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Ms. Dueñes - Demonstration Teacher

Nancy Dueñes started her career as an educator in 2004 in El Paso, TX.  After three years as a bilingual teacher, she uprooted and moved to Dallas in 2007 to find new opportunities. Ms. Dueñes taught in grades K-4 as a Bilingual teacher in a self-contained setting for eight years in . She has worked as a literacy instructional coach for five years.  Ms. Dueñes earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (2004) and her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction (2006) from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). She is also a graduate from Southern Methodist University (SMU), where she finished her second master’s degree in Urban Educational Leadership (2021). Ms. Dueñes is a proud parent of 3 Walnut Hill Hawks graduates.

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Ms. Aguilera

I graduated from the University of North Texas in Denton in 2011. I have a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary studies. Majoring in Early Dual Language Childhood Education through sixth grade. I am certified to teach Spanish as well as to teach from EC to High School. I grew up in Zacatecas, Mexico, until I was fourteen years old, then came to live in Dallas, Texas. I have lived here ever since. 

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Ms. Ayers

LuChana Ayers is committed to student success inside and outside of the classroom. She attended University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2001. In 2019, Mrs. Ayers earned a Master of Education from Southern Methodist University with a focus on Learning Therapy and completed her Certified Academic Language Therapy Certification (CALT). Mrs. Ayers started her teaching career in middle school in 2004. In 2012, she joined the Walnut Hill first grade team until she transitioned to the Section 504 and Dyslexia Department. The 2021-2022 school year will be her fourth year providing learning therapy to students with dyslexia using multiple phonics curriculum.  She has dedicated herself to become a life-long learner and strives to instill a similar desire with all her students. She loves to spend quality family time with her two children and husband. 

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Mr. Bear

Pedro Christian Bear Muñoz is a native of Ciudad Juárez Chihuahua, Mexico. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juárez. In 2006, Mr. Bear immigrated to the United States. Before becoming a teacher at Walnut Hill he volunteered as a member of its PTA. He was awarded Volunteer of the Year 2009 by the Dallas School Library Association. This is Mr. Bear’s eleventh year teaching at Walnut Hill where he has taught First Grade Dual Language, Second/Third Dual Language mixed age group, Third grade Dual Language and Second Grade GT Dual Language. He was named Walnut Hill’s teacher of the year for 2013-2014 and is now a DISD TEI Distinguished Teacher. Mr. Bear’s oldest son, Andrés, graduated from Walnut Hill and is currently a sophomore at UT. His youngest son, Braulio, is currently a student at Walnut Hill. Go Hawks!

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Ms. Bowersock

Ms. Bowersock received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and her Master of Education from SMU. She is excited to enter her fourth year of teaching at Walnut Hill Elementary and this will be her first year as a 1st grade teacher. Ms. Bowersock has researched and put into place the most up-to-date educational procedures and principles in classroom management and professional development. She is passionate about teaching and honored to be a part of our youngest students’ entry into education, as their experience in her classroom will pave the way for their future success. 

 

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Ms. Byler

I graduated from The University of North Texas in Denton in 2013. I began my teaching career in Plano ISD. I taught 1st grade, was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2018, and was an Instructional Coach. As a Dallas graduate, I wanted to return to the district to continue growing as an educator. I am excited about starting my 10th year as a Walnut Hill Hawk!  

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Ms. Corrales

Kimberly Corrales began her journey as a proud graduate of DISD in 1990. Soon after, she attended Brookhaven College and received her Associates of Arts and Sciences. She later transferred to the University of North Texas to complete her coursework in teaching and in December 2000 she graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Before working as a teacher, she held a management position at United Parcel Service and was employed there for 16 years. And in 2008 she secured a teaching position with DISD. Walnut Hill has been her home for the past ten years with a total of 12 years teaching experience. On a personal note, she is married, has two daughters, one cat, and a dog. She aspires to write a book one day.

