* Denotes Senior Staff
Ben Muir, the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, began his teaching career in San Antonio ISD in 1995. He moved to 51²è¹Ý ISD in 2000 as a teacher at Boone ES and after two years moved into campus administration and served as the Vice Principal at Boone ES and Murnin ES. He also had the privilege to serve as the principal at Galm ES.
Muir moved to Human Resources in 2012 where he was appointed the Director of Elementary Human Resources. He was most recently appointed as Executive Director of Elementary Administration in March of 2021.
Muir received his bachelorâ€™s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and his masterâ€™s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has a son and daughter who are both NISD graduates.
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.
Jacob Villarreal, P.E. was named the Executive Director of Construction and Engineering in 2020. Prior to that he served as Director of Engineering Services,Â Assistant Director of Maintenance and Operations, and Project Manager for Engineering Services.Â
Prior to joining NISD in 2015, he had more than seven years of engineering experience having worked in the private sector as a civil engineer on single-family residential and commercial developments, Department of Defense (DoD) contracts through different military branches, and multiple construction projects with the Corps of Engineers.
As Executive Director of Construction and Engineering, he oversees energy management and the planning, design, and construction of the 51²è¹Ýâ€™s schools and educational support facilities.Â
Villarreal received his bachelorâ€™s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of San Antonio in 2008 and maintains an active Professional Engineer license in the state of Texas. HeÂ is actively involved andÂ participates in multiple professionalÂ organizationsÂ to maintainÂ a currentÂ understanding of ever changingÂ learning environments andÂ bestÂ engineering practices.Â
His wife, a product of 51²è¹Ý ISD,Â graduated from Taft High School and is currently an elementary school educator in Boerne ISD where their two children attend.
As the Assistant Superintendent for Communications and spokesman for 51²è¹Ý ISD, Barry Perez is responsible for keeping the public informed of the news and events of Texasâ€™ fourth largest school district.
Perez has spent the majority of his career in 51²è¹Ý ISD. After teaching for two years in the Edgewood Independent School 51²è¹Ý, 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. Edwardâ€™s University in Austin where he earned his bachelorâ€™s degree in Psychology. He earned his masterâ€™s degree in Educational Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.
Kelly Rasti, Executive Director of Community Outreach and 51²è¹Ý Advocacy, is responsible for community and governmental relations and school, business, and community partnerships.
She began her teaching career at Harlandale ISD in 2012, joining 51²è¹Ý ISD as a teacher at Rudder Middle School in 2014. After six years in public education, she transitioned into a legislative aide position within the Texas Senate, returning to NISD as Director of Governmental Relations in 2022. Â
Rasti is a proud product of 51²è¹Ý ISD, having graduated from Taft High School. Â
A graduate of Texas A&M University at San Antonio, Rasti holds a bachelorâ€™s degree in Accounting. She met her husband in the sixth grade at Connally Middle School, and their two children attend NISD schools.
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 Services, 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 bachelorâ€™s in Psychology from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1991, her masterâ€™s in Kinesiology from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1993, and her masterâ€™s in Information Technology Management from the Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs in 2007.
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 51²è¹Ý 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 51²è¹Ý.
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 51²è¹Ý 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).
Ray Galindo, the Deputy Superintendent for Administration, started his teaching career in Austin ISD in 1991. He came to 51²è¹Ý 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.
Jessica Palomares is a product of 51²è¹Ý ISD having graduated from Holmes High School. She began her career in NISD in 1996 as a special education teacher at the 51²è¹Ý Childrenâ€™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.
She served as Director of Elementary Administration and Executive Director of Elementary Administration prior to her being named Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Administration in 2021.
Palomares received her bachelorâ€™s degree in Interdisplinary Studies (1996) and masterâ€™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.
Stephen Daniel, the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Administration, began his career in education with 51²è¹Ý 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 is a product of 51²è¹Ý 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 bachelorâ€™s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and masterâ€™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.
Adriana Garza was appointed Executive Director of ElementaryÂ Administration in June 2021. Garza has 37 years of experience in education at both the campus and central officeÂ level. She began her career in Laredo ISD in 1984 as a first grade teacher, pre-kindergarten teacher, grants coordinator, and elementary principal.
She joined 51²è¹Ý ISD in 2007 and served as the Transition to Teaching Project Specialist, vice principal at Kuentz Elementary School, principal at Brauchle Elementary School, and 51²è¹Ý's first Leadership DevelopmentÂ Director.
