NISD welcomes more than 800 new teachers

NISD welcomes more than 800 new teachers

Northside ISD welcomed almost 850 new or new-to-NISD teachers at NISD New Teacher Academy this week, many with different stories to tell, but all with a passion for service and teaching students.

New Teacher Academy is a two-day in-service for new Northside teachers providing foundational training and introducing them to the many resources available to them through the district. Teachers also complete their state-mandated Special Education training and are exposed to the curriculum and Social Emotional Behavioral frameworks. They also participate in orientation at their campus that helps them learn about campus priorities and teaches them about the “Northside way.”

Here’s a look at three teachers with varying backgrounds and their reasons for joining Team Northside. 

Shane Cunningham, Cole Elementary School

“I didn’t have a great experience at the school I attended and didn’t like school at all,” says Shane Cunningham, a first-year Special Education teacher at Cole Elementary School. “So, I want to work with my students to find the best way for them to be successful and to develop a love of learning.”

Growing up without a dad or a good school or support system, Cunningham said he was one of those students who fell through the cracks, and he wants to make sure that none of his students find themselves in that situation. 

After being diagnosed with ADHD, Cunningham said he found a way to learn and love learning. He joined the Marine Corps and eventually ended up as one of the youngest in his field at the Pentagon. With a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, a master’s degree in Special Education, and a Juris Master, he looks forward to educating the next generation of lifelong learners.


Burhanettin Yildirim, NSITE

Burhanettin Vildirim is a first-year Cybersecurity teacher at the Northside School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (NSITE).

Originally from Turkey, Vildirim taught high school English in Africa to students from Eutopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo before all schools were shut down due to political unrest. He then moved to the United States and worked in the Information Technology (IT) field in New York and Seattle before moving to San Antonio with his family.

“I have a passion for teaching and I want to share what I know,” Yildirim said. “I have heard about what it is like teaching in American schools and I want to see for myself if what I heard is true. It is a great opportunity and I want to make the best of it.”


Michelle Zamarripa, Zachry Middle School

Michelle Zamarippa retired as head counselor at Marshall High School in December 2020. She will return as a 6th grade Special Education teacher at Zachry Middle School. 

After she retired, Zamarippa worked at the Multi-Assistance Center (MAC) at Morgan’s Wonderland and developed a love for the clients and families that the center serves. “I loved interacting with the kids there because I was working with the families differently,” she said. That spurred a love of working with Special Needs students, and when friends encouraged her to sign up as a retire/rehire when NISD opened that option, she jumped at the chance.

“I am both very excited and a little nervous,” she admitted. “But it is going to be an incredible year. I can’t wait to get started.”