Pillars of Character

Pillars of Character

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.

Ameen Al-Bahloly

Ameen Al-Bahloly, ‘06, Pillar of Caring

In so many ways, Ameen has dedicated his life to service. Ameen Al-Bahloly earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2005, and then went on to graduate from Northside’s Business Careers High School. His passion for service did not end there.

Ameen is active in the Knights of Columbus as grand knight and has been recognized as Knight of the Year. The Archdiocese of San Antonio also recognized him as Knight of the Year. He also serves as eucharist minister, lector, and vice president of the Performing Arts and Music Ministry at Saint Brigid Catholic Church.

Ameen endeavors to be a strong advocate and to speak up for those who don’t have a voice. He works extensively with people in the Autism community, as well as with others with disabilities. He has served on the Autism Society of Texas Advocacy Committee and as a moderator for the San Antonio Adults with Autism Support Group.

He has associate degrees in Personal Computer Support and Information Technology Security from Palo Alto College. 

Bonnie Hubert

Bonnie Hubert, ‘93, Pillar of Trustworthiness

At Marshall High School, Bonnie Hubert set herself apart. She set herself apart on the track, where she ran relays and hurdles. She also excelled on the stage as a member of the All-State Choir, and in the agriculture barn with Future Farmers of America. She has kept her passion for the outdoors through being an avid equestrian.

Dr. Hubert earned a bachelor's in Education, a master's in Educational Leadership and Counseling, and doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Houston.

She has worked in the classroom as a teacher and as an elementary school guidance counselor and crisis intervention specialist.

She is currently the CEO of Dr. Bonnie Hubert Coaching and hosts the High Drive Moms Facebook group, while she continues to volunteer her counseling services for organizations in and around the Houston area. In 2022, Dr. Hubert published her first book, “Every Woman Needs a Maid,” and is highly sought after as a speaker at professional conferences, workshops, and courses.

She has been married to her husband for over 25 years, and has four children.

Gregory Daniel

Gregory Daniel, ‘07, Pillar of Fairness

If you heard the smooth sounds of jazz filling the halls of Holmes High School, Gregory Daniel was sure to be close by. The Holmes Drumline Captain spent four years as a varsity concert band member and reached the top chair for the NISD Jazz Band.

Gregory earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Business and holds a Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Gregory continued his music career as a professional drummer, working as the principal drummer for musician Brian McKnight and recording with artists like Boyz II Men.

When not performing, Gregory works as lead attorney and owner of Lion’s Den Legal Group. Gregory understands that part of what makes him, is his ability to be a chameleon of sorts. He is able to understand and see things from different angles, while being effective in everything that he does.

Gregory also gives back to the music and legal community, working as an associate professor and instructor at Berklee College of Music and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. 

Jacob Cavazos

Jacob Cavazos, ‘02, Pillar of Respect

During his time at Taft High School, Jacob Cavazos spent time on the court, with a two-year stint in junior varsity basketball; and on the stage, playing the upright bass and the electric guitar.

Before he graduated, Jacob was awarded the prestigious National Hispanic Merit Scholarship, which he used to help launch his college career at UTSA’s Honors College.

Jacob is the senior vice president and community reinvestment manager at Broadway Bank. He understands the importance of community and supporting important causes.

In 2021, he served as a panelist for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, assisting non-profit fundraisers with how to effectively engage funders during the pandemic. In 2022, he was recognized by the San Antonio Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” honoree.

Jacob has further supported the community as the board president of the UTSA Alumni Association and board secretary of Communities in School San Antonio.

He helped create and launch the UTSA Birds Up Podcast and currently serves as producer and co-host focusing on stories of alumni making a positive impact in the community.

James Roday Rodriguez

James Roday Rodriguez, ‘94, Pillar of Responsibility

James Rodriguez spent a large part of his years at Taft High School making a difference in the theater department. He appeared in all theater productions and worked side by side with Communications Arts High School Founder James Buchanan. Together, they helped create a legacy of writing, acting, and producing UIL-winning dramatic performances.

