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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
|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|