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MISD Leadership Update: Summer 2018

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Friday, August 17, 2018

McKinney, Texas – The 2018–2019 school year is nearly upon us and with it, the annual hustle and bustle and excitement of the first day of school. When McKinney ISD students arrive on campus Monday, Aug. 20 and officially bid farewell to summer, they’ll be welcomed by a host of enthusiastic teachers and campus administrators eager to get the new year underway.

Among those administrators will be a few new faces—as well as some familiar faces in new roles.

Elementary Assistant Principals

“I’m excited about our six new assistant principals and what they are going to bring to the leadership at their campuses,” said Suzy Woodard, MISD assistant superintendent of elementary student support. “They are well-prepared and well-trained and bring a wealth of experience from their previous jobs. They are ready, and they have jumped right in to build relationships with their principals, teachers and the community.”

Mike Allen — Assistant Principal, Finch Elementary

Mike Allen head shotMike Allen comes to Finch Elementary from Dallas ISD where, for the past four years, he has served as assistant principal at Hexter Elementary. All told, Allen brings nine years of experience in education comprised of a broad range of roles that includes special education teacher, elementary classroom teacher, AVID site coordinator and technology integration coach.

“Finch Elementary is excited to have Mike join our team,” said Finch Principal Erika Echegaray. “Mike’s knowledge and experience in working with Professional Learning Communities and Restorative Practice will help Finch reach the next level.

“He has already begun to establish relationships with staff and is eager to meet our students and families,” she said. “‘Every Child, Every Day’ is the Finch motto, and Mike has shown this is what he strongly believes in—supporting our Finch Falcons every day. Once a Falcon, always a Falcon! Welcome to the Finch team, Mike!”

Allen earned his bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Kristi Ward—Assistant Principal, Glen Oaks Elementary

Kristi Ward head shotKristi Ward is no stranger to MISD. Seventeen of her 20 years in education have been spent in service to the district. Most recently, she has served as an instructional coach at Dowell Middle School, and prior to that, she spent nine years honing her craft as an elementary classroom teacher at McGowen Elementary and then Vega Elementary.

Now, she joins Principal Molly Hovan’s administrative team as assistant principal at Glen Oaks Elementary. “Kristi has a passion for supporting teachers, and her coaching experience will be a huge asset as she comes on board to Glen Oaks,” said Hovan. “As a former elementary teacher, she has the necessary knowledge and expertise to effectively support and grow people. She leads with her heart, and we are so lucky to have her joining our family.”

Ward earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Oklahoma and her master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Veronica Muizers—Assistant Principal, Lawson Early Childhood School

Veronica Muizers head shotWhen Veronica Muizers moved into the assistant principal job at Lawson Early Childhood School, she didn’t have far to travel; she has served for the past four years as an instructional coach at the school, which is home to the wide range of MISD’s early childhood/pre-school programs.

Muziers has called McKinney home since 2000, and over the course of her career, she has served at Webb, Burks and Finch Elementary as well as Hart Elementary in Lovejoy ISD.

“My family here at Lawson made me feel so loved when my new position was announced this summer,” said Muizers. “I am so honored to call Lawson my home. This is where our students’ graduate profile for McKinney ISD begins, and so our work here is vital to our students’ success.”

Muizers holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Texas at El Paso and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas A&M University—Commerce.

Karime Terrazas—Assistant Principal, Minshew Elementary

Karime Terrazas head shotKarime Terrazas comes to MISD from Lewisville ISD and brings 11 years of campus administrative experience to the job. She began her career 18 years ago in Irving ISD as a bilingual teacher. Now, she joins Principal Inetra Nelson’s leadership team at Minshew Elementary.

“It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of the Minshew family,” said Terrazas. “As I enter my eighteenth year in education, I am blessed to find myself with the opportunity to serve the students and community at Minshew as assistant principal. I am looking forward to getting to know the families and building partnerships to ensure the success of each child. I love nothing more than making my way around to all of the students and teachers, getting to know everyone and feeling the buzz of learning in the air. It fills me with such happiness to receive high fives and hugs every morning, and I cannot wait to begin this amazing year. It is an honor to be a Minshew Colt!”

Terrazas earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary education from the University of North Texas and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Jeremy Pryor—Assistant Principal, Walker Elementary

Jeremy Pryor head shotJeremy Pryor, the 2014–2015 MISD Elementary Teacher of the Year, has been chosen as the new assistant principal at Walker Elementary on Principal Deborah Sanchez’s leadership team.

Before moving into campus administration, Pryor served as an instructional coach at Bennett Elementary, and over the course of his eleven years in education, has served as an elementary classroom teacher at the first, second, third and fourth grade levels in MISD and Plano ISD.

“I feel honored to have the privilege of working with the administrative team at Walker Elementary this year,” said Pryor. “Ms. Sanchez and the entire Walker staff welcomed me with open arms, and we are anxiously awaiting the return of our students and families so that we can begin our new adventure together.”