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Ms. Diaz

Lucero Diaz Ortiz earned her bachelor’s degree in Applied Learning and Development: EC-6 Bilingual Generalist and Youth and Community Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Lucero is a Dallas ISD product and has proudly served the district for nine years- teaching 1st- 5th-grade Dual Language Math, Reading Language Arts, Writing, Social Studies, Science, and GT.  Ms. Diaz has served as a DI Coach, UIL Academic Team Coach, Lighthouse Chair, OTI Application Team, Campus Instructional Leadership Team (CILT), Site Based Decision Making (SBDM), and Social Studies Committee (chairperson), Khan Academy Ambassador, and Team Lead. She has also led professional development workshops for the feeder pattern, participated in district writing task force, been a member of the HB3 Reading Academies Advisory Council, has been recognized as a TEI Distinguished Teacher, 2018-2019 campus Teacher of the Year, and has served as a mentor teacher for 1st year and clinical student teachers. Outside of WHILA, she has worked as a professional development facilitator in the international program Education for the Sustainability of the Galapagos Islands, a partnership between the NGO Galapagos Conservancy and the Ministry of Education of Ecuador. For the 2022- 2023 school year, she will be the Gifted and Talented teacher at Walnut Hill International Leadership Academy. During her free time, she enjoys traveling to different parts of the world and learning about diverse cultures and history. Ms. Diaz enjoys hiking outdoors, laying on her hammock, reading a good book, or going on long walks with her dog Benito.

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Ms. Gentry

June Gentry has worked for DISD since 2021. Before joining the district, she was a Surgical Oncology Nurse in Plano, TX. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from South College Nashville and a Bachelor of Science in Education from UNLV. Before becoming a registered nurse, she was an elementary school teacher in Nevada and Tennessee. She is very passionate about the health and well-being of all students. She is excited about joining the Walnut Hill team this year. 

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Mr. Herring

I blew into Texas in 2006 in the winds of Katrina, but before that, I spent most of my life in Southern Mississippi and Southern Louisiana.   My passions are art and cooking, which I feel are the same.  With one, I am creating with colors and shapes and lines; with the other, I am creating with tastes, textures, and colors.  I have been trying to create since before I was walking and feel it is an involuntary action like my heart beating or breathing.  I am a self-taught artist and did not have formal training until I was a senior in high school.  I attended my freshman year at the Columbus College of Art and Design and finished at Southeastern Louisiana University with a degree in Visual Arts focusing on Digital Design.  I am the youngest of five children. I have three older sisters and an older brother.  I prefer to spend most of my free time with my dogs, The Boys.  They are Rocco,a male rat terrier born on Valentine's Day in 2010. I have had him since he was six weeks old, and Arges - The One-Eyed Wonder, a rescue with a mysterious past and a missing eye. We are unsure of his age or breed, but we think he was born in 2012 and is a corgi/ rat terrier mix.  Sadly, my little man, Pedee, passed away in December 2017.  He was a once-in-a-lifetime dog, a rat terrier rescue who picked me out and would not take ‘No’ for an answer.  I got him when he was 22 months old, and he passed away right before he turned 13.  If you find me outside my apartment or away from work, it will probably be at Blue Sushi for happy hour, Alamo Drafthouse for a movie and a meal, a coffee shop, or a grocery store.  I am a HUGE Wonder Woman fan and comic book geek and can trace most of the elements that make me who I am back to the 1970s Wonder Woman TV series and Lynda Carter.  I have been teaching since 2013 and at WHILA since 2022.  GO HAWKS! 

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Ms. Jasso

Ms. Jasso was born in Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, came to the United States 21 years ago, and went to DISD schools from 5th grade to 12th grade, graduating from Molina High School. She has been working as a Teacher Assistant for DISD for nine years. She has been supporting students who need extra support to complete tasks. She has been teaching students Folklorico.  She is married to Salvador and has two children who are currently attending WHILA. She loves to travel and loves spending time with friends and family. She is very excited to be part of WHILA this year. 

