Degrees and Certifications:

B.A. Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, SMU B.A. Spanish, SMU Master of Liberal Arts, SMU Advanced Graduate Studies Alternative Dispute Resolution, SMU M.Ed. Educational Leadership, Texas A&M Commerce Ed.D. Educational Leadership, SMU

Dr. Nancy A. Bernardino,Ed. D. - Co-Founder & Executive Director

Dr. Nancy Bernardino is the Executive Director for Transformation and Innovation Schools in Dallas ISD. The schools she supports are unique schools that serve as models for innovation in public schools nationwide. In 2016, she founded Solar Preparatory School for Girls where she served as the principal until 2020. As an executive director, Bernardino continues to support Solar Girls as well as the other five single gender schools in Dallas ISD.  Due to her experience with creating unique experiences for students, she also supports non-traditional school models, including: five Montessori schools, Dallas Hybrid Preparatory, iLearn Virtual Academy and Biomedical Preparatory at UT Southwestern.

Prior to opening Solar Prep for Girls, Bernardino was the principal of John Quincy Adams Elementary where she led the campus to achieve the highest designations awarded by the state along with all six distinctions.  As a 17 year resident of southeast Dallas, and 43 year Dallasite, Bernardino is committed to the success and growth of the community, both through her profession and through her civic engagement.

Dr. Bernardino has achieved numerous accolades in her career.  She was recognized by D Magazine in its August 2021 issue as one of 78 women “Making Dallas Great.” Her most recent awards include being recognized as an Emerging Latina Leader by Hispanic 100 and receiving The Profiles in Leadership award from the Southern Methodist University Women’s Symposium. This award honors women who exemplify educating women for social and political leadership.

In December 2019, Dr. Bernardino was recognized as Dallas ISD Principal of the Year.  Additionally, she was awarded the Master Principal designation in Dallas ISD in 2018 and 2019, an honor that is earned by the top 10% of principals for high performance on student achievement and professional practice. 

Dr. Bernardino is an engaged civic and community leader. She serves as a Trustee for the International Coalition of Girls Schools, the leading advocate for girls’ schools around the world. Additionally, Dr. Bernardino is the past president of the Association of Hispanic School Administrators, an organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of Latino leaders in school administration. She also serves on the following non-profit boards: Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Child Care Group, Catch Up and Read, and The Hockaday School.

Dr. Bernardino holds a Master of Education from Texas A&M Commerce as well as the following degrees from Southern Methodist University: Doctorate in Education Leadership, Master of Liberal Arts, Advanced Graduate Studies in Dispute Resolution, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.

She is the proud mother of four boys and spends most of her spare time on the soccer field sidelines cheering them on. Benjamin and Daniel are both in college; Samuel and David are both high schoolers in Dallas ISD.

Nancy A. Bernardino, Ed.D. | Executive Director 

Transformation and Innovation Schools

Strategic Initiatives, Region V

Dallas Independent School District

Administrative Assistant: Priscilla Contreras, pcontreras@dallasisd.org972-925-5941



Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Jennifer Turner, Co-Founder

In 2009, Jennifer moved to Dallas, Texas, and earned her teaching certificate. She became a 5th Grade Science Teacher at DISD’s John Q. Adams Elementary School in Pleasant Grove in South Dallas. In 2013, Jennifer was accepted to a program with Teaching Trust, a Dallas Dallas-based non non-profit whose purpose is to transform education by improving schools. In conjunction with Teaching Trust, and while still working full full-time as a teacher, Jennifer earned her M.Ed. in Education Leadership with Specialization in Urban Schools from Southern Methodist University in 2015.

In 2015, Jennifer transitioned from her role as instructional coach to implementation coordinator to continue the research for Solar Prep. Jennifer studied curriculum for STEAM and SEL to ensure that the school had a great launch.  In 2016, she helped lead the school as assistant principal and all around innovator. 

Because of its passionate staff and students and its ground ground-breaking approach to social social-and-emotional learning, Solar Prep quickly became a success and earned a national reputation. Jennifer played critical roles in all aspects of the school’s development. She was adored by her students, appreciated by parents, and respected by her colleagues. Known for her work ethic, encouragement, and hugs, Jennifer epitomized what it means to be a Solar Fierce Female.