Texas Council for International Studies

John Hilliard

Harris Middle School
John K. Hilliard is an experienced educator, who most recently served as assistant principal at Sidney Lanier High School. Hilliard began his career as a high school science teacher at Highlands High School and recently completed his 16th year in education, all in SAISD. He has worked in various roles, including teacher, implementation specialist, instructional coach, and assistant principal. “My goal has been to improve educational outcomes for students by utilizing strong leadership skills and dedication to the success of all students,” Hilliard said. As principal of Harris Middle School, Hilliard said he will continue to provide an equitable and accessible education for all students and will work relentlessly to remove barriers and assist students in reaching their full potential.

Dr. Cassie McClung, D.Ed

Fenwick Academy
Dr. Cassie McClung received her Bachelor and Master degrees from Wayland Baptist University and completed her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M University – Kingsville in 2015. She is originally from the small, southern town of Carrizo Springs, Texas, but has lived in San Antonio for the past seventeen years with my husband, Kelly, and two adult daughters, Jeanneh and Sunni.She has been an employee of SAISD for the several years and have served the students of our district in many roles: teacher at Woodlawn Elementary, Success for All Facilitator and Assistant Principal. She has had 5 years’ experience as a principal and now she the honor of being the Head of School for Fenwick Academy. She looks forward to working alongside the talented staff to guide our students in becoming strong, lifelong learners.

Shameika Allen

Longview High School

Jennifer Emerson

Briscoe Elementary School
Jennifer Emerson is the Head of School at Andrew Briscoe Elementary School, an International Baccalaureate® World School in San Antonio, Texas. Her focus is teacher development and efficacy. She is committed to the improvement of student outcomes. She works to ensure students grow to be internationally minded contributors and advocates for their communities and the world. Mrs. Emerson believes in bringing community together to share leadership and in working with others to develop them as leaders. Mrs. Emerson has worked in the San Antonio Independent School District for 10 years, starting as a student teacher at Briscoe. In 2014, she received her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Trinity University.

Julie Hope

Clarence Bailey Elementary

Luis De La Garza

Woodlawn Academy
It is with great excitement that I write this letter of introduction to you as the new interim principal of Woodlawn Academy. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a school with such capable and bright students, an extremely dedicated staff, and a supportive school community. I feel very fortunate to be part of this school and to support its staff, students, and families. I have been dedicated to the field of education for more than 17 years. I have worked with students ranging from grades 7th to 12th in a variety of roles. For the last 6 years, I have worked as an assistant head of school at Thomas Jefferson IB World School in San Antonio ISD. I hope to develop a strong connection between these two campuses to provide our students with pipeline to the life changing benefits of an International Baccalaureate education. I will work diligently with all stakeholders in the community to provide our students with strong academic and social emotional foundations. I am thrilled to bring my skills as an educational leader, parent, and veteran to Woodlawn Academy and to work with you as a partner in education to ensure each child's success.

Linda Rios-Garcia

Mary Huppertz Elementary
Linda Rios-Garcia is the Head of School at Mary Huppertz Elementary, an International Baccalaureate® candidate school in San Antonio, Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Bicultural-Bilingual Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Ms. Rios-Garcia serves her school community with high energy and is relentless in her quest to build relationships and empower others.

Martha Martinez-Silva

Woodlawn Hills Elementary
Martha Leticia Martinez-Silva is the Head of School at Woodlawn Hills Elementary, an International Baccalaureate® candidate school in San Antonio, Texas. She was reared by hard-working immigrants who instilled in her the belief that education is a way of life. Ms. Martinez-Silva holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Bilingual-Bicultural Studies, both from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her goal is to empower students by creating learning relationships, providing tailored instruction and instilling a universal need to help others.

