Category Archives: Staff updates

HISD Board of Education to consider proposed 2018-2019 budget

Proposed budget includes $19.2 million for special education, dyslexia programs, Achieve 180 and a planned performance audit

 June 12, 2018 – The Houston Independent School District Board of Education will meet Thursday to consider adopting the proposed 2018-2019 budget.

The proposed budget includes $16.7 million in increases for special education, dyslexia programs and Achieve 180, the program introduced this school year to support underserved and underperforming schools, which will continue in place next school year. The proposal also includes $2.5 million for a forthcoming performance audit. Continue reading

Interim assistant chief tapped to serve as second in command of HISD PD

Interim Assistant Police Chief Lucretia Rogers

Lucretia L. Rogers selected as HISD Police Department Assistant Chief

Interim Assistant Police Chief Lucretia Rogers has been selected to serve as the second in command of the Houston Independent School District Police Department.

A former detective, Rogers has been serving as interim assistant chief since February 2018. She permanently assumes the role on May 22.

Rogers was selected by HISD Police Chief Paul Cordova, who also was recently named to his position. Both Cordova and Rogers have been tasked with building a new culture within the police department while also improving the agency’s reputation and strengthening its relationships with the community. Continue reading

HISD names chief of staff, chief human resources officer

Silvia Saenz Trinh

The Houston Independent School District is announcing two leadership promotions, naming Silvia Saenz Trinh as chief of staff and Julia Dimmitt as chief human resources officer.

Trinh, who previously served as director of Academic Services, has more than 20 years of experience in public schools. A native of El Salvador, she came to the U.S. at 10 years old, was enrolled at HISD’s Rusk Elementary School and later attended Jackson Middle School.

Trinh served as a bilingual teacher, ESL specialist, and assistant principal in surrounding districts before joining Team HISD, where she moved into principal positions at Gordon and Park Place elementary schools. She also served as director of Elementary Transformation Schools before moving into her current role.

“I am so honored to work alongside Ms. Trinh and to have her serving in this new role,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “With her leadership, we were able to get 22 schools out of IR in one year. I know she will continue to support and promote efforts to improve student achievement.”

Julia Dimmitt

Trinh has a deep understanding of the needs of HISD students and the role education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty. She was inspired to serve as an educator after experiencing firsthand the challenges of learning a new language in a new country – and later witnessing students who were facing that same adversity.

“I knew from a very early age that education was the key to success,” Trinh said. “The road out of poverty goes right through our public schools.”

Trinh earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Houston and has received multiple awards for her work, including Fort Bend ISD’s Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award and the National Excellence in Urban Education Award from the National Center for Urban School Transformation. She was featured in the U.S. Department of Education publication “K-8 Charter Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap.” Trinh was also selected by the TEA to take part in a best practices case study for her work at Park Place Elementary School. Continue reading

Interim police chief appointed to lead department

Paul Cordova has been appointed to Chief of the HISD Police Department.

Cordova has served as interim police chief since February, working to develop a new culture within the department while improving the agency’s perception. He and his officers were specifically tasked with finding better ways to serve our students and communities.

“In just a short period of time, he has been able to lead the police department through several major initiatives, including establishing a substation in the northwest area of the district to better serve schools located in that area, reorganizing the department to make better use of budgetary resources, and reviewing and revising existing policies to ensure consistency with industry best practices,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. Continue reading

HISD names EMERGE founder Rick Cruz chief of strategy and innovation

Rick Cruz, the founder of the successful EMERGE program and HISD’s officer of college and career readiness, has been named as HISD’s new chief of strategy and innovation.

“In his 10 years at HISD, Dr. Cruz has proven his commitment to helping students from underserved communities succeed through his work with the EMERGE program and college and career readiness,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “He is the right person to lead our strategic and innovative thinking about supporting our underserved communities.”

Cruz left a career at Baker Botts in 2008 to join HISD as a bilingual fifth-grade teacher at Moreno Elementary School, where he was twice named Teacher of the Year. He joined HISD’s central leadership team in 2013 as an assistant superintendent over expansion of the EMERGE program, which he founded in 2010, and he also served as officer and chief officer of major projects before his current role as officer of college and career readiness. In all of these roles, Dr. Cruz has implemented districtwide initiatives focused on ensuring that all students graduate college and career ready. Continue reading

HISD interim superintendent, chief operating officer meet with transportation employees

HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby

Houston Independent School District Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan met with all HISD bus drivers and transportation staff on Friday to deliver a simple message of support: “I hear you.”

Lathan called the meeting so she could directly address employees and reinforce the important role they play in the success of students across the district.

“You truly are the first contact every child in this district has each day on his way to school,” Lathan said. “People think it’s just about the principals and teachers, but it’s about our bus drivers, our food service workers, our custodians. You are essential.”

The meeting marked the first time Lathan has met with the entire Transportation Services department. She was joined by HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby and Transportation Services General Manager Timothy Brown. Continue reading

Assistant superintendent of School Choice named interim chief academic officer 

Noelia Longoria, HISD’s assistant superintendent of the Office of School Choice, has been named interim chief academic officer of the Houston Independent School District.

Longoria assumes her new role immediately, reporting to Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan.

“Ms. Longoria has more than 25 years of experience in urban education and a proven record of turning around underperforming schools,” Lathan said. “I am confident that she will have a positive impact in helping to guide instruction across our district.”  Continue reading

Paolo Castagnoli named new principal of Madison High School

Paolo Castagnoli poses for a photograph during the Professional Learning Series at NRG Center, June 15, 2016. (Dave Einsel/Houston ISD)Paolo Castagnoli has been selected as the new principal of Madison High School. Most recently, Castagnoli was the principal of Black Middle School. He has been with HISD for 12 years, serving as teacher and assistant principal at Scarborough and East Early College high schools. Prior to coming to HISD, Castagnoli taught social studies and served as department chair for six years at YES Prep Southeast Campus. During his tenure at Black Middle, the school has received its first five distinctions, was named to the Texas Honor Roll, and earned awards for academics, athletics, and fine arts, including first place in district academic UIL in 2016 and first place in UIL one-act play in 2017. Castagnoli holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education from the University of Houston.

HISD Board of Education names Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan as acting superintendent

Grenita Lathan

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education unanimously voted to name Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan as interim superintendent of the state’s largest school district.

Lathan was tapped to serve as the interim leader of HISD while trustees search for a permanent replacement for outgoing Superintendent Richard Carranza, who is stepping down after nearly a year and a half with the district.

Lathan will assume the role of acting superintendent immediately, and she will become interim superintendent on April 1. Continue reading

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza accepts new role in NYC

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza on Monday announced his decision to end his tenure as the leader of Texas’ largest school district.

Carranza assumed his role as superintendent with unanimous Board of Education approval in August 2016, promising to improve student academic achievement, provide student support through wraparound services, and create a system of equity for the district’s 284 schools.

“It has been an honor and privilege to have served the students of the Houston Independent School District and bring a voice to communities that have historically been underserved,” Carranza said. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce my departure as I embark on this new journey. I am looking forward to the opportunity of serving the 1.1 million students in New York City. I am forever grateful to the people of Houston for allowing me to be a part of this great city.”

While Carranza leaves in the midst of HISD facing several challenges, we are confident in the ability to overcome those challenges with viable solutions.

“We the Board wish Carranza the best in his endeavors and appreciate the leadership he brought to this district,” said President Rhonda Skillern-Jones. “We are committed to continuing the work he began and moving the district forward.”

The Board will meet on Thursday to discuss next steps.