McKinney ISD


2016-17 Brings New Faces and New Spaces Among MISD Leadership

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Friday, August 19, 2016

McKinney, Texas – With the 2016–2017 school year only a couple of days away, Central Office curriculum coordinators and campus principals across McKinney ISD are putting the finishing touches on their preparations for the return of students. Working alongside them are some new associate and assistant principals who play an indispensable role in campus leadership teams. Among both groups are a few new faces—and in some cases, familiar faces in new roles.

Curriculum Coordinators

The MISD content area coordinators play a vital role in developing and implementing curriculum that impacts every student in the district, and among their many duties, they are also responsible for providing professional development in specific content areas for the district’s teachers.

Misty Young — MISD Coordinator of Elementary Math

Misty Young comes to MISD’s curriculum team from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD where she has served as an elementary math specialist since 2011. She brings a wealth of expertise honed over the course of 17 years in education.

“We’re so excited to have Misty join the team,” said Suzy Woodard, MISD assistant superintendent of learner support. “She brings so much knowledge and experience, and I think that she is going to be able to really help lead us to the next level in meeting our elementary math goals.”

Young began her career in 1999 as a 4th grade teacher at South Hills Elementary in Ft. Worth. In the following four years, she taught 4th grade in Crowley before moving to Central Elementary in Carrollton in 2006. She went on to serve as 5th grade level chair and then as the ESL/math instructional facilitator at the same campus. From 2011–2016, she served as C-FBISD’s K-5 elementary math specialist while also serving as a principal intern for two years and as assistant principal of summer school this year.

Young’s bachelor’s degree is in interdisciplinary studies from Abilene Christian University, and she earned her master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Kendra Durham—MISD Coordinator of Secondary Science

“Kendra joined us late in the year in May and is a great addition to our team,” said Dr. Melinda DeFelice, MISD assistant superintendent of student services. “She has great experience and great ideas, and she has already jumped in and been an integral part of the team as they have planned and delivered professional development over the last few months.”

The list of Durham’s professional accomplishments offers a dizzying array of publications; local, regional and national presentations; grants, honors and awards as well as high level graduate work. Her teaching experience includes a broad range of teaching environments, from camps to online teaching to serving as adjunct professor of classroom management at Texas Women’s University.

From 2006–2013, Durham taught science at Wester Middle School in Frisco ISD, and during that time also served on the middle school curriculum writing team. Most recently, she served as middle school science coordinator in Frisco before coming to MISD.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in general studies with an emphasis in biological studies from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction with a Minor in educational psychology from Texas Tech University. In 2010, she completed her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with Texas Tech University.

Associate and Assistant Principals

It’s difficult to over emphasize the value of the associate and/or assistant principal at the campus level and the critical partnership they provide.

“As a principal, it helps you to have that day to day thinking partner for problem solving who provides a fresh perspective and makes sure you consider things from all angles,” said Woodard.

Paula Kent — Associate Principal, McKinney North High School

As Jae Gaskill kicks off her first year as principal of McKinney North High School amid the conclusion of a major campus renovation, recently named Associate Principal Paula Kent will serve as a familiar and valued administrative asset.

Kent is a 24 year veteran of public education and is no stranger to Gaskill or McKinney North. She started her career in Mt. Pleasant as a high school biology teacher and eventually made her way to MISD in 2011 to serve as the lead Pre-AP Biology teacher at McKinney North High School. By 2014, she was an assistant principal on that campus, and by 2015 was the lead assistant principal. Now, she moves into an even more influential leadership role as the associate principal following Jae Gaskill’s move from associate principal to principal at the end of 2015–2016.

Kent holds a Bachelor of Science in broad-field science with an emphasis in Biology from East Texas State University and a Master of Science in biology from Stephen F. Austin State University in addition to a certificate in educational leadership.

