Pillars of Character

Pillars at the presentation

In Northside ISD, learning and success go far beyond test scores and accountability ratings. Northside's curriculum is based on six "Pillars of Character," developed by the Josephson Institute. The pillars are: Caring, Citizenship, Fairness, Responsibility, Respect, and Trustworthiness. 

Teachers weave lessons about the pillars into classroom activities, and every year, the Northside Education Foundation selects six NISD graduates to represent each Pillar of Character. The six alumni serve as the centerpiece at the Foundation's annual fundraising gala and each must make a commitment to visit schools and speak with students. 

A poster of the current year's pillars hangs in all 6,000 classrooms in Northside to remind students that everyone has the potential to be a Pillar of Character. 

Pillars can be nominated by anyone in the community by completing the pillars nomination form. All nominees must be a Northside graduate. For more information, call the NISD Partnerships office at (210) 397-8599.

Pillar of Citizenship

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Judge Rosie Alvarado

 

When you speak to District Judge Rosie Alvarado, you learn quickly there are three things she is most
passionate about – her two daughters, the law, and the PEARLS Court.

Through the law, she gives back to her community, something she learned from her mother, a community
activist, and her father, a Texas legislator and activist.

The PEARLS Court is a community project with a mission to invest in girls placed in foster care between
the ages of 14 to 18. By providing therapeutic care, case management, life skills training, and mentoring,
the program helps participants value their whole selves and their inherent strengths so they may lead
healthy, educated and successful lives.

Alvarado began her academic career at Northside ISD’s Neff Middle School, and later attended Marshall
High School. She holds a law degree from St. Mary’s University Law School and received her Bachelor of
Arts degree in biology and chemistry from St. Mary’s University.

Currently, she presides over the 438th District Civil Court.

Pillar of Trustworthiness

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Mark Tezel

 

Mark Tezel’s love of the land and all its beauty and bounty is part of his DNA. After all, his family lives on a farm purchased by his ancestors in the late 1800s. Family trips to Colorado and volunteering at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park further strengthened his belief that national parks preserve what is best in our country.

As an asset management training coordinator for the National Park Service, Tezel has visited 196 of the 419 national parks across the country. He says he took the opportunity to mold his experiences at Colonies North Elementary School, Hobby Middle School, and Marshall High School into what he wanted as a career. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology from Texas Lutheran University.

Tezel says the discipline and teamwork he learned as a Marshall High School band member are skills he uses today in his job. Of course, his love of all national parks is shared by his wife, Dr. Alicia Tezel, and passed on to their children, Jacob, Kaitlin, Samuel, and Noah. His children all graduated from Northside ISD schools as well.

Pillar of Respect

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Capt. Jordan Eddington

 

In his junior year at Taft High School, gifted two-sport athlete Jordan Eddington tore two ligaments in his left knee, jeopardizing his desire to play college football. But Jordan did not give up. He worked with his team trainer, Coach Tim Kloewer, every day before school starting at 7 a.m.

Five months after surgery, Eddington played his first varsity football game.

He credits his drive and determination to succeed from the encouragement and love he received from his family and from teachers he encountered in the hallways of Fernandez Elementary School, Zachry Middle School, and Taft High School.

As gifted an athlete as he was, his academic achievements exceeded his prowess on the athletic field. Throughout his educational career at Northside ISD, Eddington was enrolled in the district’s gifted and talented program and was inducted into the Taft National Honor Society. Both his academic and athletic abilities helped him get into the United States Naval Academy, where he flourished on and off the football field.

Today, he is the Commanding Officer, Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in the U.S. Marine Corps. Eddington says his years at Northside taught him to work hard, to remain diligent, and to be part of a team. They are lessons he imparts to the Marines under his command.

While he has lived in various states and countries throughout his service, San Antonio and Northside ISD are still home, where he says the lessons he learned helped shape who he is today. He and his wife, Candice have been married for three years.

Pillar of Fairness

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Daniel Flores

 

For Daniel Flores, ensuring equity for others started in seventh grade.

When a student who did not speak English struggled to learn their musical instrument, Flores volunteered to teach the student himself. As the son of Peruvian immigrants and an immigrant himself, Flores understood firsthand the challenges language barriers can pose. He ensured the student received the same instruction as his peers, and within a year they were accepted into the top band.

During his NISD career, Flores attended Fernandez Elementary School, Zachry Middle School, and Warren High School. At Warren, he served as vice president of the National Honor Society, president of the Spanish National Honor Society, Varsity Swimming/Water Polo Captain, and Section Leader in the band.

Through a QuestBridge scholarship, he attended Northwestern University on an academic full-ride, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Science from the university’s Kellogg School of Management. During college, his work and advocacy supporting low income/first-generation college students led to the creation of a university department that currently serves thousands annually.

