Thinking Thursdays 

Dallas ISD’s Central Staff Leadership Development team is providing online summer professional learning opportunities for central staff supervisors. While the training is designed for supervisors any central staff member can register to attend.

To participate in Thinking Thursdays, sign up in Cornerstone for any of the upcoming live online learning sessions on Thursday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Keys to Influencing Others – July 15 or 22

Mindset in the Workplace – July 29 or Aug. 5

Facilitating Quality Check-ins – Aug. 12 or 19      

Providing Actionable Feedback – Aug. 26

Keep safety first

With summer vacation and more people going out, it’s a good idea to keep safety in mind. Below are some tips for summer safety around vehicles and activities for children.

Remember not to leave valuables or cash in your car, and if you must leave them in the car, lock them in the trunk. Never leave children and pets in a locked vehicle and always check when you exit your vehicle. Temperatures in a vehicle during the summer can climb to dangerous levels in just minutes.

With children out of school, it’s more likely they will be walking in the neighborhood or playing outside. Drive safely and slowly around parks and playgrounds, and keep an eye out for children and pets, especially when driving in residential areas. Children and pets may be more concerned with catching a ball, staying on their bike or running after their dog than watching for vehicles coming toward them.

It’s a good idea that parents, especially when working outside the home, provide a list of phone numbers of neighbors, family and friends that children can call in an emergency.

Require your children to check in before leaving the house and when returning home. It’s also recommended that parents know the route children will take to and from a given location, such as summer camp, the park, the store or a friend’s house. If there’s an emergency, knowing the route and where children should be will make a difference if there is an emergency.

When going to summer camp, the park, the store or a friend’s house, remind your children that there is safety in numbers and that it is best to be with a group of friends. And make sure that they know to call 911 or contact a responsible adult if the feel unsafe or see something that makes them uncomfortable.

If they are riding a bike, make sure they have a helmet and wear as well as brightly colored or reflective clothing.

Summer break also means more time on the internet, so parents should remind their children to never give out personal information on the internet, whether it’s on social networking sites or interactive games.

Legal assistance available

The LegalLine E-Clinic provides access to volunteer attorneys with the Dallas Bar Association, who will answer legal questions at no cost from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays in July.

To participate, complete the online form found at for the upcoming LegalLine. This month’s LegalLine E-Clinics will take place July 7, July 14, July 21, and July 28. A volunteer attorney will call participants who have registered to provide up to 15 minutes of free legal advice. Space is limited, and registration will close at noon on the Tuesday prior to the legal clinic date.

Please note that the volunteer attorney will remain anonymous. Participants should watch for a call from an unknown number that should be labeled “No Caller ID” or something similar. No attorney-client relationship will be established. The legal clinic cannot guarantee that the attorney will speak any language other than English. Individuals may also receive referrals to local, legal, or social service agencies.

For legal assistance any time, contact the DBA’s Lawyer Referral Service at

Announcing the inductees into this year’s Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame class

Among this year’s Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame class are two track Olympians, including a four-time gold medalist; a pair of top-four NBA draft picks with 18 all-star game appearances between them, including a back-to-back NBA World Champion; a PGA Championship winner; two NFL Pro-Bowl selections, including a Super Bowl champion; a first-round WNBA draft pick; a four-sport prep athlete that helped lead his baseball team to a state championship; and, a baseball coach that guided his teams to 32 consecutive playoff appearances.

The 10 inductees slated to join the 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame include: LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Don January, John Jefferson, Johnny Wayne Johnson, Michael Johnson, Stone Johnson, Mike Livingston, Andrea Riley and David Shepherd.

This impressive list of individuals constitutes the fourth class of the Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame, an initiative designed to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the district’s athletics programs. The 2021 class will be inducted into the Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame virtual induction ceremony on Monday, Dec. 6.

To be selected for the hall of fame, individuals must exemplify the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct, and moral character.

Inductees were selected due to their striking accomplishments and undoubtful impact while advancing school athletics. Their successes, however, are not limited within Dallas ISD borders, but have reached recognition in local, state, national, and in some cases, international levels.

