Ugly sweater contest proves positive for principals meeting

Sometimes the “ugliest” clothes can be the most festive.

At Wednesday’s principals meeting at the Kingdom Builder’s Center, principals and district staff came together for the first in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic. To celebrate the occasion, as well as the holiday season, an ugly holiday sweater contest was held, and the HISD principals came dressed to (not) impress.

Some, such as Horn ES principal Vanessa Flores, adorned their vintage Christmas sweater with lights and ornaments. The additions and alterations to the already jovial attire showed her positive spirit.

“I love the holiday season,” Flores said. “My son was very surprised and happy this morning to see my sweater.”

There were three contest winners: Racquel Rosenbalm from Sherman ES, Mario Sandoval from Northline ES, and Klinger Casquete from Bonner ES.

Rosenbalm was up all night with a glue gun putting together her intricate sweater. Her first-round win was a landslide, as votes were counted by applause. Sandoval opted to go full-on holiday cheer with a hat, suit, and mask instead of just a sweater.

“In HISD, we do everything with excellence, so I said let me go all the way,” Sandoval said.

The meeting began with Superintendent Millard House addressing the campus leaders.  As he looked out over a sea of red and green, he knew this was the perfect way to start December—with a face-to-face welcome-back meeting.

“To know that we brought [our principals] back with a fun-loving ‘ugly’ Christmas sweater contest puts the stamp on being able to see the season for what it is,” House said. “It’s a time when we should be coming together and enjoying each other.  I think this is the perfect opportunity, after 20 months of being separated, to bring all these incredible minds together and do it in a fun way.”