Superintendent's Cabinet

NISD Cabinet

* Denotes Senior Staff

Patty Denham Hill
Patty Denham Hill *
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources

With almost 15 years of teaching experience and 22 years administrative experience, Patricia (Patty) Hill leads the Human Resources division overseeing all policies and procedures within the HR function.

Hill began her career as a teacher at Holmes High School in February 1976 and has spent her entire teaching and administrative career with the District. She served as a math and business teacher & cheer and pep squad sponsor at Holmes High School; a math teacher at Ross Middle School; and a math and business teacher & cheer and pep squad sponsor at Marshall High School. She began her administrative experience as a summer school principal in 1984, served as assistant principal at Marshall HS from 1990-98 until she became vice principal at O’Connor High School when it opened in 1998. She was the first principal at Warren High School when that school opened in 2002.

Hill received her bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University, and her master’s degree from Trinity University.

Leroy San Miguel
Leroy San Miguel *
Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations

Leroy San Miguel has worked in school district facilities and operations since 1990, and worked for Corpus Christi ISD and San Antonio ISD before joining NISD in 2009 as Executive Director of Construction & Engineering. He was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Facilities & Operations in summer 2011 which oversees and directs Construction, Engineering, Real-estate, Maintenance, Custodial, Energy and Environmental functions.

While in Corpus, San Miguel's positions included Construction Manager and Director of Facilities and Operations. In San Antonio ISD, he served as the Executive Director of Maintenance & Operations and the Executive Director of Facilities Planning, Construction, and Operations.

Mr. San Miguel is actively engaged in various professional organizations and has held official positions within these organizations. He has a bachelor's degree in environmental design and a master's degree in architecture from Texas A&M University at College Station.

He was born and raised in Corpus Christi, and he and his wife have one daughter.

Henry Acosta
Henry Acosta
Executive Director of Construction and Engineering

Henry Acosta is the Executive Director of Construction and Engineering and is responsible for implementing the District’s bond construction and engineering projects.

Acosta joined NISD initially in 1988 when he served as a project manager in the Engineering department responsible for all civil/site improvement projects for the district with 25 to 30 projects running simultaneously ranging in cost from $2,500 to $2.3 million.

He then became the executive project manager for Construction and Operations for Edgewood ISD in 2007, and then executive director for Construction and Operations for Lackland ISD in 2010. He returned to NISD in 2011 as the director for Plant Maintenance and Operations.

Acosta holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Texas State University in San Marcos.

Barry Perez
Barry Perez *
Executive Director of Communications

As the Executive Director of Communications and spokesman for Northside ISD, Barry Perez is responsible for keeping the public informed of the news and events of Texas’ fourth largest school district.

Perez has spent the majority of his career in Northside ISD. After teaching for two years in the Edgewood Independent School District, he joined NISD as a reading teacher at Neff Middle School in 1993. He moved into campus administration in 1999 serving as assistant principal at both Jones and Jordan middle schools, vice principal at Rawlinson Middle School, principal at Pease Middle School, and most recently, principal at Folks Middle School.

Perez is a graduate of St. Edward’s University in Austin where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He earned his master’s degree in Educational Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.

Lori Jones
Lori Jones *
Assistant Superintendent for Technology Services

Lori Jones, who has more than 18 years of technology leadership experience, joined the NISD Technology Services Department in 2002 as the Assistant Director of Technology Support. She became Director of Integrated Infrastructure Services in 2004, and was selected to serve as Assistant Superintendent for Technology Services in February 2012.

As Assistant Superintendent for Technology Serves, Jones oversees and directs more than 150 employees in the Technology Training and Development, Information and Infrastructure Services and Academic, Library and Textbook Services departments.

Prior to coming to NISD, Jones served with the U.S. Air Force as a Cyberspace Officer from 1993-2002, and continues to serve part-time in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Originally from Arlington, Texas, Jones received her bachelor’s in Psychology from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1991, her master’s in Kinesiology from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1993, and her master’s in Information Technology Management from the Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs in 2007.

Kris Trejo
Kris Trejo
Executive Director of Technology Services

Kris Trejo, Executive Director of Technology Services, is responsible for assisting in the oversight and direction of all NISD technology operations and initiatives.

Trejo is a proud product of Northside ISD having graduated from Holmes High School. After beginning his career as an NISD student worker in 1997, he became a full-time NISD staff member in 1998 and has since spent his entire 21-year career in various support and leadership capacities for the District.  

Prior to joining Technology Services, he spent the first part of his career operating in roles in both the Textbook Services and Purchasing departments. In 2011, he was named Property Manager for the District where he served until 2015. Trejo then joined Technology Services as a Technology Project Manager in 2015 where he served in that role until he was named Director of Technology and Acquisitions and Project Management in 2017.

