Foundation sponsors 109 educators for Harvard institutes

Disclaimer: This initiative initially was launched and coordinated by the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, which in 2022 merged with and became the Charles Butt Foundation.

– Raise Your Hand has sponsored more than 1,100 educators since 2008 –

AUSTIN, TX (May 23, 2018) – The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, a non-profit organization working to strengthen public education, announced today it will sponsor 109 educators from 51 district and charter schools and three Education Service Centers across Texas to attend weeklong summer institutes at the Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

With this new cohort, Raise Your Hand Texas will have paid for more than 1,200 educators to attend training at Harvard though the Raising School Leaders program, an initiative designed to develop stronger school leaders who will enhance the quality of education across Texas. Raise Your Hand covers all expenses for the attendees including tuition, travel, hotel and other discretionary costs – investing on average about $9,200 per attendee, for a total of about $1 million in sponsorships for 2018, and more than $9 million since the program’s inception.

Attendees, including individual teachers and principals, as well as campus teams, will participate in one of four weeklong workshops on leadership development, coaching, or school turnaround led by Harvard faculty and other national and international experts. Each program is designed to inspire, challenge, and empower school leaders to bring lasting impact to their campuses and communities, the entire state of Texas, and beyond.

“Great teachers, along with strong school and district leaders, represent the most significant influencers of academic achievement and supportive culture,” said Cody Huie, Vice President of Programs at Raise Your Hand Texas. “Our alumni often report that their Harvard experience is the best professional development they have ever experienced, and that they return to their campuses energized, inspired, and empowered to make meaningful change that benefits all students.”

Each institute lasts five to seven days, between June 11 and July 14, 2016. After Harvard, participants will be sponsored to attend the organization’s annual leadership symposium and receive continuous support and professional development as part of the program’s statewide network of school leaders.

A list of all attendees from across Texas can be found below.

Aldine ISD

  • LaTonia Amerson, Principal, Eisenhower Ninth Grade School

Alief ISD

  • Lori Wyatt, Principal, Albright Middle School

Amarillo ISD

  • Jennifer Wilkerson, Principal, Travis Middle School

Arlington ISD

  • Reny Lizardo, Principal, Carter Junior High School
  • Matt Varnell, Principal, Corey Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language
  • Katiuska Herrador, Principal, Jones Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language

Austin ISD

  • Kenisha Coburn, Principal, Kealing Middle School
  • Amanda Arguijo, Academic Dean, Martin Middle School
  • Gail Maduro-Johnson, Science Instructional Coach, Martin Middle School
  • LaTonia Olloway, ELA Teacher, Martin Middle School
  • Monica de la Garza-Conness, Principal, Martin Middle School
  • Rey Garcia, Director of Operations, Martin Middle School Language

Ballinger ISD

  • Robert Webb, Principal, Ballinger High School

Bastrop ISD

  • Melinda Gardner, Principal, Lost Pines Elementary

Birdville ISD

  • Karen Lopez, Dean of Instruction, Shannon High School

Brownsville ISD

  • Mandy Delgado, Principal, Daniel Breeden Elementary

Cisco ISD

  • Amy Dodson, LRC/Blended Learning Director, Cisco Junior High School
  • RaDonna Burleson, Assistant Principal, Cisco Elementary

Clear Creek ISD

  • Michael Houston, Principal, Clear View High School
  • Jepsey Kimble, Principal, Clear Lake City Elementary
  • Cheryl Chaney, Principal, Weber Elementary
  • Xan Wood, Principal, League City Elementary

Cleburne ISD

  • Sabina Landeros, Principal, Santa Fe Elementary

College Station ISD

  • Annette Roraback, Principal, Pebble Creek Elementary

Columbia-Brazoria ISD

  • Roxana Bolton, Principal, West Columbia Elementary

Crockett County Consolidated Common School District

  • Tamara McWilliams, Principal, Ozona Elementary

Dallas ISD

  • Katie Eska, Principal, North Dallas High School
  • Cameron Ramirez, Principal, Stevens Park Elementary
  • Lisa Lovato, Principal, Dan D. Rogers Elementary
  • Terry-Ann Rodriguez, Principal, Moises E. Molina High School
  • Tom Brandt, Principal, Preston Hollow Elementary

Deer Park ISD

  • Deborah Yampey, Principal, Parkwood Elementary

Del Valle ISD

  • Jennifer Garcia, Principal, Baty Elementary

El Campo ISD

  • Mark Freeman, Principal, El Campo Middle School

ESC Regions

  • Melinda Marquez, Administrative Specialist, ESC Region 13
  • Andrea Moreno Juarez, Education Specialist, ESC Region 17
  • Debbie Rosenbaum, Educational Specialist, ESC Region 20

Frisco ISD

  • Alicia Maphies, Principal, Centennial High School

Georgetown ISD

  • Jessica McMullen, Principal, Jo Ann Ford Elementary

Giddings ISD

  • Sarah Borowicz, Principal, Giddings Intermediate School

Goliad ISD

  • Patricia Huber, Principal, Goliad Elementary

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD

  • Heather Landrum, Principal, Dove Elementary

Hereford ISD

  • Amy Clifton, Principal, Hereford Preparatory Academy
  • DeEdra Franklin, English Teacher, Hereford Preparatory Academy
  • Robert Villegas, Assistant Principal, Hereford Preparatory Academy
  • Dana Friel, Instructional Technology Coordinator/DCSI, Hereford Preparatory Academy
  • Laci Merrell, Counselor, Hereford Preparatory Academy

