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.
Dr. Scott Blattman, '83, Pillar of Trustworthiness
While working as a technician in his orthopedic surgeon father's practice, Dr. Scott Blattman learned two very important lessons: First, he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up, and second, he did not want to be an orthopedic surgeon. In his third year of medical school, Dr. Blattman was unsure which discipline he wanted to focus on until he completed a rotation with a family medicine physician. That's when he found his career.
He says what he loves about family medicine is the relationships he builds with his patients. He works hard to earn their trust and to protect that trust. As for his academic success, he gives credit to his mother, longtime Northside ISD educator Patricia Blattman, who is also the namesake of Blattman ES. He said she taught him how to problem solve and think through problems. His advice to today's students: "See as much as you can." The multitude of experiences he had, even those not tied to his chosen career, moved him forward and toward his life's work.
Dr. Blattman is a family medicine physician with Ascension Group and shares a practice with his brother. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Texas A&M University. He earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He attended Oak Hills Terrace ES, Neff MS, and Marshall High School. He is married to Janet and the proud father of Brianna, Danielle, and Scott.
Craig Robinson, '77, Pillar of Responsibility
Craig Robinson does not take the word responsibility lightly. As a member of the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Services (SES) and the Associate Executive Director of the National Acquisition Center for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Craig is ultimately responsible for acquiring and moving billions of dollars of pharmaceuticals, high tech medical equipment, hearing aids and prosthetic devices across the nation to ensure the health and safe of our nation’s Veterans.
Responsibility, Craig says, is not only about managing duties assigned to you, but also about being someone others can depend on. As a civil servant for 36 years, Craig has ensured the timely arrival of airplane parts to repair fighter jets. He procured special fuels that supported both NASA in carrying out its missions, and supported Department of Defense (DoD) research projects. He also lead the redesign of commercial transportation contracts that provide a model for how DoD moves cargo all over the world.
Craig reminds us that with responsibility also comes the proper management of resources, the most important of which is people. He takes pride in fostering an environment that provides growth and development of team members carrying out these important missions.
Craig is a recipient of the Army Achievement Medal of Civilian Service and the Army Superior Civil Service Award. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science Degree from Central Michigan University. He attended Meadow Villages ES, Jones MS and Jay HS.
Officer Pete Vega, '96, Pillar of Citizenship
As a student at John Jay HS, Officer Pete Vega envisioned himself as a police officer or a coach. While becoming a classroom teacher was never at the forefront of his mind, as a student, he found himself drawn to the Career and Technology courses that took a hands-on approach to learning.
Officer Vega began his journey in Northside as an instructional assistant at Holmgreen. He then went on to attend the police academy and became an NISD police officer. During his time as a campus officer at Health Careers High School, he saw the positive impact he could make on students' lives.
His passion for teaching shined through, leading him to obtain his teacher certification. Officer Vega now teaches the intricacies of law enforcement to NISD students who would like to explore a career in this area of study.
Officer Vega's training as a police officer provided him with the experience to become the Lead Instructor for Stevens HS Law Enforcement class. The program's purpose is to build individual character, develop leadership skills, and grow future-ready members of our community. Aside from instructing students, he volunteers his time training the Stevens' championship-winning Explorer team.
Officer Vega is currently raising funds to build an obstacle course where students will gain more hands-on training that will prepare them for their future roles in the field. He has earned $27,000 in Northside Education Foundation grants and an additional $20,000 from other community organizations. One day, Officer Vega hopes the obstacle course will become a host site for community events and competitions. Officer Vega is married to Janice, an NISD elementary school teacher, and they have four children, all Northside ISD students. Officer Vega attended John Glenn ES, Rayburn MS, and Jay HS.
W. Caleb McDaniel, Ph.D., '97, Pillar of Respect
Pulitzer Prize winning author Caleb McDaniel, Ph.D. love for history, started with an assignment at Hobby MS about Davy Crocket. The middle school student was tasked with determining if the Texas icon died at the Alamo or shortly after. Through intensive research and sourcing, he had to develop his conclusions and tell a compelling story rooted in historical facts. The project piqued his interest in history, leading him on a path of professional and academic success.
He said his first teacher was his mother, Pam McDaniel, a recently retired Northside ISD teacher. But he credits his speech and debate coaches for teaching him to argue and think critically, which helped him with his career as a historian. He said Northside ISD opened up many opportunities and created a lifelong love of learning that influences him today.