In 2019, he was appointed to serve as Executive Director of Technology Services. 

A 2008 graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word, Trejo holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and is a Registered Texas School Business Administrator (RTSBA).

Cassandra Miranda
Cassandra Miranda
Director of School-Business-Community Partnerships

Cassandra Miranda joined NISD in January 2013 after serving for more than five years at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston as the Supervisor for Communications and Internet Services.

Prior to NASA, she served as Senior Director for Cause Marketing Initiatives with the American Heart Association, Texas Affiliate; and the Communications and Community Relations Supervisor for UPS—Central Texas District.

As the Director of School-Business-Community Partnerships, Miranda works to establish partnerships with parents, businesses, and community members that will equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to make positive lifelong personal, social, academic, and career choices.

She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and her MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University.

Ray Galindo
Ray Galindo *
Deputy Superintendent for Administration

Ray Galindo, the Deputy Superintendent for Administration, started his teaching career in Austin ISD in 1991. He came to Northside one year later and taught at Valley Hi and Leon Valley elementary schools. He served as Vice Principal at Lackland City and Leon Springs elementary schools and then as Principal at Leon Valley and Hatchett elementary schools.

Galindo moved to central office in 2008, when he was appointed Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Administration. He was appointed Deputy Superintendent for Administration in 2012.

Galindo has a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He and his wife have a daughter and a son. A previous resident of Chicago, Galindo is a huge Cubs fan.

Levinia Lara
Levinia Lara
Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Administration

Levinia Lara began her educational career as a music teacher at St. Luke’s Catholic School in 1984 before joining NISD in 1986 as the music teacher at Linton Elementary School. She moved into campus administration in 1996 serving as vice principal at Linton Elementary and then vice principal at Passmore Elementary. She became principal at Elrod Elementary in 2001, and then moved to Westwood Terrace Elementary in 2005 to serve as principal at that school. She opened the brand-new Hoffmann Elementary School in 2009 as its first principal.

She moved to Central Office as Executive Director of Elementary Administration in 2012. She became Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Administration in February, 2015.

Lara received her bachelor’s degree in Music from Corpus Christi State University, and her master’s in Education from Our Lady of the Lake University.

Stephen Daniel
Stephen Daniel
Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Administration

Stephen Daniel, the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Administration, began his career in education with Northside in 1991 as a teacher and coach at Jones Middle School. He also has served as Assistant Principal at Stevenson Middle School and O'Connor High School, Vice Principal at Warren High School, and Principal at Marshall High School.

Daniel holds a bachelor's degree from Southwest Texas State University and a master's degree from Texas A&M University - Kingsville.

Sandra Bonnett
Sandra Bonnett
Executive Director of Elementary Administration

Sandra Bonnett is a product of Northside ISD having graduated from Taft High School. Bonnett became a NISD staff member in 1996 as a third grade teacher at Linton Elementary School. She served as the Success for All Reading Facilitator at that same school before becoming vice principal at Powell Elementary in 2002.

In 2004, she became the first vice principal at Ott Elementary School when the school opened. She became a principal in 2009 at May Elementary School.

In July of 2014, she served as Director of Elementary Administration, a new position at the Central Office. She now serves as Executive Director of Elementary Administration.

She has both a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and master’s degree in Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

A lifelong resident, Bonnett is married to her high school sweetheart and they have three children.

Jessica Palomares
Jessica Palomares
Executive Director of Elementary Administration

Jessica Palomares is a product of Northside ISD having graduated from Holmes High School. She began her career in NISD in 1996 as a special education teacher at the Northside Children’s Center. She also opened two new NISD elementary schools as a Behavior Mastery Teacher; Michael Elementary School in 1999 and Lewis Elementary School in 2001.

In 2005, Palomares became the Vice Principal at Evers Elementary School and then became the principal of the school in 2008. In 2011, she opened yet another new elementary school in the district but this time as the principal for Lieck Elementary School.

In February of 2015, she was named Director of Elementary Administration and now serves as Executive Director of Elementary Administration.

Palomares received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisplinary Studies (1996) and master’s degree in Education (2003) from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

She and her husband Sergio have two children, Tristan and Sophia, both attending schools in NISD.

Eric Tobias
Eric Tobias
Executive Director of Secondary Administration

Eric Tobias, the Executive Director of Secondary Administration, began his teaching career in Edgewood ISD at Gus Garcia Middle School in 1993 as a math teacher. He moved to NISD in 1995 as an algebra and geometry teacher at Health Careers High School in 1995, and after four years moved into campus administration.

