Pre-K 3

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Yolanda Cuellar

Yolanda Cuellar, has over 18 years of experience teaching students in prekindergarten, first and second grade within DISD. She is excited for the upcoming school year and has a strong commitment to supporting her students. Ms. Cuellar is passionate about ensuring all of her students gain the fundamental skills to help them surpass their academic and SEL goals. She utilizes interactive strategies to engage all learners and understands how to meet the learning needs of all learners.  

Favorite Quote: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” - Mother Teresa 

 

Pre-K 4

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Cynthia Acosta

Ms. Acosta is very excited to be a part of the Personalized Learning Preparatory at Sam Houston Elementary School! She feels it will be a fun year full of lot’s of learning and new adventures. Ms. Acosta was born in Dallas but was raised in Garland, Texas. She is the oldest of two, and has one sweet chihuahua-mix puppy. She was a Teