Dr. Nyla Watson, Chief Academic Officer
Dr. Nyla Watson has served the Pearland ISD school community as teacher, principal, and Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Programs. She has been the Teacher of the Year and the Principal of the Year during her tenure.
She is currently serves as a member of Commissioner of Education Mike Morath’s Chief Academic Officer Committee, where she advises the Commissioner and his staff on Texas initiatives as well as items from the Texas Legislature. Dr. Watson is a member of the Pearland Rotary Club and serves on the Board of Directors for the Adult Reading Center.
Dr. Watson earned her bachelor’s degree in business and journalism from Sam Houston State University, master’s degree in education administration from the University of Houston Clear Lake, and her Doctorate in Education Administration from University of Houston.
Dr. La’Kesha Henson-Vaughn, Director of Early Childhood Education
Dr. La’Kesha Henson-Vaughn has served Pearland ISD as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. La’Kesha will provide leadership and guidance to the district’s overall full day Pre-kindergarten program by recruiting students and teachers, providing community and parent programs, and assisting with campus support for facilities and transportation.
She will collaborate with the director of elementary education on programs for pre-emergent readers, curriculum modifications, implementation, and evaluations of instructional programs with teachers and principals. La’Kesha will support campuses in critical areas of necessity, as programs are established according to campuses’ individual needs.
Dr. Henson-Vaughn holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Prairie View A&M University, a master’s degree in educational administration and bachelor’s degree in academic studies both from Sam Houston State University.
Dawn Lyssy, Director of Elementary Instruction
Dawn Lyssy has served as the senior member of the Reading/ELA Curriculum Specialist team and the Balanced Literacy Program for the past fifteen years. As director she provides cohesive structure to the PK-6th grade development of PISD Curriculum and Intervention Initiatives. Dawn’s classroom experience included ESL, GT, and students with special needs. She holds a Master of Curriculum and Instruction and is certified as a Master Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist.
Bonnie Scheidt, Director of Secondary Instruction
Bonnie Scheidt provides leadership to the district’s overall instructional programs for grades 7 - 12 and coordinates content area specialists and curriculum. She plans, evaluates and implements instructional programs with teachers and principals, including learning objectives, instructional strategies and assessment techniques.
Bonnie Scheidt is a former Assistant Principal at Pearland High School and also served as Math Curriculum Specialist for Pearland ISD. She has a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies and Master of Educational Administration.
Brenda O'Banion, High School Math Specialist
Brenda O’Banion comes to Pearland ISD with 26 years of experience in secondary math. She holds a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University. She has served as department chair, TAKS/STAAR team lead/facilitator and new teacher mentor. Her leadership experience ranges from creating and presenting staff developments/trainings and designing curriculum to implementing vertical and horizontal math alignments and disaggregating data for school improvement. In 2009, she was honored to be named Campus Teacher of the Year. O’Banion is committed to collaborating with teachers and administrators to strengthen and improve the district’s math curriculum through mentoring, coaching and presenting/modeling best practices and instructional strategies.
Mandy Trom, Middle and Junior High Math Specialist
Mandy Trom taught elementary and junior high mathematics for 10 years in Pearland ISD. As a teacher, she served as grade level team-leader, participated in curriculum writing, presented at staff development, and was a new teacher mentor. In 2013 and 2015, she earned Campus Teacher of the Year. As a specialist, she provides support and curriculum to all 5-8 mathematics teachers through coaching, mentoring, and district staff development while implementing the district initiatives. Trom holds a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies and a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction, both from University of Houston – Clear Lake.
Jennifer Greer, Elementary Math Specialist
Jennifer Greer taught elementary math for nine years in Alvin and Pearland school districts before becoming an elementary math specialist. As a teacher, Greer served as a team leader, math vertical team leader, math lead teacher and new teacher mentor. In addition, she has presented staff development at both the district and state level. In her current role, Greer oversees the elementary math program, provides coaching/mentoring support and delivers professional development focused on best math teaching practices.
Stephanie Weaver, Elementary Math Specialist
Stephanie Weaver taught elementary and middle school in Pearland ISD for 16 years. Her leadership roles included grade-level and math department team leader. At the district level, she has participated in math curriculum writing and presented at staff development. In 2011, Weaver was a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. As a math specialist, she supports teachers with math initiatives and serves as a math coach.
Reading/English Language Arts
Kimberly Voelkel, PK-1 Specialist
Tiffany Cox, K-6 Specialist
Tiffany started her classroom teacher career being voted by her peers as New Teacher of the Year and has been named Teacher of the Year twice more in her 15 years. Scores of students have benefitted from her expertise in reading and writing, and she has helped many to have their work published in student anthologies. During this time, she also served her peers as Grade Level Team Leader and as Mentor and Coach to new teachers. She was also asked to contribute at the district level for the Curriculum and Instruction Department (C&I) as a Curriculum Writer and Presenter. Now, as a Reading Specialist in the C&I Department, she provides support and curriculum for reading and ELA teachers through coaching and mentoring in their classrooms, district staff developments, and development and implementation of district literacy initiatives.
