Author Archives: HISD Communications

Achieve 180 debuts with parade and community event in Sunnyside

Worthing feeder pattern schools join forces for ‘Southside Takeover’

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza took to the streets of the Sunnyside community on Saturday, Aug. 19, for the first ever “Southside Takeover,” a back-to-school bash to kick-off the start of the 2017-2018 school year and the start of Achieve180.

“Achieve 180 is more than a plan or initiative,” said Carranza. “It’s a movement to better serve our historically underserved and academically challenged schools.”

The “Southside Takeover” featured Carranza at the helm of a parade with students, staff, and parents from Worthing High School, along with various other campuses in the south area, and a resource fair for families with free immunizations, school supplies, backpacks, uniforms, food, and entertainment.

“This is pillar six of our Achieve 180 plan in action, empowering parents and the community that surround our struggling schools,” said Carranza who donned a 10-gallon hat and cowboy boots as he walked the parade route around Worthing High School, “It’s more than just engagement. We must empower our parents and reconnect with them. We must help our communities understand that these are their schools, and they are welcome here.”

In addition to family and community empowerment, the Achieve 180 framework includes five other pillars: leadership excellence, teaching excellence, instructional excellence, school design, and social and emotional learning support.

As part of Achieve 180, each school will have a nurse, counselor, and librarian, and teachers will have two hours of additional professional development every Wednesday to improve their instructional practices. HISD has established cross-functional support teams across various departments to support Achieve 180 and has set up professional learning communities that are working together to customize support, assess practices, share expertise, and monitor results.

Achieve 180 includes 32 schools within and throughout various feeder patterns, including Worthing, Kashmere, Madison, Milby, North Forest, Washington, Wheatley, and Yates. Various other Achieve 180 campuses have been hosting back-to-school events over the past few weeks to strengthen family and community involvement at their school.

Christina Lovette named new principal of MC Williams Middle School

Dr. Christina Lovette has been appointed principal of MC Williams Middle School. Dr. Lovette has been an educator for 23 years, beginning her career with HISD as a history teacher at Patrick Henry Middle School and serving in various leadership roles across the district, including district coordinator and assistant principal. From 2010-2017, Dr. Lovette served as a principal and the director of curriculum and instruction in Alvin ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Dillard University in New Orleans and a master’s and doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Brian Gaston named new principal of North Houston Early College High School

Brian Gaston poses for a photograph, November 7, 2016. (Dave Einsel)Brian Gaston has been appointed principal of North Houston Early College High School. Gaston graduated from North Forest ISD schools and started his educational career as a 2010 Teach for America corps member at Hogg Middle School and later Heights High School. After serving in several instructional leadership roles, Gaston became dean of students at Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center and served as the school director training new teachers for the Teach For America Houston Institute. Most recently, he was assistant principal of the Business Academy at Heights High School. He was named 2011-2012 HISD Secondary Teacher of the Year, received the 2012 Kinder Award for Excellence in Teaching, and was named to the 2014 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practices Honor Roll. Gaston received his bachelor of business administration in management from University of Texas at Austin and his master of education in teacher leadership from University of St. Thomas.

New HISD chief school officers and assistant superintendents appointed

Rebecca Brown, Nicole Moore, and Yolanda Rodríguez

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza announced several new leadership appointments and a restructuring of the district’s Schools Office, improvements that are part of a larger effort to better meet the needs of HISD students, especially in historically underserved schools.

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Enrique Cruz named new principal of Cunningham Elementary

Enrique Cruz (Houston Independent School District)Enrique Cruz has been appointed principal of Cunningham Elementary School. Cruz has been an educator for 22 years, serving HISD as a first-grade bilingual teacher, literacy coach, and assistant principal. He also served as a reading technical assistant specialist with the University of Texas. Cruz began his career at Brookline Elementary School and served as assistant principal at Southmayd Elementary, Marshal Middle, and most recently R.P. Harris Elementary. He is a graduate of the district’s High School for Law Enforcement. Cruz has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University and a master’s degree from University of St. Thomas.

Rita Sotelo named new principal of Clemente Martinez Elementary

Rita Sotelo (Houston Independent School District)Rita Sotelo has been named the principal of C. Martinez Elementary School. Sotelo began her career with HISD as an English Language Arts and reading teacher at Ninth Grade College Preparatory Academy (now closed) and later Eastwood Academy. She was an instructional leader at Westbury High School before becoming principal of Bluebonnet Elementary School in Lockhart ISD and East Montana Middle School in Clint ISD. Most recently, Sotelo served as an assistant principal at Chavez High School. She attended Rogers Elementary, Hogg Middle, and Reagan (now Heights) High schools. She has a bachelor of arts in mass communication and Spanish from Texas State University and a master of education in administration from Concordia University Texas.

Gerardo Medina named new principal of Almeda Elementary

Gerardo Medina poses for a photograph, November 7, 2016. (Dave Einsel)Gerardo Medina has been selected as principal of Almeda Elementary School. He is a graduate of HISD’s Lamar High School and has been an educator with the district for 12 years, serving in various instructional and leadership roles. Medina served as a bilingual kindergarten teacher at Sutton Elementary before moving to Petersen Elementary, where he was a teacher specialist. Most recently, he was an assistant principal at Stevens Elementary. Medina has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Houston Baptist University and a master’s degree in applied linguistics from University of Massachusetts-Boston. He has a principal endorsement from Lamar University and has been a participant in various leadership training opportunities within the district, including the Principal Candidate Development Opportunity.

Emeterio Cruz named new principal of Sanchez Elementary

Emeterio Cruz (Houston Independent School District)Emeterio Cruz has been appointed principal of Sanchez Elementary School. He has been with HISD for eight years, starting as a fifth-grade bilingual teacher at Sutton Elementary School, where he was named teacher of the year in 2010. Cruz served as a teacher specialist at Shearn Elementary and assistant principal at Pugh and Anderson elementaries. He graduated from HISD schools and holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s degree in education as part of the HISD Leadership Cohort at University of Houston.

Christopher Walker named new principal of Tinsley Elementary

Christopher Walker (Houston Independent School District)Christopher Walker has been named principal of Tinsley Elementary School. Walker has been an educator for 12 years, serving in various roles from teacher to teacher interventionist to assistant principal. He began his career with HISD as a special education teacher and since 2012 has served as assistant principal at Askew and Ashford elementary schools. Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and child and family development from Texas Southern University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from University of Texas at Tyler.

Wilfredo Montanez named new principal of Franklin Elementary

Wilfredo Montanez (Houston Independent School District)Wilfredo Montanez is a product of HISD schools and began his educational career as a teaching assistant and associate teacher. He served as Spanish teacher at the Ninth Grade College Preparatory Academy and he taught math at Sam Houston MSTC. Montanez served as a curriculum and content specialist, instructional specialist, and most recently dean of Students at both Sam Houston and Hamilton Middle. Montanez earned his bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in mathematics from University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s degree in supervision and counseling from Sam Houston State University.