We are thrilled to announce 17 outstanding individuals who will become principals of IDEA schools during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. These leaders will serve as campus principals in our Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Southern Louisiana, and Rio Grande Valley regions, continuing our mission of college for all children.
IDEA Public Schools is honored to welcome this dynamic group of leaders who will lead their staff to success and impact the lives of our students for years to come.
Congratulations to our new IDEA principals!
Cecilia Paz Aguilar: IDEA Cortana College Prep |
Cecilia Paz Aguilar brings a wealth of experience to her role as the founding principal of
one of IDEA’s first campuses outside Texas. A native of Northern California,
Cecilia’s experience as an educator and a leader spans the United States. She
has taught classes from grades 6 through 11 at successful public charter schools
including Aspire. She has led new TFA Corps Members to impressive results as
both a Manager, Teacher Leadership Development in Los Angeles and a
Summer Institute School Director in Phoenix, and a graduate of the prestigious
Ryan Fellowship at Northwestern University, which led to her involvement in the
push for educational equity in Baton Rouge.
the past year and a half, Cecilia has worked alongside the students, staff, and
community of IDEA College Prep North Mission as a Principal-in-Residence and key
member of the successful launch of that campus. While her resume clearly speaks
for itself, we are so enthused to have such an accomplished and deeply committed
educational leader ready to lead the charge at IDEA Cortana College Prep in
Baton Rouge starting this upcoming fall.
Brown: IDEA Innovation College Prep |
longtime educator with deep ties throughout the South, Deion Brown has been a
successful leader at KIPP and IDEA schools in Memphis and San Antonio,
respectively. Deion joined IDEA as a Principal-in-Residence in 2014, and after
developing as a PIR at IDEA Edinburg, he launched IDEA Eastside College Prep in
San Antonio. Deion has been on the ground in Louisiana since this summer,
working hard alongside the regional team to ensure a successful launch for the
incoming students and families of IDEA Innovation College Prep. We couldn’t be
more excited to have an experienced leader like Deion at the helm at
Aguilar: IDEA Rio Vista Academy |
“Yani” Aguilar has worked at IDEA since 2011, and has been a constant exemplar
of our Core Values. Prior to becoming a Principal-in-Residence for the El Paso
region in the last year, Yani taught for several years at IDEA Edinburg. She
then managed the GEAR UP program for the entire district, before transitioning
to the role of Manager of College Success.
deep experience with IDEA, as well as her well-known commitment to ensuring ALL
students go to college, are just a few of the reasons why we cannot wait to see
her positively impact the El Paso community as the founding principal of IDEA
Rio Vista Academy.
Hernandez: IDEA Rio Vista College Prep |
Adrian Hernandez will be Yani’s college-prep counterpart as the founding
principal at IDEA Rio Vista College Prep this upcoming fall. Adrian began his
work with IDEA as a TFA Corps Member teaching at IDEA Frontier in 2010, and from
day one, his high expectations of himself, his colleagues, and his students were
several years as a Teacher-Leader at Frontier interspersed with summers as a
Corps Member Advisor at TFA Houston Summer Institute, Adrian held the roles of
Manager of Alumni Affairs and Director of Alumni Affairs, playing a significant
role in improving IDEA’s commitment of supporting our graduates to and through
then traveled to the West Coast to earn his M. Ed from Stanford, but we were
lucky enough to welcome him back after graduation as a Principal-in-Residence.As
a native of El Paso, and longtime IDEA leader, it’s hard to imagine a profile
better suited to lead one of our first College Prep campuses in El Paso than
Adrian. We are excited to see him return to his community.
Cobian: IDEA Edgemere Academy |
another El Paso native, Rebecca “Becky” Cobian will bring her more than 20 years
as a successful teacher, curriculum expert, and school leader back to El Paso
this upcoming fall as the founding principal of IDEA Edgemere Academy. Prior to
joining IDEA as a Principal-in-Residence this past summer, Becky’s most recent
role was principal of Rusk Elementary School in the El Paso Independent School
District, a role she excelled in since 2012. Mrs.