In 1999 he became the Assistant Principal at Stevenson Middle School, and then moved to Hobby Middle School in 2000 as Vice Principal. He served as Principal at Rayburn Middle School starting in January, 2004 moving to Hector Garcia Middle School in 2009 when the school opened. 

Prior to his teaching career, this Washington state native served active duty in the U.S. Army for three years and served in the National Guard for 3 ½ years. 

Tobias received his bachelor’s degree in 1993 from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and his master’s degree in Educational Administration from Trinity University in 1999. 

He and his wife Brenda have a daughter and a son. 

Stan Laing
Stan Laing
Executive Director of Athletics

Stan Laing began his educational career as a teacher and coach in West Texas in 1985, and joined Northside ISD in 1994 at Jay High School. He moved from Jay to help open O’Connor High School in 1998 as a teacher and coach, becoming an assistant principal at that school in 2002. He moved to Clark High School in 2004 as a vice principal, and moving to principal in 2006.

In 2010, he was named Executive Director of Athletics.

Laing received his bachelor’s degree in 1985 from McMurry University in Abilene, Tex. and his master’s degree in 1998 from Texas A&M in Kingsville.

Dr. Janis Jordan
Dr. Janis Jordan *
Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. Janis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction,is responsible for making sure that NISD’s educational curriculum meets the state-mandated requirements at both the elementary and secondary levels.

A 25-year veteran educator, Jordan joined NISD in fall of 2016.

Prior to joining Northside, Jordan served as an assistant principal at Swansea High School, Swansea, S.C.; curriculum development coordinator, Victoria ISD; executive director of Curriculum, Corpus Christi ISD; assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Corpus Christi ISD; and most recently she was the assistant superintendent for Curriculum Services at Lake Travis ISD.

Jordan also serves as the Transformation Liaison of the Texas Association of Supervisors of Curriculum Development (Texas ASCD), working to influence issues affecting educators at the local and state levels while serving as a state delegate regarding national educational issues.

Jordan received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina, and a doctorate degree from the University of Houston.

She has been married to her college sweetheart, Doug, for 25 years and they have two children, David, age 13 and Anna, age 11.  

Don Schmidt
Don Schmidt
Assistant Superintendent for Student, Family and Community Services

Don Schmidt joined Northside in 1979 and taught at Carlos Coon Elementary School,Earl Rudder Middle School, and William H. Taft High School before becoming an administrator. He served as Assistant Principal for William H. Taft, Principal at John C. Holmgreen Center, and Principal at Tom Clark High School and then was named the Assistant Superintendent for Student, Family & Community Services in 2004.

Schmidt currently serves as the Past President with the Texas Council of Administrators for Special Education.  He has held a variety of leadership positions though the years with the Texas Council of Administrators for Special Education and Alamo Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa.

The lifelong San Antonio resident holds a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education and business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a master's degree from Texas A&I University, which now is part of the Texas A & M System.

Dr. Brenda Ward
Dr. Brenda Ward
Executive Director of Assessment, Accountability, and Continuous Improvement

Dr. Brenda Ward, Executive Director of Assessment, Accountability, and Continuous Improvement, is responsible for the areas of testing and evaluation, state and federal programs, and grants and recognitions.

Ward began her teaching career in 1988 at Hoelscher Elementary School in Edgewood ISD before joining NISD as a teacher at Glenn Elementary School in 1990. Before moving to Central Office in 2008, she served as a math specialist, conflict resolution consultant, and behavior specialist at Glenn Elementary School; vice principal and principal at Brauchle Elementary School; and principal at Ward Elementary School. In 2008, she became the director of Elementary Administration. In 2011, she became director of Testing and Evaluation. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Concordia Lutheran University and The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Ward holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, a master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Texas A&M at Kingsville, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

She and her husband Michael have two children, James and Joshua, both Northside graduates.

Patricia Sanchez
Patricia Sanchez
Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Instruction

Patricia Sanchez is the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Instruction and is responsible for the development of elementary curriculum, implementing instructional goals, providing campus support, providing staff development for campus leaders and campus administrators, and managing the Student Success Initiative

She began her career in NISD in 1991 as a first grade teacher at Passmore Elementary School. She has worked as a reading specialist at Howsman Elementary, an Educational Specialist at Education Service Center Region 20, and as the vice principal at Oak Hills Terrace and Thornton elementary schools. In 2006, she became the principal at Passmore Elementary before being selected to serve as the first principal for Mireles Elementary School when the school opened in 2011. She moved to Central Office as the first director of Elementary Instruction for the district in August 2014.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, and a master’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Deonna Dean
Deonna Dean
Assistant Superintendent for Middle School Instruction

Deonna Dean, Assistant Superintendent for Middle School Instruction, is responsible for the development of middle school curriculum, implementing instructional goals, providing campus support and staff development for campus leaders and administrators, and managing the Student Success Initiative.