Houston ISD

  • Gerry Medina, Principal, Almeda Elementary
  • Hope Viers, Teacher Specialist, Austin High School
  • Elena Martinez-Buley, Principal, Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary School
  • Melissa Jacobs-Thibaut, Principal, Houston Academy for International Studies

Hutto ISD

  • Jason McAuliffe, Principal, Hutto Middle School

Judson ISD

  • Chris Galloway, Principal, Candlewood Elementary

Katy ISD

  • Deb Hubble, Principal, Morton Ranch Elementary
  • Kristin Harper, Principal, James Randolph Elementary

KIPP Houston Public Schools

  • Amy Stabile, School Leader, KIPP Explore Academy
  • Michael Norton, Manager of Digital Teaching and Learning, KIPP Houston Public Schools
  • Melodie Blackwood, Dean of Math, 5th, 6th, RTI and SPED, KIPP Spirit College Prep

KIPP Inc. Charter

  • Steve Khadam-Hir, Principal, KIPP Academy West
  • Pegah Taylor, Principal, KIPP Connect Middle School

Lampasas ISD

  • Robert White, Principal, Lampasas High School

Laredo ISD

  • Sandra Garcia, Principal, Memorial Middle School

Lockhart ISD

  • Lori Davis, Principal, Lockhart Junior High School

Lubbock ISD

  • Jessie Cayton, Teacher, Cavazos Middle School
  • Marti Makuta, Principal, Cavazos Middle School
  • Miranda Ruvalcaba, Assistant Principal, Cavazos Middle School
  • Raquel Jaime, Assistant Principal, Cavazos Middle School
  • Damon McCall, Executive Principal, Cavazos Middle School

Memphis ISD

  • Carla Murphy, Special Education Teacher, Memphis Middle School
  • Christine Scroggs, School Improvement Liaison, Memphis Middle School
  • Leigh Ann Hawthorne, Elementary Principal, Memphis Middle School
  • Trina Hardin, Federal Programs Director, Memphis Middle School
  • Wes Hardin, Principal, Memphis Middle School
  • Victoria Davis, Travis Elementary Principal, Memphis Middle School

Mineola ISD

  • Stacy Morris, Principal, Mineola Elementary
  • Kim Tunnell, Superintendent, Mineola ISD
  • Kara Ledkins, District Blended Learning Project Manager, Mineola Middle School
  • Kendall Gould, Principal, Mineola Middle School
  • Jennifer Knipp, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Mineola Primary
  • Jole Ray, Principal, Mineola Primary

Northside ISD

  • Valerie Sisk, Principal, Earl Warren High School

Plano ISD

  • Kristopher Vernon, Principal, Frankford Middle School
  • Kristin Bishop, Principal, Shepard Elementary

Point Isabel ISD

  • Nancy Gonzalez, Principal, Port Isabel Junior High School
  • D.J. Canales, Technology Administrator, Technology Department

Ralls ISD

  • Jeremy Griffith, Ralls Middle School Principal, Ralls Middle School

Robinson ISD

  • Shelly Chudej, Robinson Principal, Robinson Junior High School
  • Kati Dietzman, Principal, Robinson Elementary

Round Rock ISD

  • Patricia Ephlin, Principal, Robertson Elementary

San Antonio ISD

  • Aurora Terry, Principal, Longfellow Middle School
  • Diana Natividad, Master Teacher, Longfellow Middle School
  • Eliza Vela, Master Teacher, Longfellow Middle School
  • Judith Solis, Assistant Superintendent, Longfellow Middle School
  • Linda Rios-Garcia, Assistant Principal, Longfellow Middle School

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD

  • LaCreasha Stille, Principal, Cibolo Valley Elementary

Socorro ISD

  • Al Garcia, Principal, John Drugan School

Spring Branch ISD

  • Roy Moore, Principal, Nottingham Elementary
  • Ariana Valenzuela, Director of Innovation, Nottingham Elementary School

Spring ISD

  • Shanna Swearingen, Principal, Ponderosa

Tomball ISD

  • Chris Scott, Principal, Tomball High School
  • Jo Ann Colson, Principal, Decker Prairie

Tulia ISD

  • Daniel Keith, Director of Instructional Design, Highland Elementary
  • Pam White Miner, Principal, Highland Elementary
  • Robin Downing, Personalized Learning Coach, Highland Elementary

Van Alstyne ISD

  • Ryan Coleman, Principal, Van Alstyne Middle School

Winters ISD

  • Kari Calcote, Principal, Winters Elementary

Ysleta ISD

  • Veronica Frias, Principal, Lancaster Elementary
  • Micha Villarreal, Director of Innovative Learning, Ysleta Elementary (Innovative Learning Department)
  • Sylvia Rendon, Principal, Ysleta High School


The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports programmatic initiatives structured to identify, pilot, and scale systemic improvements in public education.

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Petri Darby – VP of Marketing or (512) 617-2137