His continued commitment to equity can be seen in his work now as a Growth Projects Associate with The Chicago Public Education Fund. In his role, Flores supports the development of a principal pipeline and executes projects that ensure strong recruitment, development, and placement of aspiring school leaders to support the 365,000+ students of Chicago Public Schools. While Chicago is his home now, San Antonio and Northside is where his heart remains. Since 2010, Flores has helped Warren High School students apply to the same scholarship he received, as well as acclimating them to university life. Recently he developed a College Admissions Test Preparation Scholarship with the hopes more Warren students can benefit from the same opportunities he had in school.

Pillar of Responsibility

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J.D. Story

 

J.D. Story is a self-described nerd. He’s always loved science but also liked solving problems.
 
As CEO of Luminus Biosciences, he and a team of scientists are working to create better and safer drugs to treat cancer. Story’s love of science was stoked at Colonies North Elementary School and Hobby Middle School. The 1984 graduate of Clark High School served as class president and was an athlete and scholar.
 
He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at Austin and Master of Business Administration from the university’s Red McCombs School of Business.
 
Having worked in a variety of industries across the country, Story is happy to come full circle and use his biology degree and business acumen to help people at their most vulnerable moment. He’s also happy to be in San Antonio, a city he loves and calls home.
 
He is the proud father of Anna, Katie, Sarah, and James. He and his wife Amy have been married almost 25 years.

Pillar of Caring

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Imelda Lopez Sanchez

 

Imelda Lopez Sanchez has lived a life of caring for others, both literally and figuratively.

Lopez Sanchez is the only daughter of a local restaurateur and has been working beside her father since she was knee high where she learned one of the keys to running a successful business is by treating customers as family. She says, “It’s a privilege for my family’s restaurant and our employees to be part of so many of our customers’ celebrations.”

As the Vice President of Operations for Henry’s Puffy Tacos, she utilizes her business to care for the community through various charity organizations and events. In fact, the restaurant’s mascot serves as a positive role model for San Antonio area youth making appearances at schools and community events throughout Bexar County. The sense of caring and giving back was ingrained in her by her parents and was encouraged throughout her academic career within NISD at Esparza Elementary School, Ross Middle School, and Holmes High School.

Although she received one-of-kind on-the-job training, she realized the importance of education and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Mary’s University and a Master of Business Administration in business management from Our Lady of the Lake University.

As for her future, she would like to author both children’s books and adult cookbooks. She and her husband have been married for 18 years and have one child.