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Ms. James

Diane James earned Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education (Grades 1-8) from Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, Illinois), Post Graduate from Texas A&M (Commerce) and Lamar University, English As Second Language (ESL) Certification. I held several Positions and served on various Committees at Walnut Hill, such as: Math Night-Chair, Campus Leadership Instructional Team (CILT), Campus Dyslexia Liaison, Grade Level-Chair, Grades 3-5 STAAR Invention Coach, Texas Math and Science Association (TMSCA) Coach, Mentor for New and Student Teachers, Destination Imagination Coach, and pursuing Distinguished Teacher Recognition (DTR).

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Ms. Lopez, A.

Andrea Lopez is originally from El Salvador. She attended the British Academy of El Salvador from elementary through high school, and graduated in the top 15 percent of her class as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. She moved to the US to start her higher education to become an educator at Texas Christian University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Bilingual Education in 2017. She then graduated Summa Cum Laude from her master’s degree in Special Education in 2018 and felt equipped to start her career as a teacher. Andrea had the opportunity to teach her first year in Fort Worth ISD as a kindergarten dual language teacher in a diverse low-SES elementary school, where she gained incredible insight on classroom management and the importance of building a relationship both with students and families. With her skill set she moved to Dallas to become a teacher at Walnut Hill last year as Kindergarten/First grade teacher in the Gifted and Talented two-way dual program. She is married to Gerardo and has a two-year-old son who she loves immensely. She loves to travel during the summer with her family, especially to visit El Salvador’s beaches. She’s excited to start her second year at Walnut Hill! Go Hawks!

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Ms. Maldonado

Gabriela Maldonado earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas Woman’s University in 2016. She is a proud product of Dallas ISD. The outstanding teachers and mentors that she has had inspired her to be the compassionate person she is. She completed her student teaching here at Walnut Hill Elementary and learned a lot from the great Distinguished Teacher mentors here at the campus.  She is very excited to be part of the Walnut Hill team this year. She is married to Cristian and has a daughter and a son whom she loves very much. She enjoys teaching and will continue to learn about education from her experiences. She loves to travel with her family.

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Ms. Martin

María Martin was born and raised in Venezuela by Spanish parents. Her family taught her of hard work and effort, which she applied to her education once she arrived in Texas 9 years ago. In regards to her education, she earned a bachelor’s degree of Science in Industrial Engineering from IUPLCM University, Venezuela, and her MBA (Masters of Business Administration) in Industry from Universidad Nacional del Tachira, Venezuela. She has Texas Teacher certifications in Bilingual Generalist EC-6, English as a Second Language (ESL), Special Education, and Gifted and Talented. Maria has 8 years of teaching experience in Dallas ISD (all in the Prekindergarten setting), and 4 years serving in Walnut Hill Elementary. 

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Ms. McKenzie

Julie McKenzie has served students at Walnut Hill Elementary for 20 years.  She received Teacher Assistant of the Year in 2007-2008.  Ms. McKenzie has completed various trainings in the areas of early childhood, reading, writing and mathematics.  She is also a member on a number of committees such as; Modern Mile, Hawktoberfest, Sunshine, Pre-K Round Up, Reading Under the Stars, American Education Week, and Campus Beautification Initiative Committee.  She was the Campus Volunteer and Donor Choose Coordinator in 2016-2018.  Ms. McKenzie has assisted a diverse population of students at WHE over the years and continues her education by participating in a variety of professional developments yearly.

