‘Model student’ at North Forest HS blazing a trail for herself, her family

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Editor’s Note: This week, thousands of HISD seniors will receive their diplomas during graduation ceremonies across the district. Many of our students have overcome challenging circumstances during their educational journeys. We are sharing a few of their stories this week.

Jhebre Warren has dreams and aspirations bigger than Texas.

“I want to own a law firm,” she said. “Moving out of Texas is going to be a better experience for me and my family. Since I have the opportunity to go out, explore and excel, I’m going to do that.”

Before walking across the stage to receive her diploma, the class of 2016 salutatorian at North Forest High School is finalizing plans to attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut to study psychology in hopes of becoming a lawyer. As one of the top leaders in her school, Warren faced a number of personal challenges she says motivated her to excel and give back to others.

“My father passed away about two years ago, and that was my best friend, and my mother had an aneurysm about four years ago,” she said. “It’s actually seven of us at home and I’m the youngest. No one else has really been doing anything to keep the family in a stable position, so I just knew that it had to be me.”

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Alan Summers named new principal of Sam Houston MSTC

Alan Summers is joining Team HISD as the principal of the Sam Houston Math, Science & Technology Center. He comes to the district from Katy ISD, where he served as the Executive Director for Human Resources. Summers is a familiar face to HISD because he previously served the district as a teacher, grant writer, assistant principal, principal at Wainwright Elementary and Scarborough High School, and Assistant Superintendent of College and Career Readiness. He left the district in 2013, moving to Central Texas to enroll in the doctoral program at the University of Texas and to work in Round Rock ISD as the Director of School Support.

Summers has 23 years of experience in education, with nine of those years as a campus principal.

Brian Vannest named new principal of Valley West Elementary

Brian Vannest poses for a photograph during the Professional Learning Series at NRG Center, June 15, 2016. (Dave Einsel/Houston ISD)We are pleased to announce Brian Vannest as the new principal of Valley West Elementary. Vannest began his career in HISD as a second- and third-grade teacher at Gallegos Elementary. After a successful teaching career in HISD, he was recruited to YES Prep to be a seventh-grade math teacher, math course team lead, and project manager where he developed teacher training, curriculum, and assessments for the YES Prep network of schools. Vannest continued that work when he returned to HISD to assume the role of dean of instruction at Westside High School.

Brian received his bachelor of science in Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his Master of Business Administration at Rice University. 

 

Vanessa Flores named new principal of Horn Elementary

Vanessa Flores poses for a photograph, April 4, 2016. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)Vanessa Flores has been selected as the new principal of Horn Elementary School. Flores currently is serving as the assistant principal at Horn Elementary. Prior to this, she served as a teacher development specialist, literacy instructional specialist, and literacy coach. Flores began her educational career in HISD 14 years ago as a second grade teacher at Cage Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston.

She earned her master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Houston Clear Lake.

Richard Peña named new principal of Tijerina Elementary

Richard Peña, Tijerina Elementary (Houston Independent School District)Richard Peña has been named the Principal of Felix Tijerina Elementary School. Peña has been in education for 18 years and has been serving as the assistant principal at Dunn Elementary in Aldine ISD since 2013. He began his career as a bilingual teacher in Houston ISD, where he taught for six years before becoming the instructional specialist at Allen Elementary. He served four years as the instructional specialist before moving to Spring ISD as a fifth-grade bilingual teacher.

He earned his master’s degree in Educational Administration from Lamar University in 2009 and soon after, was promoted to the role of assistant principal.

Sharpstown International senior credits self-motivation, strong work ethic for achievements

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Editor’s Note: This week, thousands of HISD seniors will receive their diplomas during graduation ceremonies across the district. Many of our students have overcome challenging circumstances during their educational journeys. We are sharing a few of their stories this week.

Take care of business.

That has been Miguel Gutierrez’s mantra throughout his high school career, and it’s been a philosophy that has served him well since leaving his parents behind in Mexico to fulfill his dreams here in Houston.

“At first it was hard, but they raised me to be a responsible person,” said Miguel, who has lived with his older brothers the past four years. “I’ve paid attention in school because I know the opportunities are worth it.”

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Condit community gathers to celebrate school one last time before demolition

With just a few weeks left before demolition, Condit Elementary School was packed Sunday as the community gathered to reminisce with old friends, scribble well-wishes on the wall, and get one last glimpse of their beloved building.

A longstanding anchor of the Bellaire community, Condit Elementary School is being rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. The existing school building — more than a century old — will be demolished after construction of its replacement is complete this summer.

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Thousands of HISD students to receive high school diplomas at graduation ceremonies

Nearly 10,000 high school seniors from across the Houston Independent School District will receive their diploma at graduation ceremonies held this week for the Class of 2016.

The district’s first graduation ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 24 for the Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner as keynote speaker. The school will graduate its second class of seniors this year with 11 students. The 6th through 12th grade campus is one of two single-sex academies established by HISD in 2011. The ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Kingdom Builders Center, 6011 West Orem Dr. Mayor Turner also will speak at the graduation ceremony Thursday, May 26 for Energized for STEM Academy High School and at the ceremony for Carnegie Vanguard High School on Friday, May 27.

Additional graduation ceremonies will take place around the city between Friday, May 27 and Sunday, May 29 at various locations, primarily at the Barnett Fieldhouse, Butler Fieldhouse, NRG Stadium, Texas Southern University campus, and Williams Pavilion. Continue reading

Sterling Aviation HS senior wants to inspire others to follow her path to success

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Editor’s Note: This week, thousands of HISD seniors will receive their diplomas during graduation ceremonies across the district. Many of our students have overcome challenging circumstances during their educational journeys. We are sharing a few of their stories this week.

Maryury Santos-Cruz spoke no English when she arrived in the U.S. from Honduras at age 10. Eight years later, she is valedictorian of her class at Sterling Aviation High School.

She credits American television shows, nonstop reading, and the guidance of an effective middle-school ESL teacher with helping her overcome the language barrier.

“I was resilient. I never gave up,” she says. “I believed in myself even if others didn’t.”

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Milby HS salutatorian overcame adversity through sheer determination

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Editor’s Note: This week, thousands of HISD seniors will receive their diplomas during graduation ceremonies across the district. Many of our students have overcome challenging circumstances during their educational journeys. We are sharing a few of their stories this week.

When Salutatorian Joe Salazar entered Milby High School, his studies lagged and he was without motivation.

That’s when Sgt. First Class (Ret.) Eric Hopkins and Col. (Ret.) Charles Benson stepped in with a new challenge — Milby’s JROTC program.

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