HOUSTON – June 7, 2016 – Spring ISD has announced a few personnel changes for the 2016-17 school year, including both district and campus level assignments.
Central Support Staff
Margaret “Peg” Sherwood will join the district as the Executive Director of Special Education. A long-time educator, Sherwood has worked in a variety of roles, including teacher, diagnostician, early childhood coordinator, special education coordinator, director of instructional support services and director of special services. Following retirement, she began a second career as a consultant, helping districts like Dickinson, Goose Creek, Alief and Spring better align their local policies, procedures and practices with state and federal guidelines.
For the last three months, she has served as our co-interim director of special education, helping to resolve parent concerns and legal issues while also addressing accountability and supporting the special education program’s revisioning process. Additionally, she helped prepare for the Texas Education Agency’s monitoring audit that was scheduled for earlier this year.
Pamela Farinas has been named Director of School Improvement, a role that will use her experience to help principals increase academic achievement and family and community engagement on their campuses. Since January 2015, Farinas has served as principal of Dekaney High School. Known for her ability to offer stability and focus to high-risk schools, Farinas will oversee campuses that have been identified as “turnaround” or “improvement required.”
She started her career with Houston ISD in 1994 as a math teacher at Burbank Middle School. She went on to become dean of instruction at Sharpstown High School before being named principal of Foerster Elementary School. After a brief stint as deputy head of schools at KIPP Schools, Farinas returned to HISD to serve as principal of the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center and principal of North Forest High School, following the district’s annexation of North Forest ISD.
HP Hyder III will serve as the Director of Academic Support Services. He most recently served as principal of Bammel Middle School. Hyder brings 13 years of administrative experience in education to his position. He has served in several capacities, including assistant principal of Heritage Elementary and Wells Middle School in Spring ISD. He also served as principal at Carroll Elementary School in Sheldon ISD.
In his new role, he will oversee a variety of departments and initiatives that support academic success for all students, including dropout prevention, the district’s alternative education program, Response to Intervention (RtI), 504 and Dyslexia Services, as well as the Student Code of Conduct, Student Success Initiative, and the Grade Placement Committee.
Denise Zimmermann has been named the Director of Guidance and Counseling. She joins Spring ISD with nearly 20 years of educational experience in positions as a classroom teacher and a counselor. In her new role, Zimmermann will be responsible for the coordination of all district counseling programs, with an eye toward aligning guidance and counseling activities from elementary through high school, including postsecondary planning.
She most recently served as prevention services coordinator in Clear Creek ISD, where she created training programs that enlisted the support of both school personnel and community members to help prevent drug abuse, dating violence, suicide, and other dangers to students. A highly sought-after speaker, she has presented on a number of timely topics including bullying and social media use. Zimmermann is also a certified trauma counselor.
The Texas native earned both her bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in humanities at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Berky Hernandez-Owolabi has accepted the role of principal at Bammel Elementary School. No stranger to the campus or Spring ISD, she has served in a variety of leadership capacities in the district since 2004, including director of elementary professional learning, and principal of Link Elementary, Eickenroht Elementary and Claughton Middle School. She joined Bammel Elementary as the lead administrator in October 2015.
In partnership with district and campus staff, Hernandez-Owolabi has been working all year to develop and implement a turnaround plan that meets Texas Education Agency requirements and addresses school programs and practices that need improvement. She and her team will implement culturally responsive systems that support leadership and teaching while using data to inform the decision-making process.
Shamethia Dillard will now lead Major Elementary as principal. The 13-year veteran educator comes to Spring ISD from John Durkee Elementary, where she has served as assistant principal since 2011. Prior to that role, she held a variety of positions, including kindergarten, second- and fourth-grade teacher, instructional coordinator and math specialist. Dillard also worked for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, training third-grade teachers across Dallas ISD.
She graduated with honors from the University of Houston – Downtown, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. She also received two master’s degrees from Jones International University, one in principal licensing and another in educational leadership and administration.