SAN ANGELO, Texas — Laura Elms teaches English at Lake View High School and has served an incredible 50 years dedicated to her students and her community.

A native of San Angelo, Mrs. Elms is a homegrown SAISD Difference Maker. She attended Austin Elementary, former SAISD Edison Junior High, and Central High School, where she was a Tex-Ann. She is also a graduate of Angelo State University where she was Student Body President.

Mrs. Elms is a local celebrity and can hardly walk down a street in San Angelo without running into an affectionate former student or a colleague who she had mentored in some capacity. She has touched thousands of lives in the four decades she has been serving the community so it was only fitting that on the first-ever “SAISD Difference Maker Day” on May 6, 2022, she was celebrated in a big way as the culminating recognition at a district-wide event.

“It is the greatest privilege to honor Mrs. Elms, our golden girl, who is the wind beneath so many wings,” said SAISD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Professional Learning, Dr. Farrah Gomez.“Nothing stops her positive force. We are proud to honor her inspirational milestone service, and lift her up as she has lifted so many others up through the years.”

During the event, Mrs. Elms’ fellow colleagues honored her by wearing special t-shirts with a picture of her and the words “The Golden Girl” emblazoned on them, in loving recognition of her positivity, a great influence on her school community, and her many years of service. The crowd that had gathered cheered her on and waved signs as Dr. Gomez shared words of appreciation with Mrs. Elms and the crowd, and presented her with a custom golden apple award.

SAISD’s “Golden Girl” is also affectionately nicknamed “Momma E” by her peers. She can recall tough times like overcoming the fire in 1998, and the resilience that followed. Many who know her, note how simply her presence makes the LVHS campus a better, more welcoming place, and that she is part of what makes Lake View so special.

Her impact has been far and wide in our community touching the lives of thousands and in return touching thousands more as they go forward in our community and beyond. She has helped all of her students reach for the stars and fostered their hopes and dreams. Some former students have even joined SAISD to become fellow SAISD Difference Makers such as Crockett Elementary Principle Clayton Hubbard.

“I have had the pleasure of experiencing Mrs. Elms as my high school English teacher, as a coworker during my time at Lake View, and also as a friend. She has impacted my life in immeasurable ways and has taught me lessons in each of those three capacities,” said Mr. Hubbard. “Her wisdom and passion for helping others helps make up the amazing person that she is! The truth is that there are many, many others that feel the way that I feel about Mrs. Elms as she has reached the lives of countless individuals during her time as a teacher. Mrs. Elms is truly one-of-a-kind and the SAISD community is blessed to have her!”

There have been many words used to describe Mrs. Elms some of them include: legend, amazing, loving, mentor, and kind. She is a firm believer in her students and encourages them to strengthen their individuality to be rare and unique so they can chase their own excellence.

In all her years of teaching, she has been a witness to great change such as shifting from chalk and chalkboards to watching students use technology like Apple iPads. She reflected on this at the beginning of this school year saying, “As I get ready for my 50th first day of school with my students, I traveled back to the fall of 1968 as I prepared to step into my first English classroom at Central High School. At teacher in service, I had been handed copies of the junior literature book and the junior grammar book. I was ready to take on the world. This morning, in the LVHS library, Jennifer Freck and Brandon Ligon placed the ‘world’ in my hands with my new iPad! We are so excited about the possibilities that await our students.

“San Angelo ISD and Lake View High School are incredibly appreciative of Mrs. Elms and her numerous contributions to our students, SAISD, and community. She exemplifies an SAISD Difference Maker in every way, including her steadfast commitment in each of the fifty years she has served the children of San Angelo. Today, we celebrate SAISD Difference Maker Mrs. Elms and all SAISD Difference Makers and invite the community to join in sharing their gratitude as well for her legacy of a lasting impact on our community.”

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