What a teacher! Student emails lead Leander ISD teacher to host a burger party

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Teachers can have a profound impact on students and, in the case of Cody Redfern, some of his students have returned the favor in the form of Whataburger.

Redfern, a seventh-grade science teacher and volleyball coach at Canyon Ridge Middle School in the Leander Independent School District, made such an impression on two students in particular that they contacted the Texas burger giant for the recognize and offer him free stuff.

Mission accomplished, and more.

“Whataburger’s marketing coordinator emailed me and said they had received several positive emails from students about how much they like me,” Redfern said. “It was supposed to be a year-end present, I found out.”

Whataburger’s giveaway is one that can’t wait, clearly. One of the students who told Whataburger how Redfern goes beyond his teaching duties said he was “the best teacher she ever had”.

“He’s kind, helpful, patient and a really fun teacher,” Neha George said. “His way of teaching is really unique but extremely productive. If I ever ask for help, Coach Redfern will be there.

Neha said she went to her class, with other students, before the start of the day. In class, Neha said Redfern’s teaching approach helped her mental health.

“When we walk into class, we start our warm-ups (questions to prepare for a future test), we share good things, and then work on our assignment for the day,” Neha said. “Sharing has helped me because I feel like I have people to talk to and people who really care about me.”

Redfern likes Whataburger. He really love Whataburger. He’s got the white “W” on an orange flag pinned in his class, along with neon lights displaying the iconic symbol, and he’s got all the swag. Some of his students call him “WhataCowboy” because of an outfit that includes – you guessed it – Whataburger boots and a cowboy hat.

To honor Redfern and his commitment to his students, Whataburger throws him a party. It’s a 6 p.m. recognition dinner on March 29 at the Steiner Ranch location in far northwest Austin. Redfern was overwhelmed when the company contacted him and told him of their plans, and it reinforced why he teaches the way he does.

“The results are so gratifying,” Redfern said. “Knowing that children come every day and are eager to be in my class, I look forward to seeing other teachers. As a middle school teacher, having the kids look forward to seeing you is something you can’t describe.

As for dinner, Redfern said Whataburger is going to “make it special,” but other than that, he has no idea what it entails.

“I don’t know what I’m going to walk in, but I’m going to be dressed head to toe in Whataburger gear,” he said. “I plan to invite the kids to show up and have a great community event. It’s a big community.

Joseph K. Bennett