Pryor holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Cari Owens—Assistant Principal, Wilmeth Elementary

Cari Owens head shotCari Owens is an accomplished educator with nearly 20 years of experience in public education and has served as an assistant principal at both the elementary and middle school levels. She joins MISD from Frisco ISD where she most recently served as assistant principal at Nelson Middle School.

The assistant principal position at Wilmeth became available when former Wilmeth Assistant Principal Kristin Ellis was chosen to succeed longtime Principal Judy Bragg when Bragg retired at the conclusion of the 2017–2018 school year.

Owens is fitting right in at her new campus. “What an honor to join the Wilmeth community!” she said. “Kristin and the staff have adopted me into the family already. The ‘W’ is an exciting place to be.”

Owens earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Louisiana—Monroe and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University.

Secondary Assistant Principals

“We couldn’t be more pleased to add David Hodum, Joshua Helms and Shelly Kramer to our campus leadership at Evans, Boyd and MHS,” said Dr. Melinda DeFelice, assistant superintendent of secondary student support. “They are all talented educators, and each of them is going to be a great asset to their school.”

David Hodum—Assistant Principal, Evans Middle School

David Hodum head shotPreviously a math and science instructional coach at Dowell Middle School, David Hodum now moves over to Principal Darla Jackson’s administrative team at Evans Middle School.

Hodum has invested his entire nine years in education in MISD, serving the majority of that time as a teacher in the science department at Boyd. For three years, he was the physics team lead, and from 2015–2017, he served as the chair of the science department.

“I am extremely proud and excited to join Evans Middle School and to learn from Darla Jackson and [Assistant Principal] Jaymee Robbins,” said Hodum. “Darla has a great vision for the school, and I’m excited to put everything I’ve got into helping her and Evans reach those goals.”

Hodum holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Texas at Tyler and a Doctor of Chiropractic from Parker University.

Joshua Helms—Assistant Principal, McKinney Boyd High School

Josh Helms head shotLong-time McKinney High School social studies teacher and soccer coach Joshua Helms makes the move to McKinney Boyd for 2018–2019 to join Dr. Jennifer Pierson’s administrative team. Helms brings eleven years of experience in education to the position, most recently serving as the testing coordinator at MHS. Prior to that, he served in the world history department at MHS as the team lead.

In addition, Helms coached the MHS junior varsity soccer team and developed the school’s first junior varsity II team.

“It has been a wonderful experience getting to be a part of the McKinney Boyd High School family,” Helms said. “Everyone has been extremely welcoming and helpful. The administrative team has made me feel a part of the team since day one. I am looking forward to the 2018-2019 school year as a Bronco, and I am looking forward to many more years to follow. Go Broncos!”

Helms earned his bachelor’s degree in history education from Tusculum College and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.

Shelly Kramer—Assistant Principal, McKinney High School

Shelly Kramer head shotThis year, Shelly Kramer moves from the special education department at McKinney High School to Principal Alan Arbabi’s administrative team. She began her career in education 13 years ago and served seven years as a special education teacher at Wolford Elementary before moving to the special education department at MHS five years ago.

For the past two years, Kramer has served as the special education team lead, overseeing a department of 35 staff members. Now, she moves into the broader leadership role of an assistant principal, but she won’t stray far from her roots as the special education department will remain within her purview.

“I am very excited to continue working with the special education department as an assistant principal and to be a part of the MHS administrative team,” said Kramer.

Prior to her career in education, Kramer was as a social worker for Tarrant County MHMR in Fort Worth and worked as a psychiatric social worker at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned her principal certification from Lamar University.

Central Administration

Jennifer Little—MISD Coordinator of Student Assessment

Jennifer Little head shotIn May, longtime McGowen Elementary Principal Jennifer Little became the district’s new coordinator of student assessment. With 25 years of experience as a teacher and administrator—20 in MISD—Little brings a broad range of expertise to her new position.

“I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve the district in this new role,” said Little. “I have dedicated 20 years of my career to serving the students of McKinney ISD. Each step has broadened the scope of those whom I serve, and having the opportunity to positively impact all of our students is not only humbling, but quite an exciting challenge as well.”

Little began her career in 1993 as a fifth grade teacher in Deer Park ISD. Two years later, she moved to Lewisville ISD where she taught fourth and fifth grade before moving to MISD in 1998 to serve as a kindergarten teacher at Slaughter Elementary.

Over the next 20 years, she would go on to serve as a fourth grade teacher at Slaughter Elementary, a gifted and talented teacher at McNeil Elementary and as a library media specialist and academic specialist at Burks Elementary before moving into administration as the assistant principal at Reuben Johnson Elementary. For the past seven years, Little has served as principal of McGowen Elementary.

“The [coordinator of student assessment] position became available in January, and I intentionally did not attempt to fill it quickly,” said MISD Chief Program Evaluation Officer Geoff Sanderson in May. “I view the role as a liaison to many offices and campuses in our school improvement efforts, and I knew that finding that unique combination of necessary skills would take some time. With her background and record of success in our district, Jennifer became the clear choice.”

Little earned her bachelor’s degree in applied learning and development from the University of Texas and her master’s degree in educational administration from Dallas Baptist University.

