Michelle Wagner has been selected as the new principal of Wisdom High School. After 17 years in education including 12 years at Spring Branch ISD, Wagner began her service with HISD at Wisdom in 2014 as an ELA teacher specialist and has most recently served as dean of instruction and associate principal. As a member of the instructional leadership team at Wisdom, Wagner helped develop and implement an effective double-blocked master schedule that includes in-school interventions and a specialized ESL program to meet the academic needs of the campus’ diverse multicultural ESL student population. She has a bachelor’s in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a master’s in Educational Administration from University of St. Thomas.
Luis Landa has been selected as the new principal at Chavez High School. Landa has spent his educational career at HISD, where he has served as a science teacher at McReynolds Middle School, a teacher specialist at Henry Middle School, assistant principal at Austin High School, and most recently principal at Sutton Elementary School. While serving at Sutton Elementary, Landa was responsible in the campus being consistently ranked in the top quarter of all schools in the district and state. Sutton was also recognized numerous times as a Gold Ribbon School by Children at Risk during his tenure. He holds a bachelor’s in Biology from University of Texas at San Antonio, a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from University of St. Thomas, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from University of Houston.
Ericka Austin has been selected as the new principal of High School Ahead Academy. Austin began her career supporting school improvement in Haiti designing outreach programs for students living in group homes, followed by a teaching career in Arlington, Texas. At HISD, she has served as a teacher specialist and a data-driven instructional specialist. Austin was a part of the leadership team at Marshall Elementary that successfully moved to a met standard rating. She has also held leadership roles at High School Ahead and Booker T. Washington High School. Austin earned her bachelor’s degree at University of Central Arkansas and a Master of Business Administration from University of Arkansas.
Alejandro Lopez has been named principal of Clemente Martinez Elementary School, where he assisted the campus in making double digit gains in mathematics across all grade levels and increased mastery and met performance on STAAR. His previous experience includes administrator at Reagan K8, where he also assisted in making double digit gains in mathematics for third- through eighth-grade. He has also served as an Apollo coordinator for Lawson Middle School, where he oversaw the biggest Apollo campus in the district with over 27 tutors. Lopez holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s in Educational Administration from Lamar University.
Maria Guerra has been selected as the new principal of J.P. Henderson Elementary School. Guerra began her career with HISD as a teacher assistant at J.P. Henderson and has also served as a teacher at Davila Elementary School before moving into a leadership role as a teacher specialist at Helms Elementary School. During her tenure at Helms, Guerra was instrumental in helping lead the campus out of Improvement Required (IR) to meet state accountability standards. Most recently, she returned to Davila as a teacher specialist and assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s in Educational Administration from Lamar University.
Chung Ying has been selected as the new principal of Mandarin Immersion Magnet School. Ying started his career in HISD in 2003 and has served students as a special education teacher, department chair and LPAC coordinator. For the last six years, he has been an assistant principal in Harmony Public Schools. He has extensive experience in special education and ESL education. Ying earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and holds an advanced degree in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas. He is fluent in Mandarin.
Holly T. Gibson has been selected as the new principal of Middle College at HCC Gulfton. She began her educational career at HISD in 1991 as a math teacher at Jane Long Middle School and has since taught in Dallas ISD and served as an assistant principal before returning to HISD in 2004 as assistant principal at Fonville Middle school. For the last 10 years, she has served as dean of instruction at Lamar High School. Gibson earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Texas Southern University and a Master’s in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Toufic Elachkar has been selected as the new principal of McNamara Elementary School. In his 27-year career with HISD, he has served students as a bilingual teacher, Title III coordinator, and an assistant principal. As a classroom teacher, he was recognized as an Aspire Highly Effective teacher, ranking in the top 10 percent districtwide. During his tenure as assistant principal at McNamara, the campus has made notable progress with improved student performance. Elachkar earned a bachelor’s in political science from Texas Southern University and holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. Elachkar is fluent in Spanish, Arabic, French and English.
Vanessa Saldaña has been selected as the new principal of Hogg Middle School. Saldana began her career at HISD as a teacher assistant at Durkee Elementary School and later served as a math teacher at McReynolds Middle School. Since 2015, she has been the seventh-grade assistant principal at Hogg, where she implemented the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) and improved student achievement in all academic areas. Saldaña holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Houston and a master’s in Educational Leaderships from the University of St. Thomas.
Marlen Martinez has been selected as the new principal of Ortiz Middle School. An HISD alumnus, Martinez has served students as a teacher, magnet coordinator, and an assistant principal. Most recently, she served as the principal at Lewis Elementary School, where she built a strong academic program that shepherded the school out of Improvement Required (IR) status into meeting state standard. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas State University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.