Earlier this month, The Leader profiled new principals Michael Niggli at Waltrip High School and Sarah McDonald at St. Ambrose. But those are not the only new heads of school in the area. Rhonda Honore was named the principal at Frank Black Middle School and Melba Heredia Johnson is the new leader at Love Elementary.
Honore said that the reason she wanted to apply for the job at FBMS was because of its previous successes.
“FBMS is an exemplar model of the impact an effective school and community partnership can have on the success of the students and teachers at the school,” she said. “This partnership gives students an amazing middle school experience where academic and social needs are met for every student.”
Honore comes to FBMS from Reynolds Elementary where she was principal, and while she says that there is an obvious difference in the number of students and staff members between the two, there are also commonalities.
“Both levels are different, yet play an important role in a child’s educational journey,” she said. “Elementary school teaches and develops the basic social and foundational academic skills. The middle school builds upon that development by increasing thinking skills and providing a platform for students to take more ownership in their learning and social development.”
Her previous experience includes teaching, and serving as a science content specialist and as a math and science teacher development specialist. Honore says that she is a coach at heart.
“My previous roles have allowed me to build a skillset of coaching teachers to build their instructional capacity that will improve student outcomes,” said Honore. “Moving into the leadership role at FBMS, my goal is to continue to increase instructional practices that will lead to increased student achievement. My background experiences will allow me to be the catalyst for continued success at FBMS.”
Honore has been praised by colleagues for her ability to improve outcomes for all students, in particular those who come from less affluent backgrounds. She recognizes that as with every school in HISD, there are students who come from all walks of life.
“My theme for the upcoming school year is ‘every kid, every day’,” she said. “This theme speaks to the work that will be done on campus this year to meet the needs of all of our students no matter their background, socio-economic status, and academic levels.”
She said that FBMS will enhance the current systems in place that address the academic and social needs of students with targeted and intensive interventions, meet the social and emotional needs of all students, provide support and resources for teachers to ensure these goals are met, and partner with all stakeholders for input.
In three years, Honore’s goal is for FBMS to be the premiere middle school in HISD. She wants to have more parents represented in the partnership between the PTO and the school and to create more collaboration with community businesses.
“Greater partnerships equate to greater school success,” Honore said. “We will continue to add on to our extracurricular opportunities for students, and provide more advanced courses for our Vanguard students. FBMS will build our staff with more highly effective teachers and leaders, [and] provide opportunities where all students experience success. These advancements will increase our student enrollment and campus success.”
Melba Heredia Johnson comes to Love from Sherman Elementary, where she served as principal last year.
An HISD press release said that Heredia Johnson has served HISD for 17 years as a bilingual teacher and professional development specialist in early childhood education.
Since 2013 she has worked at Sherman as assistant principal, teacher specialist, and teacher development specialist.
In addition, Heredia Johnson has 30 years of experience as a flamenco and folkloric dancer with the Houston Symphony and Houston Grand Opera. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Houston Baptist University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas.
Look for a Q & A with Heredia Johnson in an upcoming edition.