Meet this year’s class:

LaMarcus Aldridge excelled for the boys’ basketball team at Seagoville High School and was selected the Class 4A Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year as a senior in 2004. A highly recruited player, he signed with the University of Texas. He earned first-team all-conference honors in 2006, the same year he was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. After two seasons in Austin, he declared for the NBA Draft and went as the No. 2 overall pick. The seven-time NBA all-star averaged 19.4 points in a 15-year career that began in Portland and continued in San Antonio before ending with Brooklyn this year.

Chris Bosh helped the boys’ basketball team at Lincoln High School win the Texas Class 4A State Championship in 2002. He was named the High School Player of the Year by Basketball America and was the PowerAde Player of the Year in Texas. Bosh spent one season at Georgia Tech and was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2003-04 and spent seven seasons with the Raptors, but played the final six seasons in Miami, where the 11-time NBA all-star won back-to-back NBA Championships in 2012 and 2013.

Don January played golf for Sunset High School. He later helped lead North Texas State, now the University of North Texas, win three consecutive NCAA championships. He was a member of the PGA Tour from 1956 until 1976, winning 10 events, including the 1967 PGA Championship in an 18-hole playoff. He added 22 wins on the Senior PGA Tour, becoming the first player to earn more than $1 million in Senior PGA Tour earnings in 1985. He played on the 1965 and 1977 Ryder Cup teams. In 1976, he won the Vardon Trophy from PGA of America for the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour.

John Jefferson (formerly known as John Washington) was a standout wide receiver on the football team at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School. As a sophomore at Arizona State, he had a great sophomore season in 1975 to guide the Sun Devils to the Fiesta Bowl, where he was named the game’s most valuable player. The two-time All-Western Athletic Conference honoree was a consensus All-American selection in 1977. Jefferson concluded his career with an NCAA record 42 consecutive games with a reception. He was selected 14th overall in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, where he played three seasons. The four-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver also played for the Packers and Browns and was the first player to gain 1,000 yards in each of his first three NFL seasons.

Johnny Wayne Johnson (deceased) was a four-sport letterman at W. W. Samuell High School, where he participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track & field. A three-year letterman in baseball, he helped guide the baseball team to the 1965 State Championship. He was drafted by the New York Yankees out of high school but elected to attend Kilgore Junior College, where he was a member of the 1966 NJCAA National Championship team. He was a three-year starter on the varsity football team and won two letters in basketball and three in track & field. His 440-yard relay team tied the national high school record his junior year and reached the state finals his senior year.

Michael Johnson, who was on the track & field team at Skyline High School, won four Olympic Gold Medals and eight World Championship gold medals setting Olympic and World records in the 200 meters and 400 meters as well as the world record in the indoor 400 meters. Johnson attended Baylor University and won several NCAA indoor and outdoor sprinting and relay titles. He was considered the world’s fastest man in 1996, when the “man with the golden shoes” won Olympic titles in Atlanta in both the 200 meters and 400 meters. He added a gold medal in the 400 meters in the 2000 Sydney Olympics to go with a 4×400 relay gold in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Stone Johnson (deceased) was a three-sport athlete at James Madison High School in football, basketball, and track & field. James Madison opened in the Fall 1956 and Johnson was on the school’s first teams. He helped guide the football team to the City Championship as a junior in 1957 and guided the team to its first state championship appearance in 1958. He went on to earn a scholarship at Grambling State University, where he played football and ran track. He was a finalist in the 200 meters in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1963 AFL Draft.

Mike Livingston graduated from South Oak Cliff High School in 1964. He excelled on the gridiron earning a scholarship to play football at Southern Methodist University for the legendary Hayden Fry. He was the fourth quarterback selected in the 1968 NFL draft, going in the second round to the Kansas City Chiefs. During the 1969 season after injuries to two other quarterbacks, Livingston started six games – and won all six – in the Chiefs’ world championship season that eventually saw starter Len Dawson return to quarterback the team to a Super Bowl IV victory. He played 12 seasons for Kansas City and was on the Minnesota Vikings roster in 1980. In 1983, he played for the Oakland Invaders of the USFL.