He went on to graduate from NYU’s School of Theater and began a successful, award winning Hollywood career. James has over 50 acting, writing, and directing credits. James is perhaps best known for his eight-year run as Shawn Spencer on the USA Network’s hit show “Psych” and his starring role on ABC’s “A Million Little Things.”

James found success in writing pilots for USA, Fox, and the SyFy networks, as well as in directing for shows like “The Resident,” “Battle Creek,” and “Rosewood.”

James seizes opportunities as they come and understands the need to be true to who he is. He has worked hard to amplify the messages of the causes he is passionate about and promotes having conversations about injustice and identity.

Leslie Ortiz

Leslie Ortiz, ‘10, Pillar of Learning

During her time at Stevens High School, Leslie Ortiz was one of those kids who loved going to school. She excelled in academics as well as dance, and was even chosen as the dance team captain.

She dedicated herself to learning everything she could while always making time to help her peers so none of them were left behind.

She returned to the school district she loves and now works as a dance teacher for Zachry Middle School, where she brings a passion and love for dance to the classroom every day. Even in the face of challenges, Leslie never gives up on teaching. Leslie was recognized as the 2020 Educator of the Year at Zachry Middle School.

Her interests go beyond dance. Leslie was one of the first teachers to start an e-sports club, and served on the NISD E-Sports Advisory Board. She was also a sponsor for the anime and K-Pop club. Leslie is a graduate of Texas Tech University.

M’Lissa Chumbley

M’Lissa Chumbley, ‘76, Pillar of Citizenship

M’Lissa understands the need to serve and endeavor to be a fundamental part of our communities. She is a graduate of Marshall High School and pursued her love of agriculture at Texas A&M University. From there, she went on to a successful 41-year career with USAA.

Life took a new turn in 1995 when she was elected to the NISD school board. During her 28-years on the Board, she served five terms as board president and also served as vice president, secretary, and parliamentarian.

During her tenure as a Trustee, the District opened 61 campuses and was involved with eight bond campaigns totaling over 5 billion dollars.

M’Lissa is the former president of the Northside Council of PTA’s and has served as the chairwoman for the Los Leones Student Arts Festival.

Her and her husband have four sons who follow in their mother’s footsteps of community service.

In recognition of her years of service to NISD’s youth, the Board recently named NISD’s 83rd elementary campus, set to open in August 2024, in her honor. 

