Before delivering a lesson to his students at Mading Elementary School, fifth-grade teacher Marques Guillory often first presents his lesson to a group of teachers on his campus. The practice, called “at bats,” gives Guillory a chance to have a few swings at instruction before presenting in front of his students.
“It’s kind of like a pre-game or pre-lesson, and you get feedback from your colleagues,” Guillory said.
Mading, which is part of the district’s Achieve 180 initiative, is using the at-bats strategy to ensure every teacher delivers effective and quality instruction to students the first time. Mading Principal Nicole Haskins explained the at-bats strategy and other instructional techniques her campus is using to HISD Board of Education members during a presentation on Dec. 5. Continue reading →
Cecilia Gonzales has been named principal of Northside High School. Gonzales is a product of HISD’s Austin High School, and she began her career in HISD as an elementary bilingual teacher at Pugh Elementary School. During her 27-year tenure with the district, she has served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Under her leadership at her most recent campus, Lyons Elementary, the school received two National Blue Ribbon awards. In addition, Gonzales was named last year’s HISD Principal of the Year. She is seeking her doctoral degree at TSU.
Robert Michaels-Johnson has been named principal of Hamilton Middle School. He began his career in public education as a theater and American History teacher at Eli Whitney Middle School in the Tulsa Public Schools district. Following a brief tenure at a small classical school teaching theater and history, he moved to Houston and began teaching social studies at what is now HISD’s Heights High School. After serving in several teacher leader roles, he became an instructional coordinator and then was named the dean of instruction. He served as dean until being named principal at Hamilton. Michaels-Johnson is pursuing his doctorate in Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University.
April Williams has been named principal of Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy. Most recently, she served as principal of the two-time National Blue Ribbon School Oak Forest Elementary. Dr. Williams began her 15-year career with HISD as a fifth-grade teacher at Law Elementary School and served as a classroom teacher at Peck Elementary and Ryan Middle School. While at Peck and Ryan, she was named Classroom Teacher of the Year and English as a Second Language Teacher of the Year. Dr. Williams has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. She holds a doctorate of education in professional leadership from the University of Houston.
Lisa McManus has been selected as the new principal of Roosevelt Elementary School. McManus is returning to HISD after spending a year abroad with her family. She began her career in education as an elementary bilingual teacher serving students in Austin ISD and then in HISD. During her 11-year tenure in HISD, she also served as a middle school math teacher, teacher specialist, dean of instruction, and most recently as principal of Herod Elementary School. McManus earned her bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and her master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Gerrol Johnson has been selected as the new principal of Charles Hartman Middle School. Johnson began his educational career with HISD as a teacher and coach at Hartman in 1995. He served as an assistant principal for seven years, serving the school and the community for a total of 22 years. Johnson earned a bachelor of science in physical education from Mississippi Valley State University and a masters in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University. He attended the REEP Summer Institute for School Leaders at Rice University and also attended the Leading Exceptional Schools conference at University of Virginia.
Kashmere, Wheatley, and Woodson PK-8 leaders present challenges and changes on their campuses
HISD Board of Education trustees received an update at the Oct. 12 board meeting on Achieve 180, a research-based action plan to support, strengthen, and empower underserved and underperforming schools across HISD.
Achieve 180 School Support Officer Felicia Adams made a presentation on the progress that has been made at the 44 campuses included in the program and outlined the amount of time that has been spent on each of its six guiding pillars: leadership excellence, teacher excellence, instructional excellence, school design, social and emotional learning supports, and family and community empowerment. Best practices from previous successful school turnaround initiatives have been incorporated into the pillars. Continue reading →
Dr. Alejandro Gonzalez has been selected as the principal of Mario Gallegos Elementary School. Dr. Gonzalez began his career in education as a paraprofessional for Alice ISD and taught science in Pasadena ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Premont ISD, and Calallen ISD. His administrative career began in Clear Creek ISD, where he served as an assistant principal for seven years. Gonzalez also served as the principal of Alice High School and San Jacinto Elementary in Goose Creek CISD. He attended the University of Houston for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served for four years. Gonzalez has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University–Kingsville and a doctorate in education from University of Houston–Clear Lake.
Carranza and COO Brian Busby surprised at monthly principals meeting
HISD Superintendent of Schools Richard Carranza surprised all district principals with a special ‘”HISD Strong” award at their monthly leadership meeting on Oct. 4, but then school leaders turned the surprise back on him.
While in the midst of being honored by Carranza for her efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Scarborough Elementary Principal Miriam Medina invited a group of fellow school leaders to the front of the board auditorium. The group then announced to the superintendent and Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby that they were awarding the two of them for their leadership during and after the storm.
“Speaking for myself and the group up here, I appreciate our Superintendent and Mr. Busby for their ability to take in all the information including the federal information from FEMA, the state, and local decisions being made at a moment’s notice and then distribute it to us,” said Bellaire High School Principal Mike McDonough, one of nearly a dozen principals who gathered at the front of the board auditorium.
The group, made up of leaders from campuses who had a delayed first day of school because of the storm, thanked Carranza and Busby for their for their strength, support, and commitment to HISD students, staff, and schools impacted by the storm.
“They made sure to make decisions with the help of us, the principals, and included our expertise and knowledge of our school communities,” McDonough said. “We appreciate it.”
Carranza, who was genuinely surprised by the award presentation, thanked the crowd and said the best was yet to come.
“This city cannot survive and this city cannot be a world class city without Houston ISD,” Carranza said. “HISD is the best school district in the state, and we are going to make sure everyone knows it!”
Thank an HISD leader using a special image and hashtag on social media
Next to classroom instruction, the role of an effective school leader is crucial to the success of a school and its students. That’s why NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the American Federation of School Administrators have designated October as National Principals Month to honor principals nationwide.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot has also issued a proclamation declaring October 2017 Principals’ Month in Texas. HISD is joining in on the festivities by encouraging students, parents, staff, and community members to honor and thank district principals by downloading the image below and posting it on social media. Be sure to include the name of the principal you would like to acknowledge along with the school he or she leads. Also include the hashtags #ThankaPrincipal and #HISD in your posts.