Andrea Riley played basketball at Lincoln High School, helping guide the school to a 30-1 record and the Class 4A state title as a sophomore. Her junior team finished 29-5 and reached the state tournament. She earned first-team all-district and all-area honors as a junior. She averaged 17.8 point and 3.8 assists as a senior in earning all-state recognition. She attended Oklahoma State University and was second in the nation in scoring, averaging 26.7 points per game, to win the Nancy Lieberman Award as the top female point guard in the NCAA. In 131 career starts in Stillwater, she averaged 21.6 points in her career and totaled 2,835 points to finish as the school’s all-time leading scorer. She was the eighth overall draft pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. Riley played three seasons in the WNBA, also playing with the Tulsa Shock and the Phoenix Mercury.

David Shepherd was the long-time baseball coach at W.T. White High School. He coached at the school from 1980 until retiring in 2014, guiding the Longhorns to 32 consecutive playoff appearances. “Coach Shep” won more than 650 games and 16 district titles. Eight of his players were drafted by Major League Baseball teams, including first-round draft pick Calvin Murray in 1989. Murray, who played for Team USA in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, is one of four players – along with Trey Beamon, Jeremy Hill and Bryan Holaday – to reach the majors. He coached two All-Americans and mentored another 20 players who earned all-state honors. Hundreds of his players received college scholarships. The baseball field at W.T. White is named for him.

Dallas ISD leadership announcement

Several changes in district leadership and a reorganization of some areas of college and career readiness will be effective July 1.

Tiffany Huitt • Acting Chief of School Leadership

Tiffany Huitt has served as deputy chief of Academics in Teaching and Learning and executive director of magnet schools in School Leadership after spending five years as the principal of the School of Science and Engineering at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center, one of the top high schools in the country. She began her career in Dallas in 1999 as a science teacher at the Dallas Environmental Science Academy. Since then, she has worked as lead science teacher and instructional coach while also developing science curriculum assessments and professional development for K-12 science courses. She serves on local and state committees, including the TEA Science Standards TEKS Revisions Committee and the Leadership Council for the Global Learning Network. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Paul Quinn College and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary sciences from The University of Texas at Arlington.


To bring coherence and continuity to the district’s post-secondary efforts, several changes have been implemented in the Strategic Initiatives Division. In addition to moving Career Institutes to the division, two deputy chiefs over post-secondary initiatives will report to Chief of Strategic Initiatives Brian Lusk.


Oswaldo Alvarenga • Deputy Chief of Strategic Initiatives (Career Institutes and career readiness)

Oswaldo Alvarenga has served as assistant superintendent of STEM, CTE and Career Institutes in the Teaching and Learning Division. Previously, he was executive director of the STEM departments—mathematics, science, computer science, career technology education, STEM environmental center, and health/physical education. Originally from Chicago, Alvarenga earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has worked for various telecommunications companies as a senior design engineer. He has also worked as a high school mathematics teacher, mathematics instructional coach and supervisor, and director of educational technology in Dallas ISD.


Usamah Rodgers • Deputy Chief of Strategic Initiatives (P-TECH and college readiness)

Usamah Rodgers has served as assistant superintendent of Post-Secondary Partnerships and Programs. Previously, she served as assistant superintendent for Strategic Initiatives and External Relations. Prior to becoming an assistant superintendent, Rodgers served as the executive director of P-TECH and early college programs where she was responsible for assisting with the design and implementation of systems to support campuses as Dallas ISD launched 18 Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) programs. She has served as feeder pattern executive director and campus administrator at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  Rodgers received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Missouri State University, as well as a Master of Education in education administration and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from the University of Texas at Austin.


Marlon Harrison • Assistant Superintendent of Information Technology

Marlon Harrison has served as director of student systems—IT Enterprise Applications. Harrison has been with Dallas ISD since 2005 and transitioned into the Information Technology department in 2008. For the past 11 years, Harrison was the manager of the Applications Training team, which trained and supported Student Applications and Oracle EBS. He has extensive experience in design, delivery, implantation, and facilitation of student applications. Harrison has a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Hampton University.


Five principals have been chosen to fill vacancies in the School Leadership feeder patterns.