Her classroom experience includes teaching science at Hambrick Jr. High in Aldine ISD and at Sam Rayburn Middle School in Northside ISD. Before moving to Central Office in 2012, she served as an Assistant Principal at Zachry Middle School and as Vice Principal and Principal at Ross Middle School. 

Dean holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Southwest Texas State University.

Diana Ely
Diana Ely
Executive Director of Teaching and Learning

Diana Ely was named the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning in August 2017.

In her role, she oversees the area of professional learning, leadership development, academic technology, and library services.

She began her teaching career at Ross Elementary School in Bryan ISD in 1983, before moving to NISD in 1985 to become a teacher at Zachry Middle School. She served as assistant principal at Zachry for seven years starting in 1990. She transitioned to Organizational and Staff Development in 1997 serving as a staff development specialist, assistant director, and director.

Ely holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in Education/Mid-Management from the University of Texas in San Antonio. In addition, she is a 2016 Learning Forward International Academy graduate.

She and her husband David, who also works in NISD, have two children, Taylor and Wyatt.

Tracy Wernli
Tracy Wernli
Executive Director of Student Services

Tracy Wernli serves as the Executive Director of Student Services.

Wernli has been with Northside ISD for more than 25 years. Previously she served as principal at Hector Garcia Middle School.

She started her teaching career as a World Geography teacher in Judson ISD in 1995. She moved to NISD in 1996 as first a Special Education Instructional Assistant, a Special Education teacher, and eventually Special Education Campus Coordinator at Zachry Middle School. She moved to Central Office in 2007 to serve as an Area Special Education Coordinator.

When Hector Garcia Middle School opened in 2009, she joined the campus as the Special Education Campus Coordinator, then moving to serve as the Academic Dean, and then became principal of the campus in 2016.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

A Marshall High School graduate, she and her husband Eric have two sons; Jackson, a graduate of Brandeis High School; and Blake a student at O’Connor High School.

Kimberly Ridgley
Kimberly Ridgley
Executive Director of Social and Emotional Learning

Kimberly Ridgley is the Executive Director of Social and Emotional Learning. Her areas of responsibility are the Guidance and Counseling Department, Health Service Department, Family Engagement Programs and initiatives focused on whole child development. 

She began her career in NISD in 2002 as a school counselor at Zachry Middle School. She transitioned to Central Office as the Safe and Drug Free Schools Coordinator and also served as the Coordinator for Secondary Counseling Services. Ridgley became the Director of Guidance and Counseling in 2014.

Ridgley holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, a master’s degree in Counseling, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She and her husband Bill have four daughters, all NISD graduates. 

Rene Barajas
Rene Barajas, Ph.D.
Deputy Superintendent for Business and Finance

Rene Barajas, Ph.D. has more than 28 years of experience in the management of school business and operational support.

Dr. Barajas has a wide array of school district experience having served seven Texas school districts in various business and financial roles, ranging from Internal Auditor to Chief Financial Officer in districts with enrollments ranging from 1,200 to 200,000 students.

His latest position was as the Chief Financial Officer for Houston ISD. Prior to that, he served in Garland ISD, Dallas ISD, San Marcos CISD, Ft. Sam Houston ISD, Crosby ISD, and Judson ISD.

He joined NISD in February 2020 as Deputy Superintendent for Business and Finance.

Dr. Barajas holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

A native of San Antonio, he is a graduate of Burbank High School in San Antonio ISD.

Wesley Scott
Wesley Scott
Assistant Superintendent for Budget and Finance

Wesley Scott joined Northside in September 2015 as Assistant Superintendent for Budget and Finance bringing more than 23 years of experience in public accounting and financial services.

A 1992 graduate of Abilene Christian University, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Registered Texas School Business Administrator (RTSBA).

After graduating from college, Scott worked at Weaver and Tidwell for 14 years, a midsize public accounting firm where he held various positions in the audit. His duties included overseeing the audits of local governments, nonprofits, and privately held manufacturing and distribution companies as well as numerous school districts.

Prior to joining NISD, Scott served as the Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Dallas County Schools. Duties included overseeing all aspects of the business affairs of the district including general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, budgeting, and purchasing with an annual budget of around $120 million. He and his wife Stephanie have three children, McKenlee, Ransom, and Fielder.

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