosted four District Debate Meets and the District Academic Meet twice.

“Competition is a vital part of life,” Bellard said. “My hope for the students that compete for me in UIL Academics is that they grow in confidence, ability, and a passion for learning. My passion is to teach my students that hard work pays off; failure will prepare them to adjust and perform better the next time.”


Tami Dean, Normangee High School

Tami Dean has helped lead the Normangee High School Academic teams since 2014. Her teams have won the district championship seven of the last nine years. She has had numerous regional qualifiers, four state individual qualifiers, and four state team qualifiers. Dean has also hosted the District Academic Meet the past nine years.

“All students need a predetermined strategy for success,” said Dean. “No matter what the contest might be, engaging in a higher level of competition creates internal fortitude and the ability to overcome obstacles throughout one’s life. Participation in extracurricular activities develops the minds of students and challenges them to heighten their level of effectiveness.”


Jerriald Dillard, Conroe Oak Ridge High School

With over 20 years of experience, Jerriald Dillard is currently the Director of Bands and a Percussion Specialist at Conroe Oak Ridge High School. He also leads the school’s Wind Ensemble. Under his direction, Oak Ridge has been a consistent Sweepstakes Award winner at the UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest. His percussion ensembles have consistently earned first division ratings at regional and state competitions. Dillard has held numerous positions within his region as a host, organizer, and coordinator. He has also spoken at many clinics and conferences along the way.

“Competition amongst students in an education environment fosters a healthy desire for growth and improvement in students with whatever activity they are participating in,” Dillard said. “Lessons that students learn about growing and improving through healthy competition directly affects their adult lives after they graduate from public school.”


Andres Gomez, Houston Northbrook High School

Andres Gomez has been coaching football for 18 years with assistant stops that include Klein Cain, The Woodlands College Park, Klein Oak, and Aldine. He has spent the last two years as head football coach and campus Athletic Director at Houston Northbrook High School. Gomez has helped lead six teams to state playoff appearances and has been a member of the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Board of Directors for two years. He has also coached baseball, basketball and track and field during his career.

“Sports are an avenue to shape our future society in a way that sports don’t reflect the state of society, but instead the opposite is true: Society reflects the status of what we are able to teach the leaders of tomorrow,” Gomez said.


Chip Gregory, Frisco Liberty High School

Chip Gregory has spent eight years as head track & field coach and assistant football coach at Frisco Liberty High School. He led the Frisco Liberty HS track team to a district and state title in 2021, and numerous student-athletes have captured state titles and gone on to compete as college scholarship athletes. He has also been district meet director for the past three years.

“Coaching is the act of passing along knowledge to athletes to help them achieve their full potential,” Gregory said. “As a coach, I’m always looking for the best way to accomplish this. I believe that each athlete is a unique individual who needs a secure and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially.”


Emily Huber, Bandera High School

Emily Huber has been involved in UIL Academics for 16 years, coaching Congress, Current Events, Debate, Informative Speaking, One-Act Play, Persuasive Speaking, Poetry, and Prose. She has been the Academic Coordinator at Bandera for the past eight years. She has led numerous students and teams to regional and state competitions, while also hosting many district and regional meets.
Huber has served on the Regional Advisory Committee and has presented annually at the UIL Student Activities Conference.

“Bandera High School’s core values include: choice, small town values, integrity, and pride,” Huber said. “It is my belief that nothing encompasses all of these ideas as much as UIL Academics. Through competition and diligent study, our students embody the spirit of our educational mission. At each and every practice, scrimmage, conference, and meet, Bandera students represent their community with pride, act with integrity and in the spirit of sportsmanship, choose to dedicate themselves to success.”


Kathleen Krumm, Eustace High School

While at Eustace High School, Kathleen Krumm has sponsored UIL Academic events including Headline Writing, Feature Writing and Computer Science. Her teams are mainstays as qualifiers at the regional level. Krumm has hosted the District Computer Science Competition for two years and the Regional Computer Science Competition this past season.

“Competition offers students an opportunity to learn beyond the classroom and encounter others who have the same passion for their chosen area,” said Krumm. “I think it is especially important with academic competition for students to have fun with other students who are excelling in the academic arena and it increases opportunities and academic achievement. Academic competitions allow students to showcase their unique talents.”


