Danielle Petters, Principal
The University of Texas, ME: Educational Administration
Southern Methodist University, BA: English
Danielle Petters, Principal of H. Grady Spruce High, has dedicated her professional career to transforming urban schools from within. She has experience at all levels of the K-12 continuum, serving as an ESL teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School, Assistant Principal at J.T. Saldivar Elementary, and Principal at F.P. Caillet Elementary and J. L. Long Middle School. At each campus she has led, Danielle has significantly increased enrollment and brought in programs tailored to each community. She implemented 2-Way Dual Language at Caillet, led J. L. Long to be the first International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme World School in Dallas ISD, and has ushered in the first CTE Early College High School in North Texas at Spruce.
Working her way through college as a fashion model, she lived and worked in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany while earning her BA in English from SMU, subsequently earning her ESL teaching certification through DISD’s Alternative Certification program. After teaching for 7 years, she earned her ME in Educational Administration through DISD’s Fast Track leadership development collaboration with the UT. Danielle has served as a campus administrator for 20 years, mentoring new principals and prospective principals, and serving on district-level advisory committees, including the Superintendent’s Focus Group, curriculum, technology, and budget.
Danielle is a Dallas native and the oldest of 7 siblings who all graduated from Woodrow, where she later returned as a teacher. Both of her children attended Dallas ISD schools including the middle school she led and the high school she graduated from. Danielle enjoys digging in her garden, playing soccer, and reading.Ricky Azantilow, Assistant PrincipalRAzantilow@dallasisd.org
Prairie View A&M University, ME: Educational Administration
Fisk University, BA: Psychology
Tyler Junior College, AS: Health and Kinesiology
Ricky Azantilow was born in London England to parents of Jamaican descent and moved to New Orleans at the age of 13. He played collegiate basketball at Tyler Junior College and Middle Tennessee State, as well as professional basketball in Europe for 2 years. Ricky graduated from Fisk University in 2000 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology. He embarked on his experience as an educator as a Physical Education teacher and subsequently graduated with his Masters in Educational Administration in 2007 from Prairie View A&M University.
In his 15 years as a campus administrator, Ricky has pursued excellence at both elementary and middle school levels. Ricky helped lead Bushman Elementary School to it first “Recognized” state accountability rating. He also played an instrumental role in the opening of Balch Springs Middle School and its transformation 4 years later to the first comprehensive all-girls school (Young Women’s S.T.E.A.M. Academy at Balch Springs) in Dallas ISD where students consistently lead the district in academic success.Ricky enjoys watching sport events, traveling, and spending time with his daughter Chloe. He is an avid sneaker collector and currently has over 150 pairs in his collection. Ricky is excited about joining the Spruce family and being a part of the journey towards greatness.Tiffany Cameron, Assistant PrincipalTCAMERON@dallasisd.orgUniversity of Houston-Clear Lake, MS: Educational Management
Southern University A & M College, BS: Secondary English Education
After 2 years as Spruce’s Campus Testing Coordinator, Tiffany P. Cameron is excited to continue serving the Spruce community as she transitions to Assistant Principal where she will lead the Science, Reading, and Finance Departments
Tiffany was born in Natchez, MS and has been an educator for 14 years. After graduating college, she began her educational career as an English teacher at an alternative school for overaged students. After 3 years, she moved to Houston, TX and began teaching English I and II. It is during this time that she earned her Master’s degree and principal certification. In 2010, Tiffany relocated to Dallas ISD and continued her mission to promote literacy as the foundation for academic progress. She has worked in various secondary instructional, leadership, and support roles that have readily prepared her and developed her skills for collaborating and building successful teachers and students. Some of those roles include Program Development Specialist, ELAR Instructional Coach, Districtwide Testing Coordinator, and Middle School Assistant Principal. Currently, she is working to obtain a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M Commerce.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, shopping, and football. As a season ticket holder, she spends every Sunday cheering on her Cowboys. Her life’s motto is a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” because it reminds her that the ultimate goal is to be a servant leader and strive to help everyone in all walks of life.Rocio Gardea, Associate Principal
The University of Texas, ME: Educational Administration
Columbia University, BA: Anthropology and Minor in Education
Rocio Gardea grew up in Oak Cliff, Texas and is a product of the Dallas Independent School District. After graduating as valedictorian, she went on to attend Columbia University in the busy city of New York. Her parents are both from Mexico and she is proud to add that her first language was not English. She has worked in DISD since 2009 as a bilingual elementary teacher and a campus Academic Coordinator. In 2013, she was selected as a Principal Fellow in the district’s leadership academy where she worked with North Dallas High School. Rocio is now going into her 4th year as an Assistant Principal at Spruce and continuing her work with the Pleasant Grove community.