Ms. Dorcas Dunlap

Ned E. Williams

Melanie Pondant

Judson STEAM Academy
Melanie Pondant has over 29 years of experience in education as a teacher, Assistant Principal, Associate Principal, Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction, and Middle School Principal at Judson STEAM Academy. She has also worked closely with district level instructional specialists and campus level administration, playing an instrumental role in turning around campuses to meet state accountability requirements within the district as well as in other districts in the state. As Head of School at Judson STEAM Academy, Melanie Pondant has focused on fostering a climate and culture of high expectations for all students and staff where she has implemented innovative student courses and programs to create a strong middle-to-high-school transition. Under her leadership Judson STEAM Academy has earned the designation as “A Texas School to Watch” by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform along with the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). She earned her bachelor’s degree from Henderson State University and Master of Education from Texas A&M University.

Greg Rivers

Thomas Jefferson High School
Gregory Rivers has served this community as a teacher, instructional coach, and now as a campus principal. "I’ve been an educator for more than 20 years and I bring a wealth of experience in curriculum and leadership," said Rivers. "I’m committed to ensuring that our students received the best education possible so that the doors of opportunity are wide open for them." Rivers believes in being a servant leader who will listen to all stakeholders and will seek to understand the needs of parents, students, and staff. He said, "I believe in innovation and will make every effort possible to prepare students for the jobs that will require critical thinking and cooperation. Also, I feel that our most important stakeholders are our parents. Their input and support are vital and I welcome their voice and expertise as we move our campus forward."

Mary Taylor

Foster Middle School

Christi Coleman

Hudson PEP Elementary
Christi Coleman is the Head of School at Hudson PEP Elementary, an International Baccalaureate World School in Longview, Texas. Mrs. Coleman received her Bachelor of Science from Stephen F. Austin State University and her Master of Education in Instructional Leadership from Sam Houston State University. Mrs. Coleman champions for students to become caring risk takers with a desire to make our world a better place. Mrs. Coleman strives to empower her staff and students to be reflective learners and self advocates who embrace their growth mindset: "Every day I will try my best. I will not quit. I will not rest, until my brain has grown a bit and I have learned how to do it. If I fail, I will be okay. I will just try a different way. I will say I just can't do it yet because I have a growth mindset."

Dr. Mario Duran

Roy Cisneros
Dr. Mario Duran is the Head of School at Roy Cisneros Leadership School in Edgewood ISD. He was reared on the westside of San Antonio where he attended and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in San Antonio, Texas. He earned his Bachelor of History, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Duran brings ten years of leadership experience serving as assistant principal/Academic Dean and a total of seventeen years in education. His passion for the success of all students is evident and his success in innovative campus programs will lead Roy Cisneros Leadership School for Boys to new heights.

Dr. Monica Munoz

Las Palmas
Monica Muñoz currently serves as the principal of Las Palmas Leadership School for Girls K-3 and Las Palmas Elementary 4-5. She is entering her 25th year as as a public school educator, where she has served as an elementary and middle school teacher, academic coordinator, and elementary principal. She holds a B.A. from St. Mary's University, her M.E. from Our Lady of the Lake University, and is currently in her 4th year as a doctoral student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is a true servant leader that establishes and maintains positive and productive relationships with parents, students, administrators, and the community. She is an advocate for all students and works to build systems that foster equity in our schools. It is her purpose and mission to create a learning space for young girls to thrive and be empowered to change the world.

Irene Talamantes

Luther Burbank High School
Irene Talamantes is honored to be the principal for Luther Burbank High School. She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where she graduated from Coronado High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree at University of Texas at El Paso and earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University. Ms. Talamantes has been serving the SAISD community as an educator and later as an administrator since 1998. She began her teaching career at Wheatley Middle School and then transitioned into the role of an assistant principal first at Whittier Middle School and then Burbank High School. Most recently, Ms. Talamantes served as the principal at Whittier Middle School, where she led the school to earn and maintain a B rating and several TEA distinctions. Ms. Talamantes believes that building relationships with students and parents is the foundation of student achievement.