Cobian is incredibly well-regarded throughout El Paso as one of the most
successful elementary school leaders in the city (as well as the state)! Her
willingness to relocate to IDEA Frontier as a PIR this year, even given her
substantial experience and record of results, is further proof that she has that
type of “growth” mentality that we see in our most successful leaders and
Wong: IDEA Edgemere College Prep |
Mrs. Cobian at IDEA Edgemere will be Rodrigo Wong, founding principal of the
College Prep campus in El Paso. With almost a decade of experience working at
IDEA, Rodrigo’s reputation as an expert teacher and coach is well-earned.
Throughout his time as an educator, instructional coach, API, and PIR, much of
it at IDEA Alamo, Mr. Wong consistently delivered the kind of dedication and
high-quality results that all students deserve. Having
spent this year in preparation as a PIR at IDEA Edinburg, the IDEA Team &
Family could not be more excited to see Rodrigo take the next step in the El
Mata: IDEA Academy Elsa |
veteran educator of the Rio Grande Valley, Saron Mata began teaching in 2006
at Monte Alto Elementary and transitioned to IDEA in 2012. After several very
successful years teaching and leading 3rd grade reading, Saron became an API,
and has been in the PIR program since 2016. Saron
possesses a deep understanding of the needs of students in the RGV, as well as
the record of results proving that she can meet and exceed those needs. We look
forward to seeing Saron continue her successful career in education as the
founding principal of one of our newest campuses in the Valley, IDEA Elsa
Garza: IDEA College Prep Elsa |
“Tony” Garza was born and raised in Ed Couch Elsa, and prior to joining IDEA,
spent more than 20 years working in the city’s ISD as a successful and respected
teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Next year, he will open IDEA Elsa
commitment to ensuring better educational outcomes for students from his
community has been evident throughout his career, all of which was only further
confirmed when he made the decision to join IDEA in 2015 as a
Principal-in-Residence after serving as the Principal of David Ybarra Middle
School for more than a decade.
a deeply experienced, accomplished educator in his own right, Tony’s humble
nature, openness to feedback, and desire to improve have served him well and
impressed our Team & Family since he joined the PIR Program.
possible, it’s always the most exciting and ideal situation when IDEA can launch
new schools with leaders who hail from those same communities; Antonio Garza is
a perfect example of this.
IDEA Upper Valley
Vasquez De La Fuente: IDEA Owassa Academy |
Vasquez De La Fuente, founding principal of our newest Upper Valley campus, IDEA
Owassa Academy, joined our Team & Family as an API in 2012 after many years
as a successful bilingual teacher-leader in the PSJA school district.
an instructional leader at IDEA, Cyndi has consistently led her academy-level
teachers and students to impressive gains. This summer, she joined the PIR
program, ready to take the next step to positively impact the outcomes for even
more students and families in the RGV, where she was born and raised. Cyndi’s
patience, perseverance, and self-awareness have all been key levers in her
development of becoming a founding principal, and will only continue to serve
her and her new campus well.
Luera: IDEA Owassa College Prep |
Luera has more than a decade of experience working at IDEA as an incredibly
successful teacher and leader.
leading her own students, or later on, her teachers, to some of the highest ACT
and English AP results in the district year over year, Stevie has demonstrated
the ability to continuously achieve an impressive record of results. Her high
bar, and her ability to teach both students and teachers how to get there, is
deeply experienced leader, having been a PIR since 2015, there’s no doubt that
Ms. Luera will lead a successful launch this fall at Owassa.
Bethencourt: IDEA Ingram Hills Academy |
native of El Paso with more than a decade of experience in education, Nancy
Bethencourt will open our newest San Antonio campus, IDEA Ingram Hills Academy,
this upcoming fall.
in Colorado, Nancy was an exemplar elementary school teacher in inner-city
Denver for many years before assisting in turnaround efforts with the public
school district in Aurora as an assistant principal. Compelled
by the opportunity to further develop her instructional leadership skills in a
new context, Nancy joined the PIR program in 2016 and for the past
year-and-a-half has been working hard in our San Antonio region to combine her
significant takeaways from Colorado with IDEA’s model and focus. Please give a
warm welcome to Nancy as one of our newest IDEA principals!