Damien Stovall has been named executive director over ACE schools. Previously, he was executive director of the Bryan Adams and North Dallas elementary feeder pattern. Prior to becoming an executive director, he was a principal at Charles A. Gill and Edward Titche elementary schools. During his tenure at Tiche, Stovall turned the school around from an IR5 school to one that earned all six distinctions, a B rating, and meeting state expectations. Titche would continue to earn six distinctions and an “A” rating the following year as well as be named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon school. Stovall has been a principal of the year and a district Master Principal.


Dwain Simmons has been named secondary executive director for the Skyline, H. Grady Spruce and W.W. Samuell Feeder Patterns. Simmons has been principal of Skyline High School since 2019.  Prior to that time, he led L.G. Pinkston High School, where he established the schools P-TECH program and led the expansion to include students in sixth through eighth grade. Before his tenure at Pinkston High School, Simmons was associate principal at the John Leslie Patton Jr. Academic Center, which was the district’s high school for over-aged and under-credited students. Simmons has been principal of the year and a mentor principal.



Diana Nuñez has been named elementary executive director for Seagoville and W.W.  Samuell Feeder Patterns. She has served as principal of W.H. Adamson High School since 2017, an area where she grew up and attended school. Nuñez has been with Dallas ISD for 21 years as an elementary teacher and an administrator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Nuñez is a Master Principal and has been a principal of the year finalist. During her leadership at Dallas Environmental Science Academy, the school accomplished the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Award in 2017. Nuñez led Adamson to become the only comprehensive high school (out of 23 high schools) to achieve “Breakthrough” Raking in Dallas ISD’s school performance framework in 2018-2019.


Jameile Choice has been named student services executive director. Choice began serving in education as a technology coordinator and teacher for Fort Worth ISD. Realizing his penchant to lead, Choice transitioned to servant leadership as a Dallas ISD assistant principal and then to the current principal of New Tech High School in 2016. Building on the school’s transformation, Choice worked tirelessly with his staff, making New Tech the first Dallas ISD high school to become an AVID Demonstration Site in 2017. A product of Dallas ISD (elementary, middle, and high school), Choice acknowledges his teachers’ impact and serves as an Ambassador for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Dallas, consistently advocating for mentorship and tangible support for youth.


Temesghen Asmerom has been named executive director in School Leadership. He has been principal of Emmett J. Conrad High School for the past four years. Under his leadership, the school has shown significant growth and has been recognized as a breakthrough campus. Conrad has been home to five distinguished NAF academies and a successful H-TECH program. Since joining Dallas ISD, Asmerom has served in seven different campuses as a member of a leadership team. Prior to joining Dallas ISD, Asmerom worked as a water chemist and research assistant.



Resignation deadline approaches

Under Chapter 21 of the Texas Education Code, educators have a penalty-free resignation deadline that falls on the 45th day before the first day of instruction of the coming school year.

For the 2021-2022 school year, that resignation deadline is July 2, 2021.  This date is based on the 2021-2022 base calendar.

Resignations are generally accepted via the electronic submission process, using the Oracle log-in, and must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on July 2, 2021. The resignation deadline will be enforced, and resignations received after the July 2 deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the date of submission and the circumstances, and whether the campus has sufficient time to secure a suitable replacement.

For additional Information about how to submit a Notice of Separation, please visit the Retirements and Resignations page at


  • Texas Education Code: §21.105, §21.160, and §21.210
  • Texas Administrative Code: 19 TAC 249.15 (b) (5).
  • Board Policy DFE (REGULATION)
  • Board Policy DFE (LOCAL)


Stepping in to teach

They are there when schools need them. During the 2020-2021 school year, Dallas ISD substitutes answered the call from schools to fill in for more than 100,000 teacher absences to make sure that students did not lose a day of learning.

“Substitutes are an integral part of the success of a student’s education,” said Shenise Tyler, substitutes manager for Dallas ISD in the Human Capital Management Division. “Although a substitute is only in a classroom for a short period of time, they are a teacher, and they make a difference in the lives of students.”

Without substitute teachers, absences due to illness or other unexpected circumstances could cause major complications: instruction is interrupted, classes are doubled up, and preparation periods are lost, Tyler said. Considering that the average student will spend an entire school year with a substitute teacher over the entirety of their K-12 learning journey, substitutes are important and valued members of the district.

“Without quality substitutes, teacher absences can have a domino effect that impacts the entire school,” Tyler said.

Of the more than 2,300 substitutes enrolled to cover teacher absences in Dallas ISD, about 37 percent are retired teachers. The others are qualified professionals who are interested in education and who believe it’s important that students have someone teaching in the classroom every day.

“Quality substitute teachers contribute to maintaining progress in the learning environment, which helps promote student achievement,” she said.

Substitutes who want to remain active during the 2021-2022 year should make sure they sign the Substitute Re-Enrollment form that was recently sent to their district email via DocuSign.





Check the datebook

As the district begins to have in-person events, it’s important to avoid conflicts. While planning for the upcoming year, the Districtwide Datebook should be your chief means of scheduling districtwide activities.

The Districtwide Datebook can be found at Placing your events on the datebook will help others avoid booking events on the date of your school or department activity. Departments who already have scheduled dates for events and activities are encouraged to push them to the datebook as soon as possible.

The datebook is only for events that involve (or are of interest to) the entire school district. For example: STEM Day, Discover Dallas ISD, MLK oratory competition, recognition events and opportunities, job fairs, etc.

Department directors and administrative assistants are asked to update their department calendars (when available) and the districtwide datebook by following the steps below. If your department has a calendar on the district’s website, post your events there with the following information:

  • the name of the event or activity
  • a short description of the event
  • the start and end time
  • the venue name and address of the event location
  • a department contact person and phone number or email address
  • If you need help pushing an event from your department calendar to the districtwide datebook, send an email to

Departments that do not have a website-based calendar can add districtwide events to the datebook by sending an email with the information above to at least a week in advance of the activity.


For the record: Dallas ISD librarian is recognized

Diana O’Connor, librarian at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, was recently surprised at her school with a Recognition in the Congressional Record from U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) for her work at the school, in the community and Dallas ISD.

She was recognized for her support of the schoolwide pre-Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement curriculum through a variety of programs like summer camps, STEAM camps, college readiness
camps and more for middle and high school students. She also created the Respect Starts here curriculum, a system dedicated to building listening, speaking, understanding skills and embracing one another with empathy.

O’Connor is involved in various community organizations, such as 29 Pieces, and has represented Dallas ISD in a variety of librarian associations. In 2020, she received the H. William Chris Educator Prize from the National Coalition of Girls Schools for her commitment to extraordinary teaching, program design and curricular innovation.

Before joining Rangel School, she taught hearing impaired adolescents, students with disabilities, and multiple grades in Dallas ISD.

Rep. Johnson asked that O’Connor be recognized “for her immeasurable impact on the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School and the entire Dallas community. Her career, marked by compassion and dedication to her students, has left an invaluable mark on my district, and it is my honor to congratulate her for her accomplishments.”


Exercise and your skin

Skin conditions like acne, rosacea, or psoriasis may require special care before and after workouts, but don’t let skin issues interfere with your fitness plan because exercise can also promote skin health.

According to dermatologist Ellen Marmur, author of “Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin,” by increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital.

The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells, including those in the skin, and carries away impurities to the liver where they are neutralized and eliminated. That’s why exercise can help skin by flushing cells and cleansing it.

Stress often has an impact on skin, and exercise is commonly seen as a way to minimize stress. While there isn’t any research that directly connects exercise to skin health, exercising does help with conditions that do have an effect on the skin.

For example, people who exercise consistently tend to sleep better, and better sleep—between seven and nine hours nightly—also see improvement in their stress level and their general health. Sleep is when the body renews itself and removes toxins. Because skin is an organ, it also goes through the detoxification process during periods of rest.

Exercising regularly increases the odds that skin will tighten, especially when losing weight. Increased muscle tone also increases blood flow to the body.

Just remember that if you exercise, you should stay hydrated and use sunscreen if you are outside. Your skin will love you for it!