Tag Archives: I Am HISD

I am HISD: Meet renowned pianist and ‘Selma’ composer who developed a love of music in HISD schools 

Jason Moran works with a dance class at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center where he went to school as well.

Jason Moran works with a dance class at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center.

In this week’s I Am HISD, which features district students, graduates, employees, and other team members, HISD alumnus and renowned pianist, composer, and bandleader Jason Moran talks about giving back to the HISD schools he attended and receiving a McArthur “genius” grant. He attended McGregor Elementary School, Gregory Lincoln Education Center, and High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. During a recent visit to Houston to engage with students at all three schools, he took time out from his busy schedule to talk to HISD. For more background information see these links: African-American alumni give back and HISD alumni bringing Black History month to life

You are in year two of a three-year homecoming residency sponsored by Da Camera with the three schools you attended at HISD. What inspired you to give back to students in those schools?

Many of the thought patterns that I continue to use as a mature artist were learned at those schools. Macgregor Elementary is the place where an instrument was first placed in my hands [a violin], and that prompted my parents to buy a piano for all of us boys to practice on. That piano is still in my living room In New York City, and it’s probably the one I play the most. Though they seem fleeting, these ideas that are planted early on in children’s minds are very important. Continue reading

Challenging childhood prompts probation officer to give back

In this week’s “I Am HISD, which features district students, graduates, employees, volunteers, and other team members, probation officer Juan Sorto talks about what prompted him to become a member of HISD’s Volunteers in Public Schools, why he is so passionate about working with students in the North Forest area, and who inspired him to reach for greatness as a child.IAH_JuanSorto_200

You approached HISD several years ago with a very specific request: to volunteer in schools that used to be part of North Forest ISD. Why was serving students in that part of town so important to you?

I moved to the North Forest area in 2001, and I still live there today. It has a lot of students who are in the same situation I was as a kid. They are growing up in the same condition—poverty. I was raised by a single mother who didn’t know any English and barely finished the second grade, and I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school and go to college. When I finally reached a level where I was stable in life and had a disposable income, I wanted to get more involved with kids who were struggling themselves but maybe didn’t know how to succeed.

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Chemistry teacher has a secret alter-ego: professional bowler

In this week’s “I Am HISD,” which features district students, graduates, employees, volunteers, and other team members, Sam Houston Math, Science & Technology Center chemistry teacher Nichole DePaul-Miller talks about how she got involved in the world of professional bowling, what led her to a career in education, and why she still acts as a consultant for various bowling centers.

Nichole DePaul-Miller; Photo credit: Jaime Foster

Nichole DePaul-Miller; Photo credit: Jaime Foster

I hear that you’re a professional bowler, but you’re also teaching pre-Advanced Placement (AP) and AP chemistry at Sam Houston Math, Science & Technology Center. Which came first, the bowling or the chemistry?

Actually, they both kind of happened at the same time. I started bowling when I was three. My mom and dad bowled while they were dating, and I was practically born in a bowling center, so you might say I come from a bowling family. I bowled collegiately at Illinois State, too, while getting my degree in chemistry. Originally, I was going to try to stay in that field and work as an engineer, but the women’s tour disbanded in 2003 due to lack of funding, and I switched from being a chemist working in the bowling industry to an educator who just loves bowling. Continue reading

Former HISD trustee now serving children as a classroom teacher

In this week’s edition of I am HISD, which features district students, graduates, employees, and other team members, Harvard Elementary School third-grade teacher (and former District I Board of Education member) Karla Cisneros talks about how she went from the classroom to the boardroom and back again, the greatest gifts of her experience as a trustee, and if she’d ever consider running for that office again.

You represented District I on HISD’s Board of Education for five years in the early aughts, even serving as its president one year. Now you’re teaching third-graders at one of our elementary schools. How did that transition come about?

Karla Cisneros with her students at Harvard ES

Karla Cisneros with her students at Harvard ES

Well, I was not a certified teacher before. I was just sort of a mom who got pulled in. They hired me at Travis Elementary to be a part-time science teacher, and one thing just led to another. After I left the board, I was going to work with my husband, but I realized I wanted to be back in education at kind of a grass-roots level, so I went back to school and got certified.

And I really, really, really like being a teacher. The best part of all is the kids, but then, that’s always the best part. I knew when my own children grew up and moved on that I was going to hate being an empty nester, but so much of teaching is not just about teaching. It’s about helping usher children through their lives, not just the curriculum.

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Diagnostician sheds some light on student evaluation process

Tacy Gilmore poses for a photograph, March 4, 2015. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)

Tacy Gilmore (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)

I Am HISD profile showcases Educational Diagnostician Week

In this week’s I am HISD, which features HISD students, graduates, and employees, we are highlighting Educational Diagnostician Week across Texas by interviewing HISD Lead Evaluation Specialist Tacy Gilmore. Gilmore talks about when she became a diagnostician, how she evaluates students for disabilities, and who decides which students are evaluated.

How did you come to be a diagnostician for HISD?

I was working as a seventh-grade math teacher in Alief ISD, when I became interested in becoming an Educational Diagnostician. As a general education teacher, I wanted to know how I could have a greater impact on student achievement and the process to get the individualized support needed.  I attended graduate school at Prairie View A&M University, where I became certified, first as a counselor and then as a diagnostician.

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Lamar HS grad makes a lasting impression on the visual art world

Lamar High School graduate and artist Marsha Dorsey Outlaw poses for a photograph at her installation "Vigango's Stoop", January 29, 2015. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)

Lamar High School graduate and artist Marsha Dorsey Outlaw poses for a photograph at her installation “Vigango’s Stoop”, January 29, 2015. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)

In this week’s edition of I am HISD, which features district students, graduates, employees, and other team members, we speak with Lamar High School graduate Marsha Dorsey-Outlaw about how she became a professional artist, what compels her to work with children, and where you can find her next district-related project.

You graduated from Lamar High School back in 1981. How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be an artist?

Art was always a good escape vehicle for me, but it wasn’t until after high school that I knew I could make a living at it. I spent one entire summer touring Western Europe through AIFS and bought art supplies all along the way. I did a lot of sketching and watercolors. At one point, I was in Salzburg and I was out of money, so I wrapped a shirt around my head and told some tourists I was from Tobago, and sold them two artworks. It was a major rush. Later, I was at the University of Houston working part-time as a travel agent, and on the side, I was hand-painting clothing and had a lot of commissions and consignments. I think that was the first time I remember knowing that the commerce side of art was possible.

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I Am HISD: Meet HISD’s current longest serving employee

When Dr. Johnnie Carter was first hired back in October of 1959, Eisenhower was still president, gas only cost about 25 cents a gallon, and Alaska and Hawai’i had just been admitted to the union.

Learn more about HISD’s current longest-serving employee and why she stays in the classroom even after 53 years in this week’s “I Am HISD” profile. Or check out the full edition of eNews online.

Other highlights from this week’s issue include:

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Featured in HISD’s Revamped eNews: Joe Tusa Reflects on Stadium Honor

The following story appeared in Friday eNews – HISD’s weekly  e-newsletter. Click here to subscribe and you’ll receive a roundup of the week’s top headlines, plus personal stories like this one and other interactive features.

In this week’s I am HISD, which features HISD graduates and HISD employees, former HISD Athletic Director and Reagan High School alumnus Joe Tusa talks about his 37 years with the district. On November 3, HISD officially renamed the district’s Northside sports complex the Delmar-Tusa Athletic Complex in honor of Tusa, who is HISD’s longest serving athletic director. Continue reading