Harlandale ISD welcomes three new principals

Harlandale ISD is proud to welcome new leaders at Adams, Carroll Bell and Rayburn Elementary Schools for the 2019-2020 school year.

“I am excited about the energy our new principals will bring to the campuses,” Harlandale ISD Interim Superintendent Samantha Gallegos said. “All three of their campuses have been very successful, and I look forward to seeing continued success from them and their leadership on their campuses.”

Vanessa Fox-Norton will serve as principal at Adams Elementary School. Fox-Norton comes from San Antonio ISD with 16 years of educational experience. Her roles in education have included English and ESL teachers, athletic coach, academic dean and assistant principal.

“I am looking forward to growing teacher and student leaders at Harlandale ISD,” Fox-Norton said. “I am most passionate about serving our community and children. I have lived in the community for three years and am excited to have my children attend Harlandale public schools.”

Fox-Norton holds a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University, a master’s degree from Lamar University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She enjoys reading, spending time with family and traveling to the Hill County and mountains.

Dr. Gina Christenson is the new principal at Carroll Bell Elementary School. Dr. Christenson has been dedicated to the field of education for 26 years, where she has served as a teacher, an educational specialist and a campus administrator.

Growing up in Roswell, New Mexico, she learned the power and value of education and received her bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in biology from Eastern NM University. Before moving to Texas, she also had the opportunity to teach in Hawaii and North Carolina.  Most recently, Dr. Christenson taught at North East ISD and became an educational specialist at the Education Service Center, Region 20 (ESC-20) in curriculum, accountability, school support, federal programs, and was part of the ESC-20 Educator Coaching Team and Turn Around Team.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Carroll Bell Elementary School, which is known for its dedication to excellence and more importantly the success of children. Our school is beautiful, our students are great, our teachers are fantastic, and our families are phenomenal!” Dr. Christenson said. “This year is going to be amazing as we continue to provide academic experiences that are rigorous, relevant, and help students build relationships while making real-world connections. Along with the teachers and staff, we will all work hard to continue the legacy of success at Carroll Bell Elementary.”

Dr. Christenson holds a master’s degree in science education and a second one in education administration. While acting as a campus administrator, she also earned her Doctorate Degree in Education with an Emphasis in Inquiry, Transformation, and Leadership from Concordia University. 

Dr. Juanita Santos was appointed to serve as principal of Rayburn Elementary School. Dr. Santos began her educational career 26 years ago as a classroom teacher in Lubbock ISD. Most recently, she served as an administrator in Pearland, Texas. She has also taught in Killeen ISD and Lawton Public Schools, and served as an instructional coach and as an assistant principal in Leavenworth USD and Pearland ISD.

“I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to serve the Harlandale community and the Rayburn Elementary families as the next principal,” Dr. Santos said. “I look forward to partnering with the faculty, staff, students and parents at Rayburn in fostering a climate of academic improvement, social and emotional wellness, and safety.”

She believes that when a student feels accepted, safe and supported, true academic improvement takes place.

Dr. Santos earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Tech University, a Master in Educational Leadership degree from the Southwestern Oklahoma State University, a Master in Education from Cameron University, and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas. She enjoys traveling with her family and meeting new people.

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