Category Archives: Staff updates

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. 

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.

HISD names new Chief Governmental Relations and Strategy Officer, Chief Development Officer

Ashlea Turner

The Houston Independent School District announced two leadership promotions, naming Ashlea Turner as Chief Governmental Relations and Strategy Officer and Ann Best Scott as Chief Development Officer.

Turner, who previously served as the district’s Government Relations Director, will lead HISD’s local, state, and federal policy efforts and implement strategies that advance the district’s legislative goals and funding needs. She has strong relationships with elected officials and school leaders statewide. Turner will continue to work with a collection of statewide partners and school districts to fight harmful legislation and push for school finance reform.

“I am encouraged to have Ashlea’s expertise in governmental relations as it pertains to public education,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said. “She has an indispensable knowledge of HISD’s legislative pursuits in school finance reform, and she always ensures that education is at the top of elected officials’ lists.”

Before joining HISD, Turner advocated for Houston’s business community at the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) and worked for several elected officials. She is a native Houstonian and a product of HISD schools. She is also an alumna of Stanford University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and she is a recipient of Houston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award.

Ann Best Scott

“I am grateful to the Superintendent for this amazing opportunity to serve our students in a greater way,” Turner said. “HISD’s legislative goals remain a top priority. I look forward to advising the leadership on the best strategy to achieve our goals at all levels of government.”

Scott, who currently leads the HISD Foundation and will continue in that role, has been an advocate of educational opportunity and equity for all students for nearly 21 years. Scott will broaden efforts to raise funds for the district to support strategic district initiatives and ensure that all children can have access to a quality education.

“I am excited to work with Ann to raise the district’s profile with community and business stakeholders and to develop supports for our students and schools,” Carranza said. “Ann has a passion for education and our children, and she will be an unrelenting force in providing opportunities for our students.”

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Leal sworn in as trustee for District III

At a brief ceremony in the Manuel Rodríguez, Jr. Board Auditorium, José Leal was sworn in as District III trustee by State Sen. Sylvia Garcia. He was surrounded by friends and family during the board ceremony, which was presided over by District II Board Secretary Rhonda Skillern-Jones.

“I am here to serve the students, the parents and the teachers,” Leal said in an interview after the ceremony. “This is not about status, it’s all about the service and people.”

Leal was appointed to the Board of Education in August 2017 by unanimous vote of HISD trustees. He is serving a portion of the unexpired term of District III representative, a position left vacant by the passing of Trustee Rodríguez. Leal’s term will expire in January 2018 after a special election for the office will be held on Nov. 7, 2017.

Leal has worked in HISD schools since 1981, beginning his career in the operations and maintenance departments.   Continue reading

UPDATED: HISD cancels classes Monday due to threat of inclement weather 

District events, activities for Friday and Saturday canceled or postponed

Weather Alert

All HISD campuses and administrative offices will be closed on Monday, Aug. 28 and all campus and district activities are canceled due to the threat of inclement weather. Currently, all campuses and district offices are closed and inaccessible.

Classes are scheduled to resume on Tuesday, Aug. 29. However, the district will continue to monitor developing weather conditions and will determine whether classes can safely resume on Tuesday. The district will make that decision by noon on Sunday, Aug. 27.

All HISD campus-based activities and district events – including professional development and recruiting sessions – are canceled. In addition, the Houston ISD Athletic Department is canceling all athletic activities for Friday, Aug. 25 and Saturday, Aug. 26. This cancellation includes, practices, scrimmages and any scheduled games.

HISD Facilities Services will stage personnel and first responders throughout the night on Friday through Sunday to monitor potential building flooding at eight campuses: Kashmere, Northside, Heights, and Liberty high schools; Meyerland Middle School; and Elrod, Kate Bell, and Kolter elementaries. Lovett Elementary, Fondren Middle, Red Elementary and HISD’s McCarty complex also will be monitored.

For additional updates, please monitor or call the HISD Inclement Weather Hotline at 713-556-9595. We also encourage HISD staff and parents to sign up for text alerts to receive the most up-to-date information on school closures or delays by texting YES to 68453. Please ensure your number is updated with your school. You can also follow the district on Twitter and Facebook: and

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.