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Recognized principal celebrates 15 years of ‘putting children first’

2015 March 26
by HISD Communications
Geovanny Ponce

Geovanny Ponce

When Geovanny Ponce moved to Houston in 1998, he was working as an engineer for a large global corporation. But a chance encounter with an English as a Second Language teacher changed the course of his life forever.

“When I was learning English at a community college, my instructor was talking to me about teaching and how rewarding it was,” he explained. “I decided then that I really wanted to be a good teacher, too—and my sixth-grade teacher Nubia Chinchilla was the best teacher ever. My whole life has been shaped by teachers, and I felt it was my responsibility to do the same. I was right.”

So Ponce joined Team HISD as a substitute teacher in 2000, at what was then known as Sugar Grove Elementary School (now a middle school). Once at Hartman Middle School, he ascended from bilingual teacher to the position of principal, earning lots of recognition along the way. Now, he is completing his first year as the principal of the Jones FUTURES Academy, and though he never imagined he would one day be leading a campus, Ponce has no regrets.

“I love it,” says Ponce. “Every single second. If I could do it again, I would do it. As you walk through life, you get inspired by other leaders, and think, ‘Wow. I would like to be there one day.’ That’s what happened to me. I just keep putting children first. They really need good leaders.”

Ponce will officially mark his 15th anniversary with the district on March 28, but many other employees have also marked theirs over the past two weeks (March 15–March 28). See if you know anyone on this list:

35 years

  • Ramesh Patel, senior auditor, Internal Auditing

25 years

  • Bertha Campos, teaching assistant, Lewis ES
  • Susan Cave, teacher, MacGregor ES
  • Everett Dickenson, teacher, Hartsfield ES
  • San Juanita Garcia, clerk, Attendance Boundaries
  • Juanita Maldonado Sada, secretary, Hamilton MS
  • Jinett Martinez, teacher, Neff ES
  • Tarsha Murray, teacher, Bell ES
  • Ralph Polley, teacher, Houston Academy International
  • Doris Richardson, teacher, Parker ES
  • Mia Steptoe, teaching assistant, Dogan ES

15 years

  • Maria Arredondo, attendant, Food Services
  • Letsey Bailey, teacher, Revere MS
  • Soledad Betancourt, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Judith Edwards, attendant, Transportation Services
  • Carolyn Ellis, senior executive secretary, Student Support
  • Monica Esters, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Yolanda Gamez, attendant, Food Services
  • Jerry Garcia, customer service representative, Student Assessment
  • Lillie Garza, teaching assistant, Stevens ES
  • Joann Gillum, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Pamela Green, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Keisha Harris, teacher, Wheatley HS
  • Tammie James, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Dontee Lewis, magnet coordinator, Garden Villas ES
  • Ronnie Morgan, teacher, Yates HS
  • Tony Ned, bus driver, Transportation Services
  • Ricardo Nuñez, auditor, Internal Audit
  • Bradley Quentin, teacher, Sinclair ES
  • Colleen Stavinoha, teacher, Westside HS
  • Kendrick Sterling, teacher, Hobby ES
  • Cantrice Ward, teaching assistant, Windsor Village ES
  • Lydia Weise, teacher, Thompson ES

5 years

  • Elena Armenta, attendant, Food Services
  • Shannon Bandish Nash, teacher, Bonner ES
  • Dennis Blankenship, teacher, Fonville MS
  • Peggy Cain, attendant, Food Services
  • Maria Del Pilar Banda, custodian, Construction & Facility Services
  • Sylvia Fulton, teacher, Westbury HS
  • Kenneth Ogden, teacher, Sam Houston MSTC
  • Dane Torres, teacher, Benbrook ES
  • Bryan Washington, crossing guard, McNamara ES
Check back next Friday for more Milestones. Leave a comment below if you’d like to congratulate any of the above employees.
One Response leave one →
  1. Judy Ricks, RN permalink
    March 27, 2015

    He is a great leader and his genuine love for the students shows!

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