Garza earned a bachelorâ€™s degree from Laredo State University and a masterâ€™s degree from TexasÂ A&M International. She is a Texas Principal's Visioning Institute alum, was awarded the 2017 Texas ASCD Brownlee Leadership Award for ExemplaryÂ Leadership in Instruction, Supervision and Curriculum, and led Brauchle Elementary in earning the Schools Transforming Learning Award in 2017. She has three sons and one daughter, all NISD graduates.Â
Andi Sosa graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She started in 51²è¹Ý in January 2004 as a student teacher before being hired at Burke Elementary where she taught second, third, and fourth grade.Â Sosa served as the Vice Principal at Brauchle Elementary for five years before being named the Principal of Carnahan Elementary where she served for eight years.Â Â She was named Executive Director for Elementary Administration in June of 2022.
Sosa and her husband John have a son and daughter who both attend NISD Schools.
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 Â½ years.
Tobias received his bachelorâ€™s degree in 1993 from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and his masterâ€™s degree in Educational Administration from Trinity University in 1999.
He and his wife Brenda have a daughter and a son.
Valerie Sisk was appointed Executive Director of Secondary Administration in June 2021. She started her career in NISD as a Career and Technology teacher at Marshall High School in 2000.
She joined the staff at Warren High School in 2005 as an Assistant Vice Principal, becoming Vice Principal in 2014, and then Principal in 2016.
Sisk earned a bachelorâ€™s degree from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos in 2000, and a masterâ€™s degree from Houston Baptist University in 2003.
Valerie is a native of San Antonio and a product of 51²è¹Ý ISD having graduated from Jay High school. She is married and has two daughters, also NISD high school graduates.Â
Stan Laing began his educational career as a teacher and coach in West Texas in 1985, and joined 51²è¹Ý ISD in 1994 at Jay High School. He moved from Jay to help open Oâ€™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 bachelorâ€™s degree in 1985 from McMurry University in Abilene, Tex. and his masterâ€™s degree in 1998 from Texas A&M in Kingsville.
Dr. Janis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction,is responsible for making sure that NISDâ€™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 51²è¹Ý, 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 bachelorâ€™s degree from Texas A&M University, a masterâ€™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.
Dr. Brenda Ward, Assistant Superintendent for Assessment, Accountability, and Continuous Improvement, is responsible for the offices of continuous improvement, testing, research & development, state & federal programs, grants and recognitions, and adult & community education.
Ward began her teaching career in 1988 at Hoelscher Elementary School in Edgewood ISD before joining 51²è¹Ý ISD as a teacher at Glenn Elementary School in 1990. Before moving to the 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 bachelorâ€™s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, a masterâ€™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 51²è¹Ý graduates.
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 bachelorâ€™s degree from St. Maryâ€™s University in San Antonio, and a masterâ€™s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
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 51²è¹Ý 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 bachelorâ€™s degree from Texas A&M University and a masterâ€™s degree in Educational Administration from Southwest Texas State University.
Dr. Jerry Woods was named Assistant Superintendent for High School Instruction in 2020. He is responsible for the development of high school curriculum, implementing instructional goals, providing campus support, providing staff development for campus administrators and leaders, and managing the Student Success Initiative.Â
Woods started his career in NISD in 2009 as the vice principal at Brandeis High School. He became principal at Clark High School in 2012. Prior to NISD, he served as an assistant principal at Reagan High School in North East ISD.
He earned both his bachelorâ€™s degree in Biology, masterâ€™s degree in Education, and doctorate in Educational Leadership, all from The University of Texas at San Antonio.Â
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 bachelorâ€™s degree from Texas A&M University and a masterâ€™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 serves as the Executive Director of Student Services.
Wernli has been with 51²è¹Ý 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 bachelorâ€™s degree in Criminal Justice and her masterâ€™s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
She graduated from Marshall High School and her son Blake graduated from Oâ€™Connor High School.
Kimberly Ridgley is the Assistant Superintendent for Whole Child Development. Her areas of responsibility are the Guidance and Counseling Department, Health Service Department, Family Engagement Programs, Social and Emotional Learning, Behavior Education, School Age Parenting, Even Start Family Literacy, Health Education, Homeless and Foster Care Programs.
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 bachelorâ€™s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, a masterâ€™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, 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 bachelorâ€™s and a masterâ€™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.
Tiffany Contreras, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance, joined NISD in 2010 as the Assistant Director of Accounting. She has also served school finance as the Director of Budget and Fiscal Services and the Director of Special Revenue and Compliance.
In her current role, she oversees the departments of the Accounting, Budget, Payroll, Special Revenue, and Purchasing.
Contreras is a native of San Antonio and a product of 51²è¹Ý ISD having graduated from Business Careers High School.
She is a graduate of St. Maryâ€™s University receiving her bachelorâ€™s degree in Business Administration. She and her wife Laura have two children, Aviana and Axel.