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Ms. Menchaca

Madeleine Menchaca is a native from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  She obtained her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and foreign languages from the University of Puerto Rico.  In 2013, she moved to Texas and became a bilingual teacher for Dallas ISD.   During her first years as a bilingual teacher, she taught 2nd and 3rd grade, later realizing that her true passion was to be a Pre-K 4 teacher.  Ms. Menchaca worked at one of the Accelerated Campus Excellence (ACE) schools in west Dallas as part of a team of proficient teachers hired to help schools with an Improvement Required status. After that, she was hired at Walnut Hill, where she has worked as a Pre-K Dual Language teacher going on 4 years, and she loves it!  Ms. Menchaca is certified by the state of Texas as a Bilingual (Spanish) Early Childhood – 6thgrade teacher and is currently recognized as a TEI Distinguished Teacher.  She also holds the Pre-K MMCI Academy certification, ensuring research-based practices and teacher interactions in the early learning classroom. Since joining WHE, she has worked with Dallas ISD and the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) as a cooperative teacher, mentoring clinical student teachers and mentoring new teachers to the district.  She is the chairperson for the Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC), and in addition to teaching, Ms. Menchaca has also been a coach for the UIL Academic Team and helped launch the first Pre-K 4 STEAM Club on campus.  She is part of the Campus Instructional Leadership Team (CILT), where she works to be a key piece in the transformation of our school.  Recently, she participated at the InterACT 2020 Virtual Conference as a panelist for “Resiliency through crisis: A snapshot into the 2020-21 school year in Dallas ISD Early Learning” and was a contributor to the Unidos para Aprender coalition between Univision and Dallas ISD creating instructional content to support at-home learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and creating a support group for families with virtual students in the past year. She was recognized as Teacher of the Year during the 2020 – 2021 school year. 

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Mr. Moseley

This is my 9th year teaching. I have a degree in Elementary Education and a  Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction, as well as ESOL, Gifted, and Science certifications. I love Wonder Woman, video games, and playing my guitar. Teaching is what I was born to do, and I’m very glad and excited to be a 2nd/3rd-grade teacher at Walnut Hill International Leadership Academy!

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Ms. Pandya

Ms. Alma Pandya knew she wanted to be a teacher since the time she was in fifth grade.  Her father build her a small blackboard   she used to teach her Dallas neighbor’s children.  She continued her summer school until the summer after her high school graduation.  She attended University of Houston for one year, then transferred to UTD where she received her Bachelor   Degree in SPED and Spanish in which she received a certification after completing -student teaching requirements at Richardson’s schools. She thaught 2-5 grades Bilingual education at Heather Glen Elementary school in Garland, Texas for 4 years.  After the birth of her sons Anil and Alberto, she decided to take a break from teaching to raise them.  During these years she completed her Master Degree in Bilingual Education at SMU and 23 years, thought Spanish at Sunnyvale ISD and ESL at Richland Community College. She did a lot of volunteer work , traveled, did local and international mission work but after 23 years later she  decided to come back to teach.  She though at Hernandez Elementary  school for three years and has been at Walnut Hill for 4 years . She recently completed her Dyslexia training as a Practitioner Teacher level degree from SMU. Ms. Pandya loves to teach, but also enjoys other activities such as walking, watching international movies traveling, painting and spending a quiet time at home.

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Mr. Pang

I was born in Laredo, Texas, to a single immigrant mother. Having a parent that spoke no English or Spanish in a community that primarily spoke Spanish, he saw the importance of language acquisition from an early age. He fell in love with teaching by being his mother’s teacher and seeing the joy it brought them. After graduating from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2014, he moved to Dallas and began teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts at Dallas ISD in 2017. This is his first year at WHILA, and will teach 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade ELAR. He lives in Addison with his wife Chelsi and their dog Pixie, who are all as excited as can be to join the Walnut Hill family!

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Ms. Perez

Maribel Perez was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. 23 years ago. After her arrival, she began work at a picture frame company and dedicated 21 years of her life to her work. When her eldest son started Pre-k, Maribel began volunteering at the school and enjoyed being there working with students and staff. This sparked a joy in her heart and she returned to school to get her diploma. Last year, she began working at WHE as a Teaching Assistant. She loves her job and is very happy to be able to return this year. She has two sons who currently attend Walnut Hill Elementary and is happy to belong to the Walnut Hill family!

 

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Ms. Ramirez

My name is Liliana Ramirez and I will be teaching Middle school Social Studies at Walnut Hill Pk-8 this year. I was born and raised in EL Paso, Texas. I was teaching elementary before I came to Dallas ISD, so I am new to the district and new to Social Studies. I have a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies 4-8th Science and Math, and a Masters of Arts Degree as a Science Specialist.  My favorite activities are swimming and volleyball.  Finally, I have been teaching for 11 years and one year as a teaching assistant.

