Samantha Woods is the new principal of Valley West Elementary School. Woods transitioned from Alief ISD to HISD in 2015 and has served as a science lab teacher, teacher specialist, and assistant principal. During her tenure at Valley West, she has focused on building strong academic programs and accountability systems for the diverse population she serves. She earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Phoenix, Houston Campus, and her master’s degree from Lamar University, Beaumont.
We are pleased to announce Brian Vannest as the new principal of Valley West Elementary. Vannest began his career in HISD as a second- and third-grade teacher at Gallegos Elementary. After a successful teaching career in HISD, he was recruited to YES Prep to be a seventh-grade math teacher, math course team lead, and project manager where he developed teacher training, curriculum, and assessments for the YES Prep network of schools. Vannest continued that work when he returned to HISD to assume the role of dean of instruction at Westside High School.
Brian received his bachelor of science in Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his Master of Business Administration at Rice University.
Rice camp introduces students to careers related to these devices
Drones are making headlines more and more often in the news these days, and about a dozen HISD students have been learning about these high-tech devices — and the careers they’re used in — during a camp held at Rice University.
The sixth- to ninth-grade students, who attend DeBakey High School, HSPVA, Lanier Middle School, Revere Middle School, the T.H. Rogers School, and Valley West Elementary School, spent three days learning how to design, engineer, and pilot drones in mid-August.
Everyone’s a winner just for competing in the HISD K-2 “Name That Book” contest, which was held March 3-7 at MC Williams Middle School. There were 10 winners — two winners on each of the five days — out of almost 80 participating elementary schools: Askew, Bell, Briargrove, Condit, Lockhart, Lovett, Mandarin Chinese, Valley West, West University, and Wharton Dual Language elementary schools. Each school can enter only one team. Students received medals and certificates for competing.
The annual K-2 competition prepares younger students for upper-level competition, which includes all grade levels and continues through April 17. Unlike the upper-level students, K-2 students only compete on one day. Middle school finalists – Black, Briarmeadow, Energized for Excellence, Energized for Stem Southwest, Grady, Johnston, Pin Oak, T. H. Rogers – compete at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 14, at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center. See the full contest schedule here.
Amari Venzor of Cornelius Elementary School took home top honors in the 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition sponsored by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP in Houston.
Every year since 1996, fourth- and fifth-graders from two dozen HISD schools have competed in this annual contest, which challenges students to write and present a short original speech on a subject related to the slain civil rights leader. The topic this year was, “If Dr. King were speaking at a March on Washington today, what would he say?”
“If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking at a March on Washington today, he would say: As I consider the past 50 years of progress, I can’t help but wonder if for every two steps we have taken forward, we have taken three steps back,” Amari said. “Have we fought so hard to instill that pride that we fail to include words like integrity, self-respect, and even a simple hi? Have we allowed economic and social status to lull us into a crippling complacency and a sense of entitlement? Simply meaning, are we putting $200 sneakers on our children who can barely read or solve basic mathematical equations rather than teaching them how to invest the same $200 into the actual shoe company? Have we been so busy trying to give our children what we didn’t have that we forgot to give them what we did have?”
The other 2014 finalists, in alphabetical order, were:
• Shahnoor Ahtesham, Sutton ES
• Reginald Brown, Pleasantville ES
• Chrislyn Brownlow, Anderson ES
• Kierra Hunter, MacGregor ES
• Robert Lane III, Valley West ES
• Amaria Maldonado, Wainwright ES
• Kennady Roberson, Lockhart ES
• Jayla Wright, Burrus ES
• Jacovia Young, Windsor Village ES
If you’ve never seen the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition sponsored by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP in Houston, you’re in for a treat.
Every year since 1996, fourth- and fifth-graders from two dozen HISD schools have competed in this annual contest, which challenges students to write and present a short original speech on a subject related to the slain civil rights leader. The topic this year is, “If Dr. King were speaking at a March on Washington today, what would he say?”