McKinney, Texas – As summer gives way to the quickly approaching 2015–2016 school year, McKinney ISD administrators are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their summer labors. For several campuses, that has meant hiring a new assistant principal.
Recent retirements, promotions and other career moves led to openings for assistant principals at Reuben Johnson Elementary, Caldwell Elementary, Wilmeth Elementary, Dowell Middle School and McKinney North High School. Those positions have been filled recently with some outstanding educational leaders.
And the value of a great assistant principal is difficult to overstate.
“The success of a campus is multiplied by having a partnership between the principal and assistant principal that focuses on the overall administration of the instructional program and promotion of a positive school culture,” said MISD Assistant Superintendent of Learner Support Suzy Woodard. “Each of these new assistant principals brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new roles and will be excellent partners for their principals.”
Jennifer Huff, Assistant Principal, Reuben Johnson Elementary
Jennifer Huff, a 12 year veteran of education, comes to MISD from the Allen Independent School District where she most recently served as a campus intervention specialist responsible for coordinating all district and state assessments and follow-up processes. Huff’s prior experience also includes turns as a middle school classroom teacher for Allen ISD and as an elementary self-contained teacher for Richardson ISD and Ingleside ISD.
“Mrs. Huff is an amazing addition to the Johnson Jaguar family,” said Principal Michelle Baumann. “Aside from being an experienced, successful leader, she exemplifies each of the characteristics the RJE staff communicated as vital for the role of assistant principal. I know our partnership will enhance the elementary experience for all of our Jaguars!”
Huff holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University.
Heather Wood, Assistant Principal, Caldwell Elementary
Heather Wood isn’t a newcomer to campus administration. During her 16 years in education, she has served as an assistant principal in MISD and as a principal in Blue Ridge. Most recently, though, Wood has served as an instructional specialist sharing her expertise among several MISD elementary campuses.
“Heather is skilled at technology integration to promote higher levels of student engagement, project-based learning through the Engaged learning model as well as the use of instructional coaches to promote academic growth and achievement of students,” said Caldwell Principal Kelly Flowers. “We are so fortunate to have not only her expertise, but more importantly her clear love and dedication to the students we will serve here at Caldwell together. I am looking forward to the dynamic partnership we will forge as we move Caldwell to the next level.”
Wood holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from East Central University in Oklahoma and a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University–Commerce.
“I am very honored and excited to join the Caldwell Elementary team,” said Wood. “I look forward to partnering with students, staff and community members to challenge and engage our students in real-world learning experiences.”
Kristin Ellis, Assistant Principal, Wilmeth Elementary
“We are incredibly lucky to bring Kristin Ellis on board at Wilmeth!” said Principal Judy Bragg of her new assistant principal. With more than 20 years in education, Ellis moves this year from Press Elementary—where she has served as an instructional coach since 2012—to serve in a new role as assistant principal at Wilmeth.
“Kristin is no nonsense about the importance of education, and she sparkles passion for teaching and student learning,” said Bragg. “She participated in the first Aspiring Administrators Academy where her knowledge, use of technology and collaborative nature was noted. She has jumped in as a Wilmeth Longhorn from the minute she was hired. She is all about kids and can’t wait for school to start.”
Ellis has served the majority of her lengthy career in MISD as a 4th grade teacher at Eddins Elementary. Prior to that, she taught 3rd grade for three years in Garland ISD.
“MISD has played a critical part in developing my leadership skills over the years and I am grateful for the many opportunities I have been given in our district,” said Ellis. “I am honored and very excited to serve the staff, students and community at Wilmeth Elementary as assistant
principal. I look forward to being a part of such a passionate school community!”
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from the University of North Texas.
Jesse Abel, Assistant Principal, Dowell Middle School
While he may be a new face on the campus of Dowell Middle School this year, Jesse Abel is no stranger to MISD. He served seven years as a coach and science teacher at McKinney Boyd High School from 2006 – 2013. In the fall of 2013, Abel accepted an assistant principal position at Cooper Middle School in Wylie ISD where he has served for the past two years.
Now, he returns to MISD. “Mr. Abel has a proven record of being a kid magnet,” said Dowell Principal Alan Arbabi. “His vast experience will be a true asset to our already great team here at Dowell.”
Abel has logged more than 20 years in education as a coach, teacher and administrator. Prior to his years at Boyd, he taught and coached at the high school and middle school levels in Oklahoma public schools as well as Allen, Fort Worth and Plano ISDs.
“McKinney ISD is a great organization within an awesome community,” said Abel. “I have always appreciated MISD’s contributions and efforts made to ensure a high level of student achievement and academic readiness. I am so excited to have the opportunity to come back and be a part of such a dynamic and success driven organization.”
Abel holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a Master of Education degree from Lamar University.
Keir Burke, Assistant Principal, McKinney North High School
Keir Burke has more than 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher at the elementary and middle school levels and then as a science curriculum coordinator at the district level for MISD. She began her career teaching algebra, physics and science at Giessan American High School in Giessan, Germany for two years before landing in Fairview to teach middle school math and science. She came to MISD in 2006 to serve as a classroom teacher at Minshew and then transferred to Cockrill in 2011. In 2013, she became the district’s elementary science coordinator.
“Keir Burke is an incredible educator and her knowledge of curriculum and instruction will be a huge asset for our school,” said North Principal Jimmy Spann. “Also, having worked at Cockrill she knows many of our kids and has quickly initiated reconnections with them. She is a hard worker and cares greatly about student success.”
Burke earned a bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-med from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in teaching from Texas Woman’s University.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the dynamic and dedicated North leadership team,” said Burke. “It is an honor to work at a campus where the best interest of students is at the heart of every decision.”
Josh Greenwood, Assistant Principal, McKinney North High School
Josh Greenwood brings 16 years of education experience to his new role as an assistant principal at North, and while his position may have changed, the campus remains familiar terrain. Greenwood has taught social studies and coached tennis at North since 2005.
Prior to his time in MISD, Greenwood taught social studies at Hebron High School in Carrollton ISD and at Cedar Hill High School.
“Josh Greenwood is an outstanding addition to our administrative team,” said Spann. “He’s been a Bulldog (teacher/coach) for the last 10 years and has a great understanding of the culture of our campus. This knowledge of our school will be an added dimension for him. He is very well respected by our students and staff. He was an excellent classroom teacher and I know he will carry those traits forward into administration.”
Greenwood holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Midwestern State University and a Master of Education Administration degree from Lamar University.
McKinney ISD Press Release