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Ms. Song

Ping Song earned her bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature and master’s degree in English & American Literature from China’s Anhui University. Before came to the U.S., Ping had worked as an English teacher for Chinese students and Chinese teacher for the International students in a comprehensive medical university in China for ten years. From 2016-2018, Ping did her full-time student teaching in Ann Arbor Public School Districts while pursuing her master’s degree in teaching world languages to K-12 in Eastern Michigan University. One proud product of this proactive integration of learning and teaching was her 10-lesson theme unit for FLEX (Acronym for Foreign Language in the Elementary School) which was recommended to present as an exemplar at Michigan Association of World Languages annual conference in 2017. Ping is currently working on her third master’s degree in special education and has completed 21credits in autism concentration. Ping has Texas Teacher certification in Languages Other Than English (Mandarin Chinese), English as a Second Language, and Special Education ( EC-12). As a multilingual (Chinese, English, Japanese), Ping has her unique perspective on language acquisition, and language teaching philosophy. Ping is ready to start her third year at Walnut Hill Elementary. Jiā yóu, HAWKS!!

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Mr. Trevino

Luis Trevino is an Engineer in Biotechnology. Throughout college he dedicated a few hours every week as a tutor to help other college students with assignments and tests. Even though he has always been passionate about science, he discovered a new passion in the field of education. He began his career as an educator in 2013 where he taught computer science to preschool and lower elementary students. Seeing how important technology is in the classroom, he worked the following three years making sure computer science became a component of core subjects at his school and not a separate class. Mr. Trevino found a way to explore both of his passions when he became a middle school science teacher in 2016. Mr. Trevino came to DISD to work at Preston Hollow Elementary in 2017 where he served as a 4th grade Science and Math teacher. Mr. Trevino came to Walnut Hill in 2019 and is starting his second year this school year.

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Ms. Vasquez

Cesiah Vasquez is a Pre-K teacher assistant at Walnut Hill Elementary. She was born and raised in Irving, TX. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her son, a 5 year old pug named Mr. Bean. Her favorite hobbies include writing, singing at random times, and exploring coffee shops with her husband. She enjoys humor, food, music, and working with kids. Cesiah is also the Sunday school teacher at her church. She is currently enrolled in college to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. 

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Mr. Vertel

Mr. Vertel began his career as an educator in Bucaramanga, Colombia Public Schools in 2000 where he taught Science, Math and English. During his time in Colombia, Mr. Vertel also worked as a French teacher and played in a First Division Soccer Team. In 2005, Mr. Vertel came to Columbia, South Carolina ISD to work at Dreher HS where he served as AP Spanish Teacher for three years. In 2008 Mr. Vertel Moved to Garland, Texas where he worked as 3-5 self-contained bilingual/Dual Language Teacher for 11 years and coached U6-U15 soccer teams. Mr. Vertel also earned a master’s degree from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Hispano-American Literature. He is very proud to be a new member of the Walnut Hill Hawk family and is looking forward to continuing a tradition of excellence and creating world-class learning experiences for all students. Mr. Vertel resides in Rowlett, TX with his wife Erika, sons Juan (18), and Nick (11).

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Ms. Watson

Janie Watson earned her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A & M University Commerce and her Masters of Educational Leadership and Policy from Southern Methodist University.  Mrs. Watson holds certifications in EC-4, Special Education EC-12, as well as Principal as Instructional Leader for EC-12. She began her career as a general education teacher in kindergarten through third-grade. After being in the general education classroom for 7 years, Mrs. Watson felt a sense of urgency to advocate for higher needs students and became a Special Education teacher. In her previous role, she served as a member of the district's Special Students Services Auditing Committee and as a mentor for novice teachers. In her spare time, Mrs. Watson enjoys reading, taking walks, and traveling with her husband, two daughters, and son. She is very excited to join the Walnut Hill Leadership Academy team where she will continue to strive for equity, excellence, and commitment to all students.