Toni Holloman, 2-5 Specialist
Pearland is home for Toni Holloman. She was raised here, educated here, and has devoted all 18 of her teaching years as a top-notch instructor in several elementary grades. Her leadership qualities were recognized early, and she was called upon to serve in grade-level team and campus-wide leadership/mentor roles. At the district level, she has also shared her leadership and curriculum knowledge by training others and contributing to the types of Curriculum Development that sets Pearland ISD apart. It was a natural and next step for Toni to join the Curriculum and Instruction Department in 2019, where teachers, administrators, and students will continue to benefit from her expertise and support. As a specialist, she primarily supports Reading/ELA teachers in grades 3-6 through coaching, curriculum development, planning support, and district wide staff developments that she designs and leads. Toni holds a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies and a Master of Education in educational administration – both from University of Houston Clear Lake.
Beth Moore, Middle School and Junior High Specialist
Beth Moore formerly taught all levels of high school English at Dawson High School - English I, English II, English II Pre-AP, English III AP, and English IV. As a teacher, she worked with implementing STAAR intervention plans on her campus to help struggling students, presented curriculum materials, served as grade-level team leader, and participated in curriculum writing. As a specialist, she supports all 7th and 8th English and reading teachers throughout the district through development and implementation of curriculum, leading staff development, and implementing district initiatives. Moore holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction - both from Texas A&M University.
Mindi Cooper, High School Specialist
Mindi Cooper formerly taught English, journalism and dual credit English. Currently, she coordinates curriculum development and implements training for district reading and writing initiatives for grades 9-12. Cooper holds master’s degrees in Literature and Curriculum and Instruction.
Bernadette Dieter, K-6 Specialist
Formerly a middle school science teacher, Bernadette Dieter develops science curriculum and instruction for grades K-5. Analyzing student assessment data, she assists teachers in determining appropriate instructional strategies for critical concepts. In addition, she observes teachers, models lessons and facilitates professional development to integrate best practices in science. Collaborating with junior high and high school science specialists, Dieter keeps science courses aligned vertically and horizontally with state and national science education policies.
Jennifer Lewis, 7-12 Specialist
Jennifer Lewis holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine. Jennifer formerly taught high school Biology, Chemistry, IPC, Aquatic Science, Anatomy and Physiology, and Physics in Pearland ISD and other school districts prior to joining the curriculum team. In her role as Science Specialist, she works with colleagues to design standards-based, vertically aligned science curriculum, provide professional development opportunities, and promote data-driven instructional practices. Her goal is to serve, support, supply and collaborate with junior high and high school science teachers to ensure an equitable, quality science education for all students.
Katie Batenhorst, K-12 Specialist
Katie Batenhorst formerly taught high school social studies and has served as an Academic Instructional Coach at the intermediate level. She works alongside teachers to develop, implement, and assess standards-based learning experiences while promoting equity for all students. In addition, she coordinates the development of TEKS-aligned curriculum and facilitates professional learning opportunities for staff to support district initiatives and instructional best practices. She holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary social science education from the University of Nebraska.
Antonia Sanchez, Dual Language Specialist/Translator
Toni earned her Bachelor of Arts from Houston Baptist University and her Master of Arts from University of St. Thomas. In her years of service to public education, she has taught Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade in Bilingual and Dual Language settings. She also assisted with the training of other teachers as a Team Leader, Mentor and Coach to new teachers, and as a Curriculum Writer and presenter for district-level Staff Development sessions. In her current role as the Curriculum & Instruction Department Specialist for PISD’s Dual Language Program, Toni provides program support as it expands within PISD’s four bilingual elementary schools and in one middle school. She works closely with teachers to ensure best practices in instruction through collaborative curriculum development and training, team level planning, and individual teacher coaching in the classrooms.
Federal Grants and Programs
Donna Tate, Federal Programs/ Grants Administrator
Donna Tate has been an educator for over 20 years, with all but 3 of these in Pearland ISD. She taught high school chemistry and physics in the classroom, before her work in Curriculum & Instruction as Science Specialist for grades 9-12. As the district’s Federal Programs/Grants Administrator, she ensures the effective implementation and compliance with the federal title programs and coordinates state and local grants. She also manages the district’s Instructional Materials Allotment. Donna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Master of Science degree in educational management from the University of Houston, Clear Lake.
Michelle Leggett, Digital Media Specialist
Michelle Leggett is always looking for new and innovative ideas to share with others. She started her educational career at Pearland High School teaching Speech, Debate, Video Technology, and Broadcast Journalism before going to work for NASA Digital Learning Network at the Johnson Space Center, in video conferencing and public relations. Michelle then served as the District Technology Coordinator in Dickinson ISD before returning back to Pearland ISD where she served as an Educational Technology Specialist for the GT Academy. In this position, Michelle works to provide digital access to all online curriculum resources, manages Edgenuity, and serves as an advocate for the district librarians and their online resources. Michelle is an Microsoft Certified Innovative Educator, Certified SymbalooEDU and Edmodo Trainer, and a Classkick Certified Trainer. She holds a bachelor's degree in Speech Communications and Government from Texas A&M University and has a Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Houston Clear Lake.