Category Archives: Staff updates

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.

Jacqueline Thompson named new principal of Cullen Middle School

Jacqueline Thompson poses for a photograph, April 4, 2016. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)Jacqueline Thompson has been selected as the new principal of Cullen Middle School. Thompson has 20 years of experience with Team HISD. Thompson began her teaching career as an English teacher at Jack Yates High School before moving into administrative roles as dean of instruction at Patrick Henry Middle School, counselor at Gregory-Lincoln K-8, and assistant principal at Dowling Middle School (now Lawson Middle School). She returned to Yates High School two years ago as dean of students. A native Houstonian and a graduate of Furr High School, Thompson has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Prairie View A&M University.

Joseph E. Williams Sr. named new principal of Wheatley High School

Joseph Williams poses for a photograph, September 2, 2015. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)Joseph E. Williams Sr. has been appointed principal at Wheatley High School. Williams currently serves as principal of Key Fine Arts Academy. Previously, he served as principal of Kelso School for Social Sciences and Matthew W. Dogan Elementary, as well as assistant principal at Vera Escamilla Intermediate in Aldine ISDWilliams began his career with HISD 22 years ago as a fifth-grade teacher at Atherton Elementary. He has worked as a fellow at Harvard University and partnered with the National Center for Urban School Transformation and Building Excellent Schools. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Texas Southern University, a teaching certificate from University of St. Thomas, and a master of education in administration and supervision from University of Houston. 

Erika Carter named new principal of Key Middle School

Erika Carter poses for a photograph, September 2, 2015. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)Erika Carter has been appointed principal at Key Middle School. Carter is a product of HISD and a proud graduate of Kashmere High School. She began her career as a sixth-grade reading teacher at Hamilton Middle School. She served as assistant principal at Garcia Elementary before becoming the principal of Betsy Ross Elementary. Betsy Ross met state standards during Carter’s first year there after being identified as Improvement Required” the previous three years. Academic excellence under Carter continued as the campus earned three state distinctions in 2017. Carter begins her 20th year in HISD by returning to her middleschool roots at Key MiddleShe believes that rigorous instruction, demanding work, and a culture of excellence will prepare her scholars for college and beyond.

Treasure West named new principal of Ross Elementary

Treasure West poses for a photograph, April 4, 2016. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)Treasure West has been selected as principal of Betsy Ross Elementary School. West began her 17-year career in education as an elementary school teacher in North Carolina, where she taught for five years. She spent an additional three years teaching in HISD at Montgomery Elementary before she became a Teacher Development Specialist there and coached teachers for eight years. West was also a TDS for four years at Ross Elementary and was instrumental in the school’s academic success that resulted in Ross exiting Improvement Required status with the TEA Accountability System. Most recently, she has been supporting students, families, and teachers as the assistant principal at Wainwright Elementary. West holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from North Carolina A&T State University, a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Fayetteville, and a master of business administration in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas.

Olivia Casares named new principal of Lyons Elementary School

Olivia Casares has been selected as the new principal for Lyons Elementary School. Casares is a veteran educator with 23 years of experience. Prior to joining HISD, she began her career as a bilingual elementary teacher in the Point Isabel School District. She later took on the same role at Love Elementary School in HISD. She joined the Lyons staff in 1999 and in 2005 was named the North District Bilingual Teacher of the Year. For the last seven years, she has served in the role of Assistant Principal at Lyons. Casares earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Texas-Brownsville and a Masters in Educational Administration from Concordia University. 

Dianna Balderas named new principal of Scroggins Elementary School

Dianna Balderas poses for a photograph, November 7, 2016. (Dave Einsel)Dianna Balderas has been named the new principal of Scroggins Elementary School. For the last 4 ½ years, Balderas has served as the assistant principal at Travis Elementary School. Before entering administration, she was a bilingual teacher and reading interventionist at Garcia, Travis, and De Zavala elementary schools. Balderas is a native Houstonian and product of HISD, graduating from DeBakey High School. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in Spanish from the University of Houston and a Master of Educational Administration from Lamar University. Balderas also completed the 2017 cohort of HISD’s Principal Candidate Development Opportunity (PCDO).