Rothschild: IDEA Ingram Hills College Prep |
Jeffrey Rothschild, graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will be
the founding principal of IDEA Ingram Hills College Prep in the fall of 2018.
first led classrooms in Louisiana as a 2010 Teach For America corps member. He
excelled as an elementary school teacher and later on as he led various
initiatives for his campus and district, including being a key member of
significant improvements to the Response To Intervention program.
eager to further develop his skills and to continue positively impacting
students and communities, Jeffrey is also a graduate of the nationally renowned
Columbia University Summer Principals Academy, which he attended in New Orleans
2012-2016, Jeffrey worked as an assistant principal, summer school director,
and teacher with public charter programs in New Orleans, prior to joining IDEA’s
Principal-in-Residence program this past summer. Jeffrey has excelled in his
role as PIR at IDEA South Flores Academy, and is excited for the opportunity to
work with the communities of San Antonio, a city he has quickly come to love and
enjoy since his arrival.
Polanco: IDEA Academy Kyle |
her career as a co-teacher in 2012, and later as an elementary math teacher and
grade-team leader at IDEA Academy San Benito, Ms. Ester Polanco has
always pushed the thinking of her colleagues, students, and families.
played a key role as Assistant Principal of Instruction from 2014-2016 at IDEA
Academy San Benito, earning “Lead Team Member of the Year” in her
last year there.
to apply her skills in a new context, Ester became a PIR this past summer for
the Austin region, and currently works at Bluff Springs Academy. Ester is a proven leader and we
could not be more excited to announce her as the founding principal of the
Austin region’s newest campus, IDEA Kyle Academy!
Chipres: IDEA College Prep Kyle |
hailing from Mexico, Jorge Chipres first earned significant accolades as an
elementary level bilingual teacher in the Houston-area Alief ISD. After
demonstrating the same laser-like focus on student achievement as a fifth-grade
teacher at IDEA Weslaco Academy in 2014, Jorge then joined the IDEA McAllen
Academy lead team as Assistant Principal of Instruction for grades 3-5.
a strong stint learning and contributing to IDEA McAllen’s consistently high
performance, Jorge became a PIR this past summer, learning the ropes of school
leadership at the growing campus of IDEA North Mission Academy. We’re
so grateful to have a leader with such maturity and diverse experience as Jorge
founding the College Prep side of IDEA Kyle.
Doughtery: IDEA Academy & College Prep Pflugerville |
Doughtery will open IDEA Pflugerville College Prep this upcoming fall, having
taught and led at some of the strongest public charters in both New York and
graduate of Columbia University, Mera joined the TFA New York Corps in 2010 as
an elementary teacher in Brooklyn, and later was the founding kindergarten
teacher of a new campus with Harlem Village Academies, one of the more
innovative charters in the country.
relocating to Austin, Ms. Doughtery was yet again a founding teacher at KIPP
Austin Leadership Elementary, later on leading her grade level and teachers to
significant gains. In
2015, Mera joined IDEA Rundberg Academy as an API. In the past year-and-a-half,
Mera joined the PIR program and also gained experience at Rundberg College Prep,
and has proven she is now ready to lead her own school. Her wealth of
experience, especially playing a role at founding campuses, will shine at IDEA
Hawk: IDEA Health Professions Academy |
Jarod Hawk is a native of Ohio who earned a wealth of educational experience in
his home state, as well as South Carolina, prior to joining IDEA for the 2016
school year. We are excited to announce Jarod Hawk as the founding principal of
IDEA Health Professions Academy in Austin, especially since the campus will not
officially launch until the 2019 school year.
has either directly taught, or led teachers, at almost every level of elementary
and middle school. From 2013-2015, he served as a teacher, principal intern, and
summer school principal in Magnolia Ohio, before moving to South Carolina where
he continued to teach and develop his administrative and leadership skills.
spent the past year-and-a-half as an API, and then PIR, at IDEA Rundberg
Academy. IDEA’s Team & Family looks forward to his continued development and
push for excellence in Austin as he prepares for the 2019 launch.
Cook: IDEA Health Professions College Prep |
Cameron Cook taught at the secondary level in a diverse number of settings
including his home state of Colorado, in the country of Bolivia as an AP Biology
teacher, and Austin, his home since 2014.
Jarod Hawk, Cameron will spend the next year-and-a-half preparing to lead IDEA
Health Professions College Prep.
to joining IDEA Austin as a PIR in 2016, Cameron was one of the highest
performing teacher-leaders at Eastside Memorial High School, consistently
outperforming state and local high schools while also managing the campus mentor
program and directly coaching 8 first-year teachers. Cameron
has seen first-hand, and helped confront, the educational inequities in Austin,
and we are excited to be able to announce his principalship so early on.