Spring ISD announces internal promotions and additions to administrative staff

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Ann WestbrooksIn the wake of an internal investigation into transcript discrepancies at Spring ISD that led to the termination of three key administrators and the resignation of eight others, the district announced two internal promotions while also placing seven new staffers into administrative roles.

On March 3, Spring ISD officials announced the appointment of Ann Westbrooks to interim chief financial officer, effective immediately. She has been with the district since 2006 and has held various positions including controller and assistant superintendent of financial services.

Walter Hunt has been promoted to principal of Westfield High School. Hunt has been with the district for more than five years and will now head the school of 3,300 students permanently after being appointed as designated administrator last month.

The district has also appointed Isaac Carrier and Hafedh Azaiez into school leadership positions. Carrier, who joined the district on March 2 as an assistant superintendent of administration, will oversee the district’s high schools. Azaiez will also serve as an assistant superintendent of administration and will oversee middle schools.

Carrier brings 20 years of experience into his new position, having most recently served as executive director of school leadership for Dallas ISD. He also served as an administrator for Aldine and Houston ISDs.

Azaiez’s background includes a 13-year tenure with Houston ISD as a science teacher and as house principal and dean of students at Johnston Middle School. Most recently he’s held posts as principal of Revere Middle School and lead principal for Fonville and Clifton middle schools.

Other appointments announced by the district include the addition of Jennifer Cobb, who will join the district as assistant superintended for research, accountability and testing later in March. Cobb will be transferring from Spring Branch ISD, where she serves as director of program evaluation and research and is responsible for reporting the results of state, federal and district data.

Karen Garrison, director of communications for the 37-campus district, said it was too early for Cobb to start working on a strategy to prevent discrepancies like the recent transcript and testing investigation, which led to the internal disciplinary actions, since she does not assume her new post until later this month.

Options that the district has already identified include making course changes, offering credit by examination and alternative scheduling to help seniors meet state graduation requirements.

“We have been closely working for some time with the students affected to make it possible for them to graduate,” Garrison said.

Other new hires include Kelly Cline, who joined the district in late February as director of federal and state programs, and Marie Mendoza, who brings 25 years of experience to her new position as the district’s multilingual director.

In the areas of human resources and operations, Tameka Williams-Bruce assumed a newly created role as executive director of human resources in mid-February. She oversees employee relations, compensation and benefits and risk management.

Keith Kaup will join the district in April as the director of transportation, overseeing a fleet of close to 300 buses and 160 district vehicles. Since 2004, Kaup has worked with Sheldon ISD as the director of support service, overseeing transportation, emergency operations and security.

Facing budget cuts in 2011, Spring ISD reduced its bus services within the minimum two-mile radius set by the state. As a result, many students were left having to find their own way to school. At the Feb. 10 meeting, the board of trustees heard a presentation from staff regarding the challenges facing students who walk to the district schools and discussed the need for infrastructure and possible state or local funding for safer routes.

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Ariel Carmona Jr. received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and an M.A. in Communications from California State University Fullerton. Ariel has written for the O.C. Register, L.A.N.G. newspapers and AOL’s Patch media. He currently works as a reporter for Spring Klein covering city and education news including Spring ISD.
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