Past Pillars

TitlePillar of...SchoolYear
Mario Torres, Ph.D.LearningJay High School2022
Vannessa-Renee GleyeTrustworthinessConstruction Careers Academy2022
Eduardo Sanchez, D-NPRespectHolmes High School2022
Marc StrodeResponsibilityClark High School2022
Paul “Jeff” KuwamuraFairnessHolmes High School2022
Maxine JunekCaringMarshall High School2022
Jaclyn RobersonCitizenshipTaft High School2022
Charbonneau BaileyLearningStevens High School2021
Dr. Ronya GreenCaringHealth Careers High School2021
Mike HodgesFairnessO'Connor High School2021
W. Caleb McDanielRespectClark High School2021
Officer Pete VegaCitizenshipJay High School2021
Craig RobinsonResponsibilityJay High School2021
Dr. Scott BlattmanTrustworthinessMarshall High School2021
Diana ElyLearningMarshall High School2020
Jasmin A. DeanTrustworthinessClark High School2020
Julia Barton MurphyCitizenshipClark High School2020
John PicacioFairnessHolmes High School2020
Dr. Alicia WootenRespectWarren High School2020
Dr. Erika GonzalezResponsibilityHealth Careers High School2020
Lorenzo Gomez, IIICaringHealth Careers High School2020
Judge Rosie AlvaradoCitizenshipMarshall High School2019
Mark TezelTrustworthinessMarshall High School2019
Capt. Jordan EddingtonRespectTaft High School2019
Daniel FloresFairnessWarren High School2019
J.D. StoryResponsibilityClark High School2019
Imelda Lopez SanchezCaringHolmes High School2019
Cynthia J. Mendoza, Ph.D.TrustworthinessHolmes High School2018
Dr. Mark MoranResponsibilityClark High School2018
Cathryn Walker RespectWarren High School2018
Suzanne Schorlemer BaileyFairnessClark High School2018
Anthony Beverley CitizenshipJay High School2018
Monica C. Mendez, PT, DPTCaringMarshall High School2018
Michelle Fiedler MikeshResponsibilityTaft High School2017
Lt. Col. Colette TopferTrustworthinessTaft High School2017
Kristina Riffle Semukete CaringMarshall High School2017
Michael Dominguez CitizenshipJay High School2017
Frank HakspielFairnessClark High School2017
Mark LangfordRespectMarshall High School2017
Dr. Todd GureckisFairnessHealth Careers High School2016
Kara WilsonCaringMarshall High School2016
Dr. Simran Jeet SinghRespectO’Connor High School2016
Laura Silva NietoCitizenshipHolmes High School2016
James “Drake” McLeanResponsibilityMarshall High School2016
Lori CastroTrustworthinessTaft High School2016
SFC Chris BranaganFairnessJay High School2015
Dr. Jorge AlvarezTrustworthinessClark High School2015
Dr. Mandie Alice Tibball SvatekRespectMarshall High School2015
Gina JonesResponsibilityJay High School2015
J. Patrick BurkCaringClark High School2015
William L. RabaCitizenshipMarshall High School2015
Dr. Edward Carl ElderCaringOliver Wendell Holmes High School2014
Kevin WolffCitizenshipThomas C. Clark High School2014
Dr. Meredith Rockeymoore BrooksResponsibilityHealth Careers High School2014
Aaron BarkerFairnessJohn Marshall High School2014
James “Rad” WeaverRespectJay and Clark High Schools2014
Laura Elvia HernándezTrustworthinessJohn Jay High School2014
Trey Martinez FischerCitizenshipOliver Wendell Holmes High School2013
Keyhla Calderon RespectJohn Jay High School2013
Dr. Mike FloresResponsibilityOliver Wendell Holmes High School2013
Coach Danny PadronFairnessJohn Jay High School2013
Dr. Melissa BloughTrustworthinessThomas C. Clark High School2013
Scott KaforaCaringMarshall High School2013
Uma PemmarajuResponsibilityOliver Wendell Holmes High School2012
Wade ClearyTrustworthinessThomas C. Clark High School2012
Eric G. BurnsCaringThomas C. Clark High School2012
Monica Velasquez McIlwainRespectThomas C. Clark High School2012
Giancarlo “John” OrtegaFairnessWilliam H. Taft High School2012
Dr. Martha Pritchett MimsCitizenshipOliver Wendell Holmes High School2012
Charles E. CantuResponsibilityJohn Marshall High School2011
William HurdTrustworthinessJohn Marshall High School2011
Woodrow Halstead IIICaringJohn Marshall High School2011
Paul BartonCitizenshipHealth Careers High School2011
David HendersonFairnessWilliam H. Taft High School2011
Celina and Marina SuarezRespectJohn Marshall High School2011
Heidi BushRespectMackey School2010
Linda GoldfarbResponsibilityJohn Jay High School2010