Danny Ledbetter — Assistant Principal, McKinney North High School

Another strong addition to the North administrative team is Danny Ledbetter, who moves over from Evans Middle School where he has served as an assistant principal since 2012.

Ledbetter, a McKinney High School alumnus (from the era when there was still only one high school in McKinney), initially came to work for MISD in 2011 to serve as a grant writer and administrative intern. During that time, he organized and wrote over 50 private and public grant applications in areas ranging from general operating funds to specific programs and successfully led the team responsible for writing the MISD application for the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.

Ledbetter began his career as an educator with Frisco ISD, teaching world cultures and Texas history from 2004–2007. After a year in Round Rock ISD teaching 9th grade world geography and Pre-AP world geography, he went on to serve at the University of Texas at Dallas as a teacher assistant and then as a graduate research intern for the RAND Corporation before his arrival in MISD.

Ledbetter holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in public service and administration from the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. in public affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Aretha Jackson — Assistant Principal, Dowell Middle School

Aretha Jackson moves from the role of classroom teacher at Vega Elementary to that of campus administrator at Dowell Middle School this year. Jackson is a veteran educator who began her career in 1998 with Gainesville ISD where she would serve in various roles over the next 12 years as a 3rd, 4th and then 5th grade teacher and team leader.

During that time, Jackson also taught continuing education classes for adult learners at Grayson County Community College and North Central Texas College.

She came to MISD in 2010 as a 4th grade teacher at Vega Elementary, and she was chosen as Teacher of the Year by her campus the following year.

Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies and a Master of Science in educational leadership from Texas A&M-Commerce.

“Aretha comes to Dowell with great experience with curriculum and working with teachers to design lessons for every level of student,” said Dowell Principal Holly Rogers. “She is great at building relationships with all stakeholders and will be a wonderful addition to our fantastic staff.”

Larry Dominguez — Assistant Principal, Evans Middle School

Larry Dominguez comes to MISD from The Colony High School in Lewisville ISD to join the administrative team at Evans Middle School alongside Principal Darla Jackson and fellow assistant principal Jaymee Robbins.

Dominguez began his career in 2007 as a middle school language arts teacher at Liberty Middle School in Killeen. In 2008, he transferred to Lewisville ISD where he served over the next six years as a 7th grade English teacher, middle school computer technology teacher, director of communications/data and a high school English teacher at The Colony High School.

Now he moves into a new role as assistant principal.

“Evans Middle School is excited to welcome our newest addition to the leadership team,” said Jackson. “Larry Dominguez’ prior experience makes him an asset to our district. He has both middle and high school teaching experience in the English/Language Arts content area, and he also comes to with an expertise in technology and computer literacy and strategies to incorporate that technology into our classrooms. The Evans family is fortunate to have Mr. Dominguez on our team.”

Dominguez holds a Bachelor of Arts in radio, television and film with a minor in English from the University of North Texas and a Master of Education in education administration from Texas Woman’s University.

Kim Luyster — Assistant Principal, Glen Oaks Elementary School

Kim Luyster is a veteran educator who began her career in Richardson ISD as a first grade teacher in 1990. Since then, she has taught reading in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, served as a Region 10 consultant and tutor and taught in private school. In 2002, she came to MISD as a self-contained classroom teacher at Wolford Elementary (where she was chosen as Teacher of the Year) and then transferred to Bennett Elementary in 2008.

From 2009–2013, Luyster served as an instructional specialist at Caldwell Elementary before accepting the assistant principal job at Malvern Elementary in 2015.

Now, she joins the staff at Glen Oaks as assistant principal. “We are so excited to have Kim’s leadership at Glen Oaks,” said Principal Molly Hovan. “Her strengths in curriculum and instruction as well as her ability to build strong relationships with all stakeholders make her a
great asset to our campus.”

Luyster earned a Bachelor of Science in education with a reading specialization from Baylor University and a Master of Science in educational leadership from Dallas Baptist University. In addition, she holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Texas.

