Category Archives: Staff updates

Shearn Elementary names Peta Douglas principal

Peta Douglas is the new principal of Shearn Elementary. Ms. Douglas joined Houston ISD in 2012 as a Teach for America Corps member. 

She has served as a bilingual teacher, teacher specialist, and most recently as an assistant principal at Emerson Elementary School. Prior to moving to Houston, she served as an ESL instructor and migrant advocate in Albemarle Public Schools in Virginia. Ms. Douglas holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia and has completed coursework at Harvard University in the Principals’ Center for Professional Education. 

HISD names chief operating officer

Wanda Paul, a veteran business operations officer and Houston native, has been named chief operating officer of the Houston Independent School District. Paul begins her new role on September 20.  

With a career spanning more than three decades, Ms. Paul brings a wealth of experience to HISD, including serving as chief operating officer for schools in Texas and Florida.  

Most recently, she spent four years as chief operating officer for The School District of Palm Beach County in Florida. In this role, she oversaw more than 1,700 employees, 187 schools, and a $63 million capital budget. She also implemented a program to better track energy use and reduce utility costs. Before going to Florida, Ms. Paul served four years as chief operating officer for the Dallas Independent School District.  

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Alvenus Franklin named new principal of Henderson Elementary

Alvenus Franklin is the new principal for Nat Q. Henderson Elementary School. Franklin has been an educator for 21 years and has served HISD as a teacher, Teacher Specialist, and Assistant Principal. She was an Assistant Principal at Kashmere Gardens Elementary from 2013 to 2018, Kashmere High School from 2018 to 2019, and previously served Clemente Martinez Elementary School for 2 years. As part of the leadership team, she helped Kashmere Gardens Elementary out of Improvement Requirement (IR) status to receiving a six STAAR Distinction by TEA. She then helped to get Kashmere High School out of Improvement Requirement (IR) status to meeting state standard.

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Dawn Buie named new principal of Petersen Elementary

Dawn Buie has been selected as the new principal of Petersen Elementary School. Buie began her career as an elementary teacher in Galena Park ISD and then began teaching at Blackshear Elementary in Houston ISD. She was then selected as a Principal Intern at Tanglewood Middle School as part of the first cohort for the Houston A+ Regional Principal Leadership Academy. Buie went on to serve for 4 years as Dean of Students at Tanglewood Middle School and mostly recently, Administrator at Codwell Elementary. 

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Magdalena Villa named new principal of Bonham Elementary

Magdalena I. Villa has been selected as the new principal of Bonham Elementary School. Villa has been a student-centered educator and leader for 19 years at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary. She has served as Associate Teacher, Teacher Assistant, Bilingual, ESL, and Dual Language Educator, Instructional Coordinator, Teacher Specialist and Assistant Principal. During her career, she has been recognized with the Teacher of the Year Award and West Area Assistant Principal of the Year.

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L. Fernando Alarcón named new principal of Benjamin Franklin ES

L. Fernando Alarcón

L. Fernando Alarcón is the new principal of Benjamin Franklin Elementary. Alarcón is originally from Colombia and has been in education for 21 years. He worked for 10 years in Bogotá, Colombia as a bilingual teacher in elementary and secondary school, and 11 years in Houston ISD as a bilingual teacher at Tinsley and Benavidez Elementary. He later was named assistant principal at Gallegos Elementary. 

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LaTreal Peterson named new principal of Paige ES

LaTreal Peterson

LaTreal Peterson has been selected as the new principal of Paige Elementary School. Peterson started his educational career as a 2012 Teach for America corps member at Emerson Elementary School and later transferred to Burbank Elementary. He has also served as a gifted and talented coordinator, instructional coach, school director, and teacher specialist. In 2018, he became the Dean of Instruction at DeAnda Elementary and for the past two years has held the same leadership role at Burbank.   

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Erica Cantu Tran named new principal of Patrick Henry MS

Erica Cantu Tran

Erica Cantu Tran is the new principal for Patrick Henry Middle School. Cantu Tran began her education career 19 years ago as a 4th grade ESL teacher for the Houston Independent School District at J.C. Mitchell Elementary. Tran went on to work in Goose Creek CISD as a 3rd grade teacher, reading specialist, assistant principal and principal. In 2018, she returned to HISD as the Principal of Bonham Elementary where she has restructured the school and built a community of trust and academic excellence.

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Tier II leaders attend New Leader Institute ahead of school year

For Ashly Evans Vining, the fall season means she gets to return to the two places she loves the most: the classroom and the stage.

The trained opera singer —who has been performing professionally for 15 years— is ready to see students back in the classroom and also recently received her schedule for the new season with Houston Grand Opera.

She is also embarking on a new journey this year in her educational career. The former choir director and Section 504 coordinator was recently chosen to serve as the assistant principal at Pin Oak Middle School. This week, she attended the New Leaders Institute with other new Tier II leaders from across the district, including other assistant principals, deans, instructional specialists, and teacher specialists.

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