Marcedes M. FullerCaringOliver Wendell Holmes High School2010
Darold WilliamsonTrustworthinessOliver Wendell Holmes High School2010
Captain Janae C. FloranceFairnessJohn Jay High School2010
Diana Cruz-ZapataCitizenshipOliver Wendell Holmes High School2010
Dr. Laurie RichardsonCaringJohn Marshall High School2009
Lt. Col. Scott ThomasCitizenshipJohn Jay High School2009
Crystal Brown-TatumFairnessOliver Wendell Holmes High School2009
Col. Lisa C. FirminRespectOliver Wendell Holmes High School2009
Dr. Kristin HeldResponsibilityJohn Marshall High School2009
Chuck CureauTrustworthinessJohn Marshall High School2009
Dr. Fred BryantRespectJohn Marshall High School2008
Maj. Steven GventerTrustworthinessThomas C. Clark High School2008
Charles "Chuck" BookerCaringJohn Jay High School2008
Dr. Geoffrey OrsakCitizenshipThomas C. Clark High School2008
Donna Eckert-FieldsFairnessOliver Wendell Holmes High School2008
Tony PelletierResponsibilityJohn Jay High School2008
Dr. Gurpaul SinghRespectJohn Marshall High School2007
John IgoFairnessLocke Hill*2007
Andy RamirezCaringOliver Wendell Holmes High School2007
Dr. Douglas MeffertResponsibilityJohn Marshall High School2007
Dr. Lisa MeffertResponsibilityJohn Marshall High School2007
Brig. Gen. Michael WilsonTrustworthinessJohn Jay High School2007
Greg MeffertResponsibilityJohn Marshall High School2007
Katy George Sandra Day O'Connor High School2007
Sarah Meffert BecherResponsibilityJohn Marshall High School2007
Col. (Ret) Jeff Meffert, M.D.ResponsibilityJohn Marshall High School2007
Patrick CorneliusTrustworthinessJohn Marshall High School2006
Michelle YbarraResponsibilityThomas C. Clark High School2006
Haroon MonisCitizenshipThomas C. Clark High School2006
Col. Renita Foster MenyhertRespectJohn Jay High School2006
Karen GraceFairnessWilliam H. Taft High School2006
Cliff DugoshCaringOliver Wendell Holmes High School2006
Kathy Bosse GoreCitizenshipOliver Wendell Holmes High School2005
Will TelfordTrustworthinessThomas C. Clark High School2005
Dr. Scott R. HarperResponsibilityJohn Marshall High School2005
Dr. Shannon P. MarquezCaringJohn Jay High School2005
Oscar AlvaradoFairnessThomas C. Clark High School2005
Rev. Betty MeadowsRespectOliver Wendell Holmes High School2005
Robert ReyesCaringWilliam H. Taft High School2004
Eldridge Burns Jr.ResponsibilityThomas C. Clark High School2004
Jeffrey HobermanRespectThomas C. Clark High School2004
Tamry Haby JohnsonCitizenshipJohn Marshall High School2004
Phillip C. McKee IIIFairnessHealth Careers High School2004
John BordanoTrustworthinessJohn Marshall High School2004
Cris Bera William H. Taft High School2003
Rita Crockett Oliver Wendell Holmes High School2003
David Fisher Oliver Wendell Holmes High School2003
Elaine Mendoza-Gay Oliver Wendell Holmes High School2003
Tyrone Powers John Jay High School2003
Tamara Serwer Thomas C. Clark High School2003
Dr. Sara L. Gill John Jay High School2002
Rodolfo Gonzales William H. Taft High School2002
Priest Holmes John Marshall High School2002
Dean H. Krueger John Marshall High School2002
Mason Reddix Oliver Wendell Holmes High School2002
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore John Jay High School2002
Susan Evers John Marshall High School2001
Blake Warren Woolsey Thomas C. Clark High School2001
Xavier Benavides William H. Taft High School2001
Jay Fielden Thomas C. Clark High School2001
Garrett K. Peel Health Careers High School2001
Michael K. Hatchett John Jay High School2001
Glenn E. Gill John Marshall High School2000
Col. Catherine Bacon John Jay High School2000
Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil John Jay High School2000
Evan Young Thomas C. Clark High School2000
Lili Kristan Oliver Wendell Holmes High School2000
Scott Kercheville, MD Oliver Wendell Holmes High School2000
Wallace B. Jefferson John Jay High School1999
Todd White John Marshall High School1999
John Cornyn Oliver Wendell Holmes High School1999
Jennifer Guitierrez-Utberg Oliver Wendell Holmes High School1999
Harriet Marmon Helmle John Marshall High School1999
Tom Yantis Oliver Wendell Holmes High School1999
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