Rhonda Hamilton — Assistant Principal, Malvern Elementary School

Rhonda Hamilton transfers to Malvern Elementary School this year and reunites with former Glen Oaks principal and current Malvern Principal Rhonda Gilliam, under whom Hamilton served as an assistant principal for much of her time at Glen Oaks.

Hamilton was Glen Oaks’ assistant principal from 2007–2015, but she began her career in 1994 as Educational Services Director for the Texoma Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Sherman. Then in 1999, she accepted a position as a special education teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary School in Blue Ridge.

In 2002, Hamilton joined the faculty at Dowell Middle School as a special education teacher and moved to Glen Oaks a year later to serve as the special education team leader of that campus. Four years after that, she took the next step in leadership and moved into an administrative role as assistant principal.

Hamilton earned a Bachelor of Science in sociology from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Master of Science in special education from Texas A&M-Commerce. In addition, she holds a Master of Education in educational leadership from Dallas Baptist University.

Gilbert Salinas—Assistant Principal, Malvern Elementary School

Joining Hamilton as an assistant principal at Malvern is Gilbert Salinas, Slaughter Elementary School’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. At Slaughter, Salinas served as a bilingual teacher and the 5th grade team leader.

Malvern isn’t a completely new locale for Salinas. It is one of the campuses, along with Webb Elementary and Press Elementary, for which he served ESL students in summer enrichment programs.

From 2007–2009, Salinas was the TRIO talent search program coordinator for the University of North Texas were he helped connect low income, first generation high school students to post-secondary opportunities, and he also developed workshops on financial aid applications, scholarships and the process of enrolling in college. For the past four years, Salinas has served with the Texas Air National Guard.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas Pan American and his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of North Texas.

“I’m excited to have Ms. Hamilton and Mr. Salinas join the Malvern family,” said Gilliam. “They have vast and varied experiences that will blend well to serve the students, parents and staff at Malvern Elementary.”

Maria Hafner — Assistant Principal, McClure Elementary School

Maria Hafner came to McClure Elementary last spring from Pink Elementary School in Frisco ISD where she had served as an instructional coach since 2012.

Hafner is a 20 year veteran elementary educator who began her career as a kindergarten teacher in Florida in 1995. By 2000, she was a 1st grade and supervising teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia and then made her way to Frisco ISD in 2005 to serve as a 1st grade teacher. Soon after, she became an accelerated reading teacher and literacy leader, serving several campuses before taking on the role of elementary instructional coach.

“McClure was fortunate to hire Maria in March,” said Principal Melanie Raleeh. “This allowed her time to build relationships with our school community. Her strength and knowledge of curriculum, teaching strategies and best practices is a benefit to our campus. Because of her heart for kids, Maria is a natural fit for McClure Elementary.”

Hafner earned a Bachelor of Science in child development from Michigan State University, a Master of Education in elementary education with an emphasis on math and science and a master of education in educational administration from Lamar University.

Jennifer Harrison—Assistant Principal, McNeil Elementary School

Jennifer Harrison moves over to Principal Tracy Meador’s staff at McNeil Elementary from Minshew Elementary where Harrison served as instructional coach and RTI coordinator from 2014–2016.

She began her career in 2005 as a 5th grade teacher at Stephens Elementary in Garland ISD where she worked until 2010. She then transitioned to Allen ISD, where, from 2010–2014, she taught 4th, 5th and 6th grades at Reed Elementary and Chandler Elementary. In 2014, Harrison was hired at Minshew where she worked until this year.

“We are so excited to add Jennifer Harrison to our leadership team at McNeil,” said Meador. “She brings extensive knowledge and experience in curriculum and instruction, as well as a spirit of innovation and excellence. We look forward to continuing to build a strong foundation of success for all our students and are glad Mrs. Harrison is now an integral part of our team.”

Harrison holds a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies and a Master of Science in administration from Concordia University.

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