Dr. McDaniel is a historian of slavery, abolitionism, and the United States. He is the Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Humanities and current Chair of the History Department at Rice University. In 2020, he won the Pulitzer Prize in History for his book Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Texas A&M University and earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He attended Locke Hill ES, Hobby MS, and Clark HS. He is married to Brandy and is the proud father of Ellery and Carter.
Mike Hodges, '05, Pillar of Fairness
There is no doubt that New Orleans Saints Linebacker Coach Mike Hodges has had many memorable moments on the playing field as a high school and college athlete. But looking back on his days at Northside ISD, it's the relationships he built on and off the field that are most treasured.
Even today, as a coach in the NFL, Mike doesn't focus solely on a player's athleticism. He works to build connections with them. He feels that by doing so, they can work together toward common goals. Caring for the athlete as a person first and as a player second are lessons he learned while playing various sports for O'Connor HS.
He learned a long time ago that fairness is not about equality but about approaching relationships with an honest and unbiased mindset.
Mike earned a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and a Master's in Marketing from Texas A&M University. He attended Helotes ES, Stinson MS, and O'Connor HS. He is married to Ashley and is the proud father of Sawyer and Lincoln.
Dr. Ronya Green, '99, Pillar of Caring
Destiny may have played a small part in bringing Dr. Ronya Green to the University of Texas Health Science Center for her medical school studies. She was, after all, born in the hospital across the street. But the hard work and determination that got her through medical school began with an elementary school "Someday Book." In the book, 9-year-old Ronya wrote that her goal was to be a doctor. She accomplished her goal, and she is paying it forward by training the next generation of family doctors.
The Health Careers HS graduate credits her years at the magnet school and the program's clinical experiences in preparing her for her post-graduate success. She says the best part of being a family medicine physician is to go through life's journey with her patients. She values the trust they place in her. What is her message to young girls especially, those of color? "You can do it. You can do the dream you have in your heart."
Dr. Green is the founding program director of TriStar Southern Hills Family Medicine Residency Program in Nashville, TN. She practices and provides clinical supervision of family practice residents. She is also a practicing family medicine doctor.
She holds a Bachelor of Science from Dillard University, a Master of Public Health degree from UT Southwestern Medical Center, and earned her MD from the UT Health Science Center. She attended Knowlton ES, Zachry MS, and Health Careers HS. She is married to Jesse and the proud mother of Grayson and Grace.
Charbonneau Bailey, '09, Pillar of Learning
The first thing you'll notice about Charbonneau Bailey is her innate joyfulness. While sifting through childhood photos, her smile is radiant. She says she has always been happy.
The second thing you'll notice is her passion for helping others. It is no wonder the Stevens HS and Reddix Center graduates' chosen career is to teach special needs students how to be more independent.
As a special needs student herself, Charbonneau volunteered at the Stevens HS special education department while attending the school. After graduation, she was invited to enter the Reddix Center's program designed for special needs young adults ages 18 to 22.
Through the three-phased program, young adults are taught the life skills necessary to build a more self-sufficient lifestyle. They start with the basics of handling money, paying bills, and financial planning. Then move on to navigating public transit or other modes of transportation like Uber. Some, like Charbonneau, even earn their driver's license. And, finally, they are offered meaningful volunteer and work opportunities in the community to increase their chances of gainful employment.
Today, Charbonneau is an instructional assistant and job coach at the Reddix Center, helping young adults reach their full potential and independence before graduation. She works with young adults in the program's final phase, where she is out in the community side-by-side at their worksites until it's determined that her presence is no longer required. She also role plays to teach life skills they will need daily--the same skills she learned. She said the best part about her career is watching the young adults' internal and external growth. Charbonneau said she wants the world to know the Reddix Center is where young adults can set and achieve their goals.
Charbonneau is the youngest child of Robert and Lena Bailey, and her siblings include Nakisha, Charles, Robert, and sister-in-law Monica. She also has three nieces, one nephew, and one nephew on the way. Charbonneau is engaged to Mark Guevara. She attended Adam Hills and Ed Cody elementary schools, Pease MS, and graduated from Stevens HS and the Reddix Center.
|Diana Ely||Learning||Marshall High School||2020|
|Jasmin A. Dean||Trustworthiness||Clark High School||2020|
|Julia Barton Murphy||Citizenship||Clark High School||2020|
|John Picacio||Fairness||Holmes High School||2020|
|Dr. Alicia Wooten||Respect||Warren High School||2020|
|Dr. Erika Gonzalez||Responsibility||Health Careers High School||2020|
|Lorenzo Gomez, III||Caring||Health Careers High School||2020|
|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|