Wendy Dutton—MISD Coordinator of Professional Development

Wendy Dutton head shotIt has been a sort of homecoming for Wendy Dutton as she returns to MISD after serving for the past year as the AVID secondary district coordinator for Garland ISD. Her 18 years in education have brought her a wealth of experience through her work in elementary, secondary and district-level positions.

She started out in the elementary classroom, but when Evans Middle School opened, Dutton moved to the secondary level and served as a member of the team that opened that campus. It was there that she eventually took on the role of AVID teacher and site coordinator and led the campus to AVID National Demonstration School status. Along the journey, she developed a passion for training teachers and staff, and the district is pleased to welcome Dutton to this vital position.

“Wendy brings a level of enthusiasm and expertise to her role as coordinator of professional development,” said MISD Senior Director of Curriculum and Instruction Melanie Magee. “She is extremely knowledgeable not only about instructional strategies, but adult learning theories as well. We are happy to have her back in the MISD family.”

Dutton earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University and her master’s from Texas A&M–Commerce.

Sonja Harrison—MISD Senior Director of Administrative Services

Sonja Harrison head shotSonja Harrison is now the senior director of administrative services—a job title which means that the most difficult and serious school discipline cases eventually make their way to her desk.

Harrison’s professional life began as a systems engineer, but along the way, she made a career change that stuck. Twenty-six years later, she has assembled a resume that includes 14 years in Plano ISD, where she served as a behavior specialist, dean of students at the Larry Guinn Special Programs Center, assistant principal at Plano Senior High and as a district administrator.

She’s been the director of administrative services in MISD for the past 12 years—and it can be a tough job. But, she does it because she cares about kids, and she knows that in the midst of discipline issues, there are opportunities to make a difference in a student’s life. So, while she is firm in holding students accountable for their actions, she tries to help them recognize opportunities for change.

“Most of the time when I have a hearing or have an appeal,” Harrison said, “I’m going to also offer encouragement because anybody can make a mistake, and I don’t want any kid to feel that I’ve given up on them.

“It’s my responsibility to offer hope because things can change. Things can get better, but you just have to ask yourself, ‘Ok, what do I need to do to grow from this?’” she said.

Harrison earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Georgia Southern University. She also holds a master’s degree in counseling from Amberton University and her certification in mid-management from Texas Woman’s University.

Jennifer Akins—MISD Senior Director of Guidance and Counseling Services

Jennifer Akins head shotJennifer Akins is now the senior director of guidance and counseling services. Akins spent 10 years in the MHS counseling department before transferring to central administration in 2016 to serve as the director of guidance and counseling.

Her career as an educator began as a classroom teacher at MHS in 1999, but in 2006 she moved into the MHS counseling department. In 2011, she was chosen as the lead counselor for that campus.

In addition to her work with students, Akins has been involved in a host of other professional endeavors to fill out her already busy schedule. In 2011, she completed the requirements to become a licensed professional counselor and started a private practice. She has served on numerous district-level committees, and her expertise has been called upon through speaking engagements at local professional development sessions as well as state and national conferences. Akins also designed and taught a summer college and career readiness course for five years at the Texas Governor’s School at the University of North Texas.

In 2015, Akins and fellow MHS counselor Jeff Cranmore received the prestigious Texas Counseling Association Outstanding Research Award for their work in the area of college and career planning.

Ultimately, what continually pushes Akins forward is an unwavering focus on the the needs of kids. “Our students are the priority in McKinney ISD. In my role at the district level, I’ve enjoyed supporting our staff as they implement comprehensive school counseling programs that provide students and families with the tools and resources for academic, social and emotional success.”

Akins earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas and her master’s degree in school counseling from Dallas Baptist University.


Jennifer Frazier—MISD Associate Director of Athletics

Jennifer Frazier head shotSince 2016, Jennifer Frazier has served as MISD’s assistant director of athletics. Now, she takes on a larger role as the associate director of athletics.

Frazier has a lifetime of experience in athletics both as a competitor and a coach. She was a three-sport athlete at Plano East Senior High and was inducted into the Plano ISD Hall of Honor in 2011.

She played basketball for four years at Abilene Christian University and racked up numerous accolades including: Honda’s Division II Athlete of the Year in 1996, CoSIDA Division II National Player of the Year and 1st Team All-American from 1994–1996, Kodak-WBCA Division II National Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996. In 2006, she became only the fourth player in ACU history to have her number retired.

Frazier began her career in education in 1997 as the head varsity girl’s basketball coach at Lake Highlands High School. She joined the MISD coaching staff in 2012 as the athletic director at Cockrill Middle School. Four years later, she was hired as the district’s assistant athletic director.

Growth within the athletics program and the department has brought new leadership opportunities and with them the new role of associate director of athletics.

“I am humbled and excited to serve McKinney ISD in this capacity,” Frazier said. “Coach Pratt is an incredible leader for our athletic department, and I am honored to support him and our athletic programs in this new role.”

Frazier earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Abilene Christian University and her master’s degree in school counseling from Lamar University.

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