New IDEA Principals Announced

IDEA Public Schools is thrilled to announce five outstanding individuals who will become principals of IDEA schools this upcoming 2017-18 school year—Hope Walker, Elisha McCardell, Pam Ray, William Chermak, and Christina Villarreal. These exceptional members of the IDEA Team and Family will serve as campus principals in our San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley regions and lead their teams to provide their students with a high-quality education.

Hope Walker: IDEA Najim Academy Stars

Ms. Hope Walker has been an Assistant Principal of Instruction with IDEA since June 2014. Prior to joining our Team and Family, she was a standout teacher, literacy coach, and curriculum guru with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Since joining IDEA, Hope has worked tirelessly to improve the outcomes of our academy students in San Antonio, having served at both IDEA South Flores and IDEA Judson. In that time, Hope has become an expert in Direct Instruction; one of the many reasons we are so excited to announce that she will be the founding principal at IDEA Najim Academy.

“I always believe in the power of change,” said Hope.  “Making a difference, a direct impact, in the lives of scholars and teachers was always at the forefront of my mind.  This is something I continue to work on daily, and I hope that I have that chance to expand my role at IDEA.”

Elisha McCardell: IDEA Brackenridge Academy Longhorns

Ms. Elisha McCardell has been at IDEA for the past two years, helping launch IDEA Eastside Academy as an API, and this year, as a PIR. Prior to arriving at IDEA, Elisha was a high-performing teacher-leader in Houston at both KIPP and HISD. She has continued to build upon her educational success at IDEA, and is a striver, no doubt – she is even close to earning her PhD! As a leader already familiar with the excitement and potential of helping to found a school in San Antonio, there’s no doubt Elisha is ready to open IDEA Brackenridge Academy next fall.

“It is my belief that education is the true dividing factor between poverty and greater access to changing current and future generations,” Elisha said, regarding the importance of a great education.   

Pam Ray: IDEA Ewing Halsell Academy Pioneers

Ms. Pam Ray joined IDEA in the summer of 2014, but her education career spans more than 25 years – her expertise and experience are world-class, and it shows in the work she has accomplished at IDEA Monterrey Park Academy as both an API and PIR. Pam has served as a curriculum director, curriculum writer, district coordinator for various contents including Special Programs, consultant, and of course, a high-performing teacher. Pam is truly passionate about the work of educating children, and she has shown the capacity to positively influence students from pre-kindergarten all the way through high school.

“I have lived in the San Antonio area since 4th grade and have a great sense of loyalty to the communities, families and children in our region,” said Pam.  “Serving as principal of a central Texas IDEA campus allows me to lead a powerful movement in San Antonio that gives hope to our children for a bright future.”  

William Chermak: IDEA Ewing Halsell College Prep Pioneers

Since joining Teach For America in 2010 as a corps member in San Antonio, Mr. William Chermak has been a relentless advocate for students and a standout educator. Recognized for his efforts as a teacher leader by San Antonio ISD from 2010-2013, Will also successfully coached incoming Teach For America corps members during the Summer Institute of 2013. Since joining the team at IDEA South Flores College Prep, William has demonstrated the ability to coach and lead teachers to tremendous results.

“I want to build a school that impacts the community in a way that they have never seen before,” said William.  “I see the schools around my house, and their ratings, and that is unacceptable for my children. This will also become unacceptable for the children in my community as I show them what is possible.”

Christina Villarreal: IDEA Academy San Benito Dragons

With a career in elementary education spanning nearly two decades, Ms. Christina Villarreal has shown again and again that she knows what it takes to help students reach their highest potential. Having taught 1st – 3rd grades in San Benito ISD for more than ten years, Christina arrived at IDEA Academy San Benito in the summer of 2012 as a 3rd grade teacher.  Since then, she has served as an API, and this year, as a PIR. Christina led her teachers and students to enormous DI gains, the best results in campus history. Christina has been the Dragons’ interim principal for the past few months, and has continuously demonstrated the ability to help guide San Benito to even greater heights.

On the drive to better her students’ futures, Christina said: “Seeing each and every day that a school with high expectations in culture and academics is possible and changing the lives of scholars is what has led me to want to become a principal.”

Hope, Elisha, Pam, William, and Christina will join a talented group of IDEA principals, announced earlier this year, that will lead new IDEA Rio Grande Valley campuses in 2017—Beni Carcano at IDEA Tres Lagos Academy, Megan Goossen at IDEA Tres Lagos College Preparatory, and Fernie Salinas at IDEA Rio Grande City Academy. These leaders will now enter the Rhodes Fellowship, our semester-long program that represents the final step in preparation for the principal role.  IDEA Public Schools is honored to welcome our newest group of leaders who will lead their staff to success and impact the lives of our students for years to come.

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