Karen Harris has been selected as the new principal of Cunningham Elementary School. Harris has served HISD for the past 11 years. She began her career as a teacher with Beaumont ISD at Regina-Howell Elementary School for 6 years. She continued her career at Bonham Elementary School in HISD as a first-, third-, and fifth-grade ESL teacher for 6 years. At Bell Elementary School, she served as a teacher specialist, where she spearheaded and established a K-5 campus-wide system for guided reading, prior to the development of Literacy by 3. Harris served in various roles over the past 18 years, including teacher specialist, Baylor Master Teacher, University of Houston/HISD mentor teacher, and curriculum writer for both HISD and Beaumont ISD. At Milne Elementary School, she served as the interim principal and assistant principal. Harris most recently served at the assistant principal at Cunningham. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and her Master of Education Degree in Administration from Lamar University.
Santrice Jones has been selected as the new principal for Neff Early Childhood Center. Jones has served HISD for the past eight years, beginning her career as a classroom teacher at Wesley Elementary School and also at Fonwood Early Childhood Center. More recently, she has served as teacher specialist and assistant principal at Neff Early Childhood Center. Jones earned her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from the University of Georgia and her Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M University.
Karina Lopez has been selected as the new principal of Edison Middle School. Lopez has been with HISD since 2010. She began her career at Revere Middle School as a seventh-grade math teacher, then became math department chairperson and a campus instructional coach. While at Revere, she received the Teacher of the Year award and the 2012 Elizabeth Brand Teacher Excellence Award. She has also served as magnet coordinator and assistant principal at Hartman Middle School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Houston and her Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Michael Niggli has been selected as the new principal of Waltrip High School. He most recently served as associate principal for Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center. With 21 years in HISD, Niggli’s experience includes English teacher, debate coach, and basketball coach at HISD’s Austin High School and Heights High School. Niggli earned his Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University and his Master of Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University.
Michelle Shoulders has been selected as the new principal of Pin Oak Middle School. Shoulders has served HISD for 14 years and has 28 years of experience in education in Houston, Fort Worth, and the Denver area. Her teaching experience spans elementary, middle, and high school in math and theatre. Most recently, Michelle served at Bellaire High School as both school improvement facilitator and assistant principal. She has actively supported the professional learning communities (PLC) on campus while supervising the English and ESL departments. For the past three years, Michelle has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston in the Teacher Preparation Program. Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in Education from Abilene Christian University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.
Opal Harrison has been selected as the new principal of Deady Middle School. Harrison began her teaching career in HISD in 2005 as a science teacher at Jones High School. Harrison has served as an administrator at Milby High School for the past six years, most recently as the dean of instruction. While at Milby, Harrison was named the HISD Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Physics from Xavier University of Louisiana and Master of Science in Microelectronics-Photonics from the University of Arkansas. Harrison is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations at Vanderbilt University.
Alicia Puente-Sanchez has been selected as the new principal of Durkee Elementary School. Puente-Sanchez started her career 18 years ago as a bilingual teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School. She has served as a magnet coordinator at The Rusk School K-8 and teacher interventionist at Barrick Elementary School. She went on to be an assistant principal at McReynolds Middle School, Wisdom High School, and Marshall Middle School. Most recently, Puente-Sanchez served as a program manager with the Leadership Development department. Puente-Sanchez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston Downtown and Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University.
Mikia J. Barnes has been selected as the new principal of Osborne Elementary School. Barnes began her 15-year career as an elementary teacher in Aldine ISD. She has served as a team leader, middle school teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal. For the past four years, she was as an administrator in Spring ISD, where she most recently served as associate principal of Bailey Middle School. Barnes holds a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University, a Master of Education from Lamar University, and a Bachelor of Science from Alcorn State University.
Erica Tran has been selected as the new principal at Bonham Elementary School. Tran is returning to HISD, where her career began as a teacher at J.C. Mitchell Elementary. Tran previously served as a third-grade teacher at Harlem Elementary School in Goose Creek ISD. Tran then became the campus reading specialist for grades 3-5 and later an assistant principal at Gentry Junior School. After three years as an assistant principal, Tran was named principal at Horace Mann Junior High School, where she led the school in continuously meeting state standards. Tran earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and master’s in Education from Lamar University.
Richard Peña has been selected as the new principal of Sherman Elementary School. Peña began his 20-year career with HISD as a second-grade bilingual teacher at Allen (now Kennedy) Elementary School, and has served as an instructional specialist, literacy coach and team leader. He most recently served as principal of Tijerina Elementary School. While at Travis Elementary School, he was nominated for Assistant Principal of the Year. Additionally, he served as an assistant principal for six years in Aldine ISD, HISD and Spring ISD. Peña holds a Master of Educational Leadership from Lamar University and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Houston.