Past Pillars

Title Pillar of... School Year
Judge Rosie Alvarado Citizenship Marshall High School 2019
Mark Tezel Trustworthiness Marshall High School 2019
Capt. Jordan Eddington Respect Taft High School 2019
Daniel Flores Fairness Warren High School 2019
J.D. Story Responsibility Clark High School 2019
Imelda Lopez Sanchez Caring Holmes High School 2019
Cynthia J. Mendoza, Ph.D. Trustworthiness Holmes High School 2018
Dr. Mark Moran Responsibility Clark High School 2018
Cathryn Walker  Respect Warren High School 2018
Suzanne Schorlemer Bailey Fairness Clark High School 2018
Anthony Beverley  Citizenship Jay High School 2018
Monica C. Mendez, PT, DPT Caring Marshall High School 2018
Michelle Fiedler Mikesh Responsibility Taft High School 2017
Lt. Col. Colette Topfer Trustworthiness Taft High School 2017
Kristina Riffle Semukete  Caring Marshall High School 2017
Michael Dominguez  Citizenship Jay High School 2017
Frank Hakspiel Fairness Clark High School 2017
Mark Langford Respect Marshall High School 2017
Dr. Todd Gureckis Fairness Health Careers High School 2016
Kara Wilson Caring Marshall High School 2016
Dr. Simran Jeet Singh Respect O’Connor High School 2016
Laura Silva Nieto Citizenship Holmes High School 2016
James “Drake” McLean Responsibility Marshall High School 2016
Lori Castro Trustworthiness Taft High School 2016
SFC Chris Branagan Fairness Jay High School 2015
Dr. Jorge Alvarez Trustworthiness Clark High School 2015
Dr. Mandie Alice Tibball Svatek Respect Marshall High School 2015
Gina Jones Responsibility Jay High School 2015
J. Patrick Burk Caring Clark High School 2015
William F. Raba Citizenship Marshall High School 2015
Dr. Edward Carl Elder Caring Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2014
Kevin Wolff Citizenship Thomas C. Clark High School 2014
Dr. Meredith Rockeymoore Brooks Responsibility Health Careers High School 2014
Aaron Barker Fairness John Marshall High School 2014
James “Rad” Weaver Respect Jay and Clark High Schools 2014
Laura Elvia Hernández Trustworthiness John Jay High School 2014
Trey Martinez Fischer Citizenship Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2013
Keyhla Calderon  Respect John Jay High School 2013
Dr. Mike Flores Responsibility Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2013
Coach Danny Padron Fairness John Jay High School 2013
Dr. Melissa Blough Trustworthiness Thomas C. Clark High School 2013
Scott Kafora Caring Marshall High School 2013
Uma Pemmaraju Responsibility Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2012
Wade Cleary Trustworthiness Thomas C. Clark High School 2012
Eric G. Burns Caring Thomas C. Clark High School 2012
Monica Velasquez McIlwain Respect Thomas C. Clark High School 2012
Giancarlo “John” Ortega Fairness William H. Taft High School 2012
Dr. Martha Pritchett Mims Citizenship Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2012
Charles E. Cantu Responsibility John Marshall High School 2011
William Hurd Trustworthiness John Marshall High School 2011
Woodrow Halstead III Caring John Marshall High School 2011
Paul Barton Citizenship Health Careers High School 2011
David Henderson Fairness William H. Taft High School 2011
Celina and Marina Suarez Respect John Marshall High School 2011
Heidi Bush Respect Mackey School 2010
Linda Goldfarb Responsibility John Jay High School 2010
Marcedes M. Fuller Caring Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2010
Darold Williamson Trustworthiness Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2010
Captain Janae C. Florance Fairness John Jay High School 2010
Diana Cruz-Zapata Citizenship Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2010
Dr. Laurie Richardson Caring John Marshall High School 2009
Lt. Col. Scott Thomas Citizenship John Jay High School 2009
Crystal Brown-Tatum Fairness Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2009
Col. Lisa C. Firmin Respect Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2009
Dr. Kristin Held Responsibility John Marshall High School 2009
Chuck Cureau Trustworthiness John Marshall High School 2009
Dr. Fred Bryant Respect John Marshall High School 2008
Maj. Steven Gventer Trustworthiness Thomas C. Clark High School 2008
Charles "Chuck" Booker Caring John Jay High School 2008
Dr. Geoffrey Orsak Citizenship Thomas C. Clark High School 2008
Donna Eckert-Fields Fairness Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2008
Tony Pelletier Responsibility John Jay High School 2008
Dr. Gurpaul Singh Respect John Marshall High School 2007
John Igo Fairness Locke Hill* 2007
Andy Ramirez Caring Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2007
Dr. Douglas Meffert Responsibility John Marshall High School 2007
Dr. Lisa Meffert Responsibility John Marshall High School 2007
Brig. Gen. Michael Wilson Trustworthiness John Jay High School 2007
Greg Meffert Responsibility John Marshall High School 2007
Katy George   Sandra Day O'Connor High School 2007
Sarah Meffert Becher Responsibility John Marshall High School 2007
Col. (Ret) Jeff Meffert, M.D. Responsibility John Marshall High School 2007
Patrick Cornelius Trustworthiness John Marshall High School 2006
Michelle Ybarra Responsibility Thomas C. Clark High School 2006
Haroon Monis Citizenship Thomas C. Clark High School 2006
Col. Renita Foster Menyhert Respect John Jay High School 2006
Karen Grace Fairness William H. Taft High School 2006
Cliff Dugosh Caring Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2006
Kathy Bosse Gore Citizenship Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2005
Will Telford Trustworthiness Thomas C. Clark High School 2005
Dr. Scott R. Harper Responsibility John Marshall High School 2005
Dr. Shannon P. Marquez Caring John Jay High School 2005
Oscar Alvarado Fairness Thomas C. Clark High School 2005
Rev. Betty Meadows Respect Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2005
Robert Reyes Caring William H. Taft High School 2004
Eldridge Burns Jr. Responsibility Thomas C. Clark High School 2004
Jeffrey Hoberman Respect Thomas C. Clark High School 2004
Tamry Haby Johnson Citizenship John Marshall High School 2004
Phillip C. McKee III Fairness Health Careers High School 2004
John Bordano Trustworthiness John Marshall High School 2004
Cris Bera   William H. Taft High School 2003
Rita Crockett   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2003
David Fisher   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2003
Elaine Mendoza-Gay   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2003
Tyrone Powers   John Jay High School 2003
Tamara Serwer   Thomas C. Clark High School 2003
Dr. Sara L. Gill   John Jay High School 2002
Rodolfo Gonzales   William H. Taft High School 2002
Priest Holmes   John Marshall High School 2002
Dean H. Krueger   John Marshall High School 2002
Mason Reddix   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2002
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore   John Jay High School 2002
Susan Evers   John Marshall High School 2001
Blake Warren Woolsey   Thomas C. Clark High School 2001
Xavier Benavides   William H. Taft High School 2001
Jay Fielden   Thomas C. Clark High School 2001
Garrett K. Peel   Health Careers High School 2001
Michael K. Hatchett   John Jay High School 2001
Glenn E. Gill   John Marshall High School 2000
Col. Catherine Bacon   John Jay High School 2000
Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil   John Jay High School 2000
Evan Young   Thomas C. Clark High School 2000
Lili Kristan   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2000
Scott Kercheville, MD   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 2000
Wallace B. Jefferson   John Jay High School 1999
Todd White   John Marshall High School 1999
John Cornyn   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 1999
Jennifer Guitierrez-Utberg   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 1999
Harriet Marmon Helmle   John Marshall High School 1999
Tom Yantis   Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 1999
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