Angie Liss, Howe High School

Angie Liss has been the Director of Bands at Howe High School for the past 18 years, and before that an assistant band director for 10 years at the same school. She has led the school to 10 state marching contests where they have won two titles and finished as state runner-up twice. They have also amassed 24 Sweepstake awards. Liss has served as a regional coordinator and was on the executive board for the ATSSB. She has also coached track, softball, and sponsored music memory.

“As Howe ISD Director of Bands, I try to utilize the uniqueness of UIL competition to foster and support our district mission statement,” Liss said. “I view my role as more than simply teaching music and preparing for contests. By teaching the students the value of teamwork in the designing and implementation of a quality musical production, whether on the football field, or in UIL competition, their critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities are enhanced.”


Rachel Mackey, Houston Milby High School

Rachel Mackey has been head coach of the Houston Milby High School Volleyball team for the past five years. While at the helm, she led the team to three-consecutive playoff appearances and a district title in 2020.

“I strongly believe that competition is a key force in developing my young ladies to strive to be their best on and off the court,” Mackey said. “My student-athletes have proven to be at the top of their class and are not afraid to challenge themselves in the classroom and in learning the game of volleyball. By our girls having the desire to want to be the best, other students around them see their success and have to work hard to follow suit, which translates into the culture of the school shifting.”


Gaye Lynn Seawright, Clifton High School

Gaye Lynn Seawright has been involved in UIL Academics for 28 years, currently working at Clifton High School. She has also worked at Hico and Valley Mills High School. She has coached students in Journalism, One-Act Play, and Prose. At Clifton, she is currently the school’s Academic Coordinator. Seawright has advanced numerous students and teams to regional and state events while seeing her participation grow each year.

“My philosophy of competition in the school-based education mission includes teaching students how to overcome their fears of public speaking,” Seawright said. “I have found that UIL contests help them overcome their fears by building self-confidence and self-esteem. It is a wonderful feeling to watch your pupils win that much-anticipated award. The smile on their faces, the way they walk…I can tell they are proud of themselves!”


Demond Stafford, Pasadena Rayburn High School

With 22 years coaching and teaching experience, Demond Stafford has spent the last three seasons as head football coach at Pasadena Rayburn High School. In football, his teams have advanced to the playoffs eight times. He has also coached basketball and track and field. He has had 18 regional track qualifiers and helped 15 student-athletes gain athletic scholarships. Stafford has also been a speaker at the Greater Houston Athletic Trainers Society.

“At Sam Rayburn High School, our school motto is “Get Our Students College, Career, and World Ready,” said Stafford. “Whether its academics, fine arts, or athletics, we are in the pursuit of greatness. All activities on our campus are important. The benefits of these activities are recognized and celebrated throughout our campus which further emphasizes to students the importance.”


Lory Stewart, Buda Hays High School

A 30-year veteran as a UIL Academic Coach, Lory Stewart has been UIL One-Act Play Sponsor at Buda Hays High School since 2018. She has also had stops at Garland Naaman Forest and Garland High School where she also coached Speech and Debate. She has led 14 students to the State Meet, including one state champion. Stewart has also produced District One-Act Play Champions in 2019 and 2021 at Buda Hays.

“Competition is a healthy way to learn to understand how to take criticism from different judges with different opinions,” Stewart said. “It challenges students to become the best versions of themselves in art that they can achieve with the help of constant feedback and criticism.”


Heather Stringer, Princeton High School

Heather Stringer has been the Policy Debate Coach for the past six years at Princeton High School and the UIL Academic Coordinator for the past five years. She has led her teams to state championships in Congress and Interpretation. Stringer has been a District Academic Meet host, Regional Academic Meet host, and a member of the Regional Academic Committee. She has also been a Debate Camp Clinic host and speaker at the UIL Student Activities Conference.

“The mission of Princeton High School is to inspire and enable each student to achieve his or her potential,” Stringer said. “This educational philosophy heavily inspires my own philosophy of competition within the speech and debate community. The foremost obligation of any educator is to help students identify their goals, obstacles, and potential within a given subject area.”

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