Rocio enjoys movie nights with her husband, Hector, and showing off her precious new baby boy, Hector A. Gardea III, or “Trino,” for short. She has too many dogs to name them here and her favorite animal is the panda. She actually has a collection of over a hundred panda paraphernalia. One of her greatest accomplishments at Spruce is leading the charge to improve the graduation rate at Spruce which was below 75% and now lands squarely in the 90’s. This school year she is looking forward to leading the math department to even greater gains and building one of the best counseling teams in DISD.Patria Jackson, Assistant PrincipalSouthern Methodist University, MEd: Educational Leadership-Urban School Leadership
Southern Methodist University, BA: Communications/ Public Relations and Political Science
Patria Jackson is native of Dallas, TX and a proud product of the Dallas Independent School District. Growing up in Oak Cliff, she graduated from Lincoln High School, where she learned the value of hard work and pride and where her teachers encouraged her to be a “catalyst for change.” Patria joined Spruce in July 2016, as an Assistant Principal and actively supports the English Language Arts Department as well as the Spruce NAF Academy of Engineering.
In 2008 Patria began her teaching career through Teach for America in Washington D.C. Prior to transitioning into administration, Patria served as a classroom teacher, an Instructional Coach, and as a member of the campus’ Guiding Coalition. Patria has participated in The Teaching Trust Executive Ed and Aspiring Leaders Programs. In addition, she was honored to be selected by her peers as Campus Teacher of the Year for 2014-2015. Patria has extensive experience in the international education area, participating in two Fulbright Seminars on Education in Colombia & Mexico, Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad (2012), and the Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for ESD Program (2011). Each experience provided her the opportunity to explore culture and community impacts on education.
Patria is an avid reader, enjoys exercising, baking, and traveling. She is excited to continue her career in education, and believes that every child deserves the opportunity to obtain an excellent education regardless of their zip code. Her favorite thing about Spruce is seeing the excitement of Timberwolves and Apache Alumni side by side cheering on the MIGHTY RED & BLUE!!!Ashley Toole, Special Education Assistant PrincipalIndiana University BS: Business Economics and Public Policy with Honors
Southern Methodist University, M.Ed.: Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Urban Schools
Ashley Toole joined H. Grady Spruce in July 2015, following four years of service at J.L. Long Middle School in Dallas ISD. Her career began with Teach for America as a Special Education teacher before being named a Math and Science Instructional Coach. She is excited to work with the Special Education department, attendance office and new teachers this year!
Ashley grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University, with Honors, in Business Economics and Public Policy and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Urban Schools from Southern Methodist University in partnership with the Teaching Trust organization.
Ashley firmly believes that a great teacher can be the difference maker for students and that every student should have the ability and the option to attend a 4-year College or University. She gives and seeks feedback, relentlessly collects and analyzes data, and believes in collaborative decision-making with her teams.
Watch out! Ashley is highly competitive, hates to lose, and can be counted on to turn everything into a game or competition. During her free time, Ashley enjoys reading, playing volleyball, golfing, billiards, travelling with her fiance’ Matt, spending time with her two dogs Finn and Cosby, and looking at excel spreadsheets.Alan Varney, Early College High School PrincipalBentley College BS: Computer Information Systems
University of Massachusetts, ME: Educational Administration
University of Texas, ME: School Leadership and Policy
Alan Varney came to H. Grady Spruce as an Assistant Principal in 2015 charged with overseeing the first Career and Technical Education Early College High School in Dallas ISD.
Born in Boston Massachusetts, Alan has been in the field of education since 2002 preceded by three years in IT. He began his career teaching Social Studies at Cambridge Rindge and Latin in 2003. Alan moved to Dallas, Texas in 2004 where his future wife was raised. Hired by Skyline High School, he worked as a Social Studies teacher until 2008, where he was nominated as a National Disney Teacher of the Year. He then began work in the Dallas ISD Social Studies Department as a campus instructional coach where he supported 5 middle schools, including Comstock and Florence, that averaged over 7% gains on the U.S. History TAKS from 2009-2011. Alan also collaborated with Social Studies educators across Texas to re-write the World Geography TEKS for the Texas Education Agency. In 2011 he returned to the classroom as a founding member of the A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School. He taught humanities in a Project Based Learning-integrated classroom and supported teacher growth as a Teacher Advancement Program Mentor Teacher. Alan is an avid fan of Boston sports and Metallica’s music. He currently resides in Dallas with his wife Bonnie and his two dogs Webster and Kali.