Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Selects 62 School Leaders for Harvard Institutes

June 22, 2020  

Tessa Benavides (210) 445-3965 or [email protected]

Cohort represents 43 school districts and two charter schools from across Texas

AUSTIN, TX (June 15, 2020) – The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, a non-profit organization working to strengthen public education in Texas, has announced the 62 school leaders from across Texas selected as the 2020 cohort of educators the Foundation will be sponsoring to attend summer Institutes at the Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The members of the cohort represent 43 school districts and two charter schools. They join the nearly 1,200 educators sponsored by the Foundation to attend training at Harvard through the Raising School Leaders program, an initiative designed to develop stronger school leaders who will enhance the quality of education across Texas.

“Public school leaders are agents of change on their campuses, said Cody Huie, Vice President of Programs at the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation. “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.”

In years past, the cohort traveled to Harvard during the summer to participate in one of the week-long institutes. However due to COVID-19, this year’s cohort is invited to participate in an optional online course facilitated by Harvard this summer. The cohort will also meet virtually each month to discuss their problem of practice, attend the 2021 Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Symposium, and then head to Harvard next summer to participate in their selected institute.

“We know that public schools will be at the center of our state’s, and nation’s, rebuilding from the pandemic caused by COVID-19 which makes this year’s Harvard cohort a unique experience as these educators will grow and learn together as they lead us all on a path of rebuilding,” said Huie.

For every participant in the Harvard Institutes, the Foundation covers all expenses for the attendees including tuition, travel, and hotel – investing on average about $9,200 per attendee, for a total of about $1 million in sponsorships for 2019, and more than $9 million since the program’s inception.

During the summer Harvard Institutes, attendees will participate in weeklong workshops on leadership development, 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.

Following the Harvard Institutes, attendees remain a part of the program’s statewide network of school leaders.

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

Aldine ISD
Aisley Adams, Nimitz Ninth Grade Center

Aledo ISD
Holly Elgin, Walsh Elementary School

Alief ISD
Courtney Marshall, Collins Elementary School

Allen ISD
Aretha Jackson, Kerr Elementary School

Burnet CISD
Douglas Marvin, Quest High School

Canutillo ISD
Jesica Arellano, Northwest Early College High School
Christopher Judge, Canutillo Middle School
Jessica Melendez-Carrillo, Congressman Silvestre & Carolina Reyes School

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD
Ahveance Jones, Las Colinas Elementary
Jennifer Putnam, Stark Elementary School

Clear Creek ISD
Sharon Lopez, Seabrook Middle School
Kelly Mooney, Ross Elementary School
Monica Speaks, Clear View High School

Community ISD
Stacey Kluttz, NeSmith Elementary School

Comstock ISD
Laura Parker, Comstock School

Conroe ISD
Melanie Bujnoch, Oak Ridge High School

Crandall ISD
Dave Christensen, Martin Elementary School
Amy McAfee, Crandall Middle School

Dripping Springs ISD
Melinda Gardner, Walnut Springs Elementary

East Central ISD
Stacey Johnston, Sinclair Elementary School

Courtney Stevens, Era School

Fort Bend ISD
Kristi Durham, Madden Elementary School
Jill Gumbs, Mission Bend Elementary School
Courney Meceus, First Colony Middle School
Wendy Nunez, Rita Drabek Elementary School
Nikki Roberts, Edgar Glover Jr. Elementary School

Frisco ISD
Kellie Rapp, Tadlock Elementary School
Robin Scott, Stafford Middle School

Georgetown ISD
Jessica McMullen, Jo Ann Ford Elementary
Latishia Ptomey, Cooper Elementary School

Grand Prairie ISD
Joanna Slaton, South Grand Prairie Early College High School

Harlingen CISD
Alma Atkinson, Lamar Elementary School

Houston ISD
Robert (Scott) Allen, Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Ingram ISD
Justin Crittenden, Ingram Tom Moore High School
Karenrose Vela, Ingram Middle School

Katy ISD
William Rhodes, Bryant Elementary School

Kermit ISD
Sonia Gonzales, Kermit Elementary School

Klein ISD
Tyra Storie, Frank Elementary School

La Feria ISD
Yvette Cantu, Dominguez Elementary School

La Vega ISD
Shaunte Stewart, La Vega Elementary School

Lake Dallas ISD
Jennifer Perry, Lake Dallas Elementary School

Lamar CISD
Henva Medlow, Don Carter Elementary School
Mary Ellen Rochoa, Seguin Early Childhood Center

Laredo ISD
Rosalba Martinez, T. Sanchez – H. Ochoa Elementary School

Little Elm ISD
Bill Bush, Little Elm High School
Christine Gibson, Prestwick STEM Academy
Stephen Richardson, Hackberry Elementary School

Lovejoy ISD
Wendy Craft, Lovejoy Elementary School

Lubbock ISD
Christy Gillespie, Wolffarth Elementary

Marble Falls ISD
Leslie Talamantes, Highland Lakes Elementary School

Mineral Wells ISD
Doug Funk, Mineral Wells High School

McKinney ISD
Alvin Conley, Burks Elementary School

Northside ISD
Priscilla Paul, Lawrence Powell Elementary School
Juan Perez, Martin Elementary School

San Marcos CSD
Scott Masini, Travis Elementary School

Sundown ISD
Jeremy Griffith, Sundown Middle School

Terrell ISD
Lily Dominguez Carrero, Long Elementary School

Tornillo ISD
Nadia De La Rosa, Tornillo Intermediate School

Uplift Education
Elizabeth Oviatt, Uplift Summit Dallas

UT Elementary School
Nicole Whetstone, UT Elementary School

Water Valley ISD
DeeAnna Blanton, Water Valley High School

Ysleta ISD
Juan Guzman, Scotsdale Elementary


About the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation

The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation develops and strengthens school leaders and teachers, engages families in the educational experience, and advances classroom learning with innovative instructional practices to benefit all students. For more information, visit

Connect with us:
Facebook: /RaiseYourHandTexas
Twitter: @RYHTexas
Instagram: /RaiseYourHandTexas

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