Author Archives: HISD Communications

Board receives progress update on Achieve 180 initiative

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

Alejandro Gonzalez named new principal of Gallegos Elementary

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. 

Principals honor Superintendent for leadership during Harvey

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!”


October is National Principals Month

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.

Click here to download

Lauren Mailhiot named new principal of DeAnda Elementary

Lauren Mailhiot has been appointed principal of James DeAnda Elementary School. Mailhiot previously served as assistant principal at DeAnda Elementary, and prior to that she was the dean of instruction. She began her career in 2009 with Teach For America, teaching fifth grade at Pat Neff Elementary. Mailhiot graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications from University of Michigan and a master’s degree in education from University of Houston.

Erwin Garcia named new school support officer for South Area

Erwin Garcia poses for a photograph, September 2, 2015. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)Erwin Garcia has been selected as the new school support officer for the South Area Schools Office. Garcia has served as the principal of DeAnda Elementary School since 2014. He began his career as a bilingual teacher in Magnolia ISD and continued his teaching career at Ray Daily Elementary before serving as assistant principal at Sanchez Elementary. Garcia holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the Universidad Adventista de Colombia, a master’s in school administration from Lamar University, and a master’s in bilingual education from the University of Saint Thomas. Garcia is working on his doctorate in executive leadership at Houston Baptist University.

Stephen Linkous named new school support officer for North Area

Stephen Linkous poses for a photograph, January 13, 2016. (Dave Einsel/Houston ISD) Stephen Linkous has been selected as school support office for the North Area Schools Office. Linkous has served as the principal of Hartman Middle School since 2014. Linkous began his teaching career in Colorado as a middle-school bilingual social studies teacher, an ESL teacher, and an administrator at the high school level. He was also the principal of Franklin and Kempner middle schools in Colorado. Linkous holds a B.A. in history from Park University and a master’s in educational administration from the University of Denver. He is currently participating in the ALAS Superintendents Leadership Academy, Class of 2018. Linkous starts in his new role on September 25.

Delesa O’Dell-Thomas named new school support officer for West Area

Delesa O’Dell-Thomas has been promoted to school support officer for the West Area Schools Office. O’Dell-Thomas has been an educator for 26 years, 22 of which were with HISD. She began her teaching career in Orleans Parish School Board before joining HISD as a teacher at Henry Middle School. She was promoted to principal of M.C. Williams Middle School, and under her leadership, the school was rated recognized by the TEA. In 2011, she was instrumental in opening and serving as principal of HISD’s first all-girls STEM magnet school, Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy. O’Dell-Thomas was named one of Houston’s 30 Most Influential Women this year. She earned her undergraduate degree from Southern University of New Orleans, her master’s in school administration from Xavier University of Louisiana-New Orleans, and she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Houston. O’Dell-Thomas starts in her new role on September 25.

Connie Berger named new school support officer for Northwest Area

Connie Berger, Principal at Reagan High School (Houston Independent School District)Connie Berger has been appointed as the new school support officer for the Northwest Area Schools Office. Berger grew up in Houston and attended schools in HISD, graduating from Reagan High School, now Heights High School. She has been an educator for more than 34 years, serving as a teacher, assistant principal, elementary principal, and high school principal. Berger has been an HISD principal since 1999 and was named Secondary Principal of the Year in 2012. As the principal of Heights High School for 11 years, she was responsible for dramatic growth and improvement, as the school evolved from an improvement-required campus to being named a Best of the Best High School by U.S News & World Report. Berger has a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin University.

Teachers awaiting start of school attend trauma training and plan community event

Displaced teachers gathering at Kingdom Builders Center for week of training and collaboration

HISD teachers working at schools with delayed starts are gathering at the Kingdom Builders Center in southwest Houston for a week of planning, collaboration, and learning how to best meet the emotional needs of students affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.

Later in the week, staff from the nearly a dozen campuses will travel to the impacted neighborhoods surrounding their schools for a community event.

Continue reading