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Four new school support officers selected

2017 September 21
by HISD Communications

South Area Schools Office

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. Garcia started in his new role on September 21.


Northwest Area Schools Office

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. Berger started in her new role on September 18.


West Area Schools Office

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.


North Area Schools Office

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.


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