Dr. Nyla Watson, Senior Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Programs
Dr. Nyla Watson began her career as a teacher at Pearland High School. Her service has included PHS principal and associate principal, principal of the Pearland Ninth Grade Center (where her students received the highest scores in Texas on assessments in math and English/language arts) and her current position as the district’s chief instructional officer.
Watson earned her doctorate in educational administration from the University of Houston, master's in humanities from University of Houston-Clear Lake and bachelor’s in education, business and journalism from Sam Houston State University.
Noel Gray, Director of Instructional Programs
Noel Gray provides leadership to the district’s overall instructional program 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.
Gray previously served as Pearland ISD’s coordinator of English/language arts for 10 years. A certified trainer for the Reading Recovery Program, she also has a rich background in elementary and middle school literacy and has presented workshops locally and nationwide.
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
Nicki Booker, K-6 Specialist
Nicki Booker supports Pearland ISD’s Reading Initiatives through development and presentation of district Literacy Courses and training sessions. She also provides literacy coaching alongside the teachers at their campuses. She has taught in regular education and ESL classrooms, and she has provided many on-campus intervention services including ESL, GT, Extended Kindergarten, Title 1, and Reading Recovery. Nicki holds a Master’s degree in reading and is certified as a Reading Specialist, Master Reading Teacher and ESL teacher.
Beth Moore, 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.
Tiffany Cox, K-6 Specialist
Tiffany started her classroom teacher career being voted by her peers as New Teacher of the Year, and has won the Teacher of the Year twice more in her over 13 years in education. 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.
Dawn Lyssy, K-6 Specialist
Dawn Lyssy is the senior member of the Reading/ELA Curriculum team and provides cohesive structure to the PK-6th grade district Balanced Literacy Program and our Reading Specialists. She assists in the development of PISD Curriculum and Intervention Initiatives alongside the Curriculum Director and campus administrators while supporting these initiatives through training and coaching of teachers. Dawn’s classroom experience included ESL, GT, and students with special needs. She holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and is certified as a Master Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist.
Bernadette Dieter, K-5 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.
Jenifer Haecker, 6-8 Specialist
Jenifer Haecker has served as a science specialist for grades 6-8 for more than a decade. She coordinates curriculum development and provides support and staff development for teachers. Collaborating with elementary and high school science specialists, she keeps science courses aligned vertically and horizontally with state and national science education policies. In addition to developing district assessments to help determine appropriate instructional strategies, she supports teachers by planning lessons and modeling best practices in the classroom.
Angela Piedras, 9-12 Specialist
Angela Piedras earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Houston Clear Lake. She taught science at Pearland High School for seven years. During her tenure at PHS, one hundred percent of her students took and passed the AP Biology Exam two of the three years that she taught the course. She earned the Glenda Dawson New Teacher Award at Pearland High School and was selected as a district finalist for this award. In 2010, she served as an assistant coach for the Pearland Lady Oiler Softball 5A State Championship team. After leaving Pearland, she served as Science Instructional Coach for Clear Brook High School in the Clear Creek Independent School District. In this role, she worked with teachers and administrators to improve first-time classroom instruction. She returns "home" to serve the Pearland community. In her role as Science Specialist, she works with colleagues to design high quality curricula, provide professional development opportunities, and promote best practices in instruction. It is her goal to work collaboratively with teachers and support staff to make an impactful difference, one scientist at a time.
Katie Batenhorst, K-12 Specialist
Antonia Sanchez, Dual Language Specialist/Translator
Toni earned her BA from Houston Baptist University and her MA 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’s of Science degree in Chemistry and a Master’s of Science degree in Educational Management from the University of Houston, Clear Lake.
Michelle Leggett, Digital Media Specialist
Michelle Leggett has been in education for over 20 years, always looking for new and innovative ideas to share with others. She taught high school Speech, Debate, Video Technology, and Broadcast Journalism at Pearland High School 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 to her home of Pearland ISD. For the last six years she has served as an Educational Technology Specialist for the GT Academy at Pearland Junior High West and Sablatura Middle School. Michelle is an Microsoft Certified Innovative Educator, Certified SymbalooEDU and Edmodo Trainer, and a Classkick Ambassador. 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.