Principals selected, changes proposed for North Forest schools

As the State of Texas moves forward with its order to close North Forest ISD and annex the area into the Houston Independent School District, HISD is making plans to change the purpose of some NFISD buildings and selecting staff for NFISD schools.

In addition, the district plans to recommend attendance zones for the North Forest area to meet the needs of transferred students, and make modest changes to HISD school attendance zones for areas adjoining the North Forest boundary later this summer. Pursuant to the order issued by Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams, these changes will take effect on July 1, 2013.

Principal Selections for North Forest schools

Principals for seven North Forest-area schools have already been selected. They are:

Thurgood Marshall Elementary School: Hilarion Martinez
While studying to become a teacher at the University of Houston, Martinez joined HISD as a teacher assistant at Sutton Elementary in 1997. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he became a bilingual teacher at Ketelsen Elementary. Martinez then served as assistant principal before being named principal of Browning Elementary. Currently, he is the principal of Burbank Elementary, where he has led the school in meeting AnnualYearly Progress requirements, grown enrollment, and has seen a great increase in value-added scores. Martinez earned his master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University.

Fonwood Early Childhood Center: Dr. Kimberly Agnew-Borders
Dr. Agnew-Borders is a proud product of HISD schools, and served the district first as a teacher at Marshall Middle School beginning in 1993.She went on to become a reading facilitator, assistant principal, and then principal at Ryan Elementary and the T.S.U. Lab School. For the past eight years, she has served as the principal of Wesley Elementary School. Under her leadership, Wesley has maintained “Recognized” or “Exemplary” status. Dr. Agnew-Borders received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Texas and both her master’s and doctorate in education from the University of Houston.

Shadydale Elementary School: Tammie Daily
Tammie Daily has been a member of Team HISD since 1992. She began her career at Fonville Middle School as a reading specialist and then moved into administrative roles as assistant principal of Durkee Elementary and principal of Highland Heights, Wesley, and Montgomery elementary schools. The former Region IV Elementary Principal of the Year went on to lead the Yates/Lamar feeder pattern elementary schools as executive principal. She then spent two years at Neighborhood Centers, Inc., as Head Start senior director before returning to HISD as principal of Bonham Elementary School. Daily is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a B.A. in accounting who received her master’s of education from the University of Houston.

B.C. Elmore Elementary School: Maggie Gardea
Maggie Gardea joined Team HISD in 2004, after having taught 10 years in Galena Park ISD. She served as an elementary teacher and assistant principal before being named principal of Gallegos Elementary School in 2009. Under her leadership, Gallegos was named an NCEA Higher Performing School and was in the top 10 percent of elementary schools for the 2013 Children at Risk rankings. Gardea has served as a mentor principal for new leaders and also as a member of the District Advisory Committee for the new Teacher Appraisal and Development System. Gardea received her bachelor of science degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s in supervision and leadership from Stephen F. Austin University.

Hilliard Elementary School: Mike Walker
Walker, the current principal of Fondren Elementary School, was just recently named the 2012-2013 HEB Elementary Principal of the Year. He joined Team HISD in 2006 when he was named principal at Fondren. Prior to joining HISD, Walker was a classroom teacher in Dallas, and served in administrative capacities in Hempstead and Spring Branch ISDs. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida A&M University and his master’s in educational administration from Texas A&M University. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in educational administration through Walden University.

Forest Brook Middle School: Rick Fernandez
After graduating from Sam Houston University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and being named to the Southland Conference All-Academic team as a Bearkat basketball starter, Fernandez began his teaching career at Westside High School. He continued teaching English at Taylor High School in Katy before being named assistant principal at Cardiff Junior High. He also served three more years as a high school assistant principal before returning to HISD as associate principal of Scarborough High School. In collaboration with the Scarborough team, Hernandez has helped raise student achievement across the board. He received his master’s degree in educational administration and will receive his doctorate from Sam Houston State University at the end of the summer.

North Forest High School: Pam Farinas
Upon graduation from North Carolina’s Bennett College with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, Farinas joined HISD in 1994 as a math teacher at Burbank Middle School. She went on to become dean of instruction at Sharpstown High School before being named principal of Foerster Elementary School. After a brief stint as deputy head of schools at KIPP Schools, Farinas returned to Team HISD as principal of the Gregory Lincoln Education Center, where she has led the turnaround effort and increased test scores dramatically. Farinas received her master of education in educational administration from Texas Southern University.

Building utilization changes

Based on the conditions and locations of buildings in the North Forest area, HISD proposes the following changes:

• Fonwood Elementary will be re-purposed as an Early Childhood Center for this area.
• Thurgood Marshall Early Childhood Center will be re-purposed as an elementary school, as it was when it was originally built. This change allows HISD to have an elementary school in the northwest portion of the North Forest area.
• Elmore Middle School will be re-purposed as an elementary school.
• Elmore Middle School students will be rezoned to Forest Brook and Key Middle Schools.
• Lakewood Elementary School students will be rezoned to Hilliard and Elmore elementary schools.
• The Lakewood Elementary School facility will be closed and will not be used.

On the date of annexation, North Forest Independent School District will cease to exist and more than 7,000 NFISD students will become HISD students. More than 350 students who live in North Forest currently attend HISD schools, thanks to the district’s open transfer policies.

For more information about the HISD North Forest transition, please visit our website: You may also call us at 713-556-9595, or email your questions to