This is Home: A Family Legacy of Excellence in Education

Hundreds of educators have left their mark on Dallas ISD and its students during the district’s 137 years of existence, but few are woven so tightly into the tapestry of Dallas education as the Crowder family. With a combined 94 years of experience as educators, Willie Crowder, Keisha Crowder-Davis, and Jonica Crowder-Lockwood are proud to call Dallas ISD home and work tirelessly so students can also call the district home.

Willie Crowder, who retired as associate superintendent in the district’s human capital division, began her tenure in Dallas ISD in 1970—a year fraught with racial tension and social change, including the desegregation of Dallas schools. She began as a history teacher at what is now Boude Storey Middle School. As her career progressed, a passion for education and an ability to connect with students and parents paved the way for her to serve in numerous roles, including assistant principal, principal, minority recruiter, policy administrator, and associate superintendent.

“You can’t be a clock watcher,” said Crowder, who attributes her success to hard work and late nights. “You work until the work is done”.

Both of her daughters—Keisha and Jonica—can attest to their mother’s commitment to her profession. They recall countless nights at their kitchen table, watching their mother prepare lesson plans, manage master schedules, and review large policy binders, even while preparing dinner.

“We were raised like teachers,” Jonica said. “We were students in the Willie Crowder Training School! Learning and teaching were so much a part of who we were that we played school. My dad installed a chalkboard, and the neighborhood kids became students. That’s how we learned leadership.”

“All of our role models were educators. That’s all we saw,” Keisha added. “MBH was the standard of our family: Make the Best Happen.”

Crowder’s example rubbed off on her daughters beyond childhood play. They are now both distinguished educators in their own right. Graduates of Justin F. Kimball High School, Keisha and Jonica are Dallas ISD through and through. Keisha currently serves as executive director of Centralized Enrollment and Magnet Programs while Jonica is principal at D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School.

Like their mother, they describe themselves as lifelong learners who are committed to making an impact on the community. For them, working in Dallas ISD is how they give back and help young people and their families.

“We are Dallas ISD proud,” Keisha declared with a smile.


Feeling poorly? Get the test

Dallas ISD provides staff free COVID-19 tests with results available in 15 minutes at its testing site at 3609 Botham Jean Blvd (formerly Lamar St.) in the portable near the main road. The testing site is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Appointments are required and can be made by filling out a form found here. For convenience, all schools have testing supplies so school personnel can get tested on campus.

An employee who has received a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or come in contact with someone with COVID must notify Health Services within 24 hours by submitting the Staff COVID-19 Reporting Form.

Visit for additional COVID-19 resources and protocols, including the Staff Safety Protocol Handbook.

Core 4 Tip: Commit to the customer

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges, but with a Core 4 approach to customer service, these challenges can be turned into wins. In Dallas ISD, we are responsive, accurate and accountable to each other as we seek timely solutions for our customers.

When interacting with customers—such as our students’ parents and guardians—it’s important to keep in mind the Fast core tenet of the district’s culture. Parents are also finding it difficult to navigate the challenges brought about by the pandemic, making it even more important we remember that behind every call or email with which a parent reaches out to ask a question or share a concern, there is a person who needs to feel heard and understood.

This understanding happens when you practice active listening—a pillar of good customer service:

  • Adopt an attitude of understanding and focus. Even on a busy day, make the customer feel they are important and not a distraction from other priorities.
  • Focus on the speaker and listen without interruptions to learn what he or she needs from you or the district.
  • When the customer stops speaking, ask clarifying questions to make sure you have understood.
  • If you can’t help, don’t just connect the call. Stay with the customer until someone answers on the other end. And if you don’t know who can help, take down their information and offer to call them back. Then call them back.

This approach also applies to emails. Whether you are actively listening or reading, keep in mind that how you respond to a parent’s request could make a difference in how that parent feels about his or her child’s school or all of Dallas ISD.

The Fast core tenet guides the urgency with which we approach our service to each other and our customers every day. The expectations are that you will:

  • Deliver accurate email and phone responses within 24 hours during normal business
  • Access data, policy, and all other relevant information sources to provide accurate and timely responses, regardless of requestor
  • Align time in relationship to task importance and consistently respond in a timely manner to requests between students, families, employees, and equity groups
  • Consistently adjust responses for problems and unforeseen circumstances to ensure equitable outcomes

To learn more about the Core 4 tenets that guide the district’s culture, visit

Language services requests now made easy

New Translation Services electronic request forms are available now to expedite the processing of requests for interpreters and document translations. This service is free for district staff.

Language support is available to help teachers and staff communicate with non-English-speaking parents in the languages most spoken in the district. District interpreters who speak American Sign Language, Arabic, Burmese, Chin, French, Italian, Kirundi, Portuguese, Spanish and Swahili can assist at school meetings and provide document translations.  Assistance with languages not listed may be requested as needed.

For interpretation requests, please complete the Interpretation Request form.

For translation requests, please complete the Translation Request form.

Language support for students who are new to the country and whose native language is Arabic, Burmese, Chin, Kirundi or Swahili also is available. To inquire about this service, please contact Adriana Cabeza at or (972) 925-5884.

Another high-demand service is the Interpreter Hotline. When calling the hotline, district staff can request assistance from Translation Services interpreters to communicate with non-English proficient parents via a three-way conversation.  This service is available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For Spanish: (972) 925-5880. For other languages: (972) 925-5884


Get your shot

The district will host a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 11, (FIRST DOSE), and Saturday, Oct. 2 (SECOND DOSE), from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Yvonne A Ewell Townview Center, 1201 E. 8th Street in Dallas. The clinic will be a drive-through clinic in the school’s parking lot. The clinic is open to staff and children 12 years of age and older who want to get their first dose of the Pfeizer-BioNTech vaccine. The vaccine is free.

For more information about where staff can get vaccines, visit

Staff who provide proof of being fully vaccinated by Nov. 15 can receive a $500 incentive from Dallas ISD. Learn more at

Monthly briefing

During its regular monthly briefing, the Board of Trustees will consider several items and reports from district departments. This month’s reports include:

  • Superintendent’s Report: ESSER Update; Enrollment; Virtual Learning; and Racial Equity
  • Legislative update
  • Vision and progress monitoring: Student Outcome Goals 1 & 5 / Constraints 1-3

Briefings are scheduled to begin at 11:20 a.m. and are broadcast online through a link available on once the meeting starts. To see a copy of the agenda and presentations associated with this meeting’s reports, visit and click on the Sept. 9 briefing to access the agenda.

Latina leader gets recognition

School Leadership Executive Director Nancy Bernardino has been named an Emerging Latina Leader by the Hispanic 100.

Launched in 2019, the Emerging Latina Leader (ELLA) Award is bestowed on a rising and influential Latina professional in the DFW-area who is making an impact on Latina women and girls through her engagement and leadership in community, profession and/or industry.

Bernardino was recognized for forging new avenues in the area of education by being the founding principal for the first STEAM-focused, all-girls school in Dallas ISD. She has also been instrumental in the opening of other schools with a similar focus and the all-boys SOLAR Preparatory. Bernardino currently leads the single-gender and hybrid schools as executive director

“It is such an honor to announce and celebrate these two outstanding and accomplished women, and so inspiring to see the impact they have in our community,” said Silvana Rosero, president of The Hispanic 100, during the ceremony in which Bernardino was one of the honorees. “They embody our mission of serving as a catalyst for increased participation of Hispanic women in employment, procurement and social issues.”

The Hispanic 100 is a network of D/FW-area Latina leaders who are committed to increasing business development opportunities for Hispanic, women-owned businesses and to promoting Hispanic women’s leadership roles in the private and public sectors.


Leadership update

Jesús Rodríguez, Ed.D, has been appointed deputy chief academic officer of Content in Teaching and Learning. He has served in a variety of capacities in Colorado from classroom teacher and campus principal to regional assistant instructional superintendent in Denver Public Schools and executive director of the BUENO Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

In his most recent role as executive director of the BUENO Center—an internationally recognized organization that supports and advocates for culturally and linguistically diverse learners, families, and educators—he established collaborative relationships with districts, departments, boards of education, local communities and other higher education institutions to promote language equity and inclusion across the state. Additionally, he established the center’s first scholarship endowment in its 45-year history.

In his work with Denver Public Schools, he was most recently a regional assistant instructional superintendent in the Schools Division in a network of 25 elementary, middle, and high schools in northwest Denver. In his role as a regional assistant instructional superintendent, while supervising principals, he led with a focus on increased academic achievement and positive inclusive school cultures. Rodríguez began his career in DPS as a fourth- and fifth-grade bilingual teacher and later served as a successful turnaround school principal, earning a center of excellence award from the Colorado Department of Education.

Rodríguez has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Spanish from the University of Northern Colorado, a Master of Arts in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver.

He and his wife Elle are looking forward to exploring Dallas with their son Cosme and his best friend, their family dog, Cain.

District joins lawsuit

During its regular August meeting, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees voted to join multiple other school districts in an existing lawsuit challenging a ban on mask mandates. The litigation defends local control of such decisions defined by the education code, which gives districts the right to manage their respective district.

“It’s about the safety of our students, staff and families,” board president Ben Mackey said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We just gotta do what’s right, and to make our voices heard in this lawsuit is critical for us.”

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced Aug. 9 that, to protect staff and students from the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, Dallas ISD is temporarily requiring all staff, students and visitors to wear masks when on district property.

Did you get yours?

Haven’t gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet? Don’t delay. Dallas ISD is offering a one-time, $500 incentive to fully vaccinated employees. You only have until Nov. 15 to show proof you are fully vaccinated and be eligible to receive the $500.

If you just became fully vaccinated, visit to access the form and provide proof of vaccination.

If you are just going to get your vaccine, note that employees may be eligible for an absence of up to four hours of paid leave per vaccination dose to receive the COVID vaccine. Time will not be deducted from the employee’s paid time off.

Vaccines are widely available throughout Dallas County in health clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and through private medical professionals. For more information about where to find the vaccine, visit or visit Dallas County’s vaccine information page at

If you have submitted your proof of vaccination and are counting on getting the incentive, let us know how you are planning on spending it by writing to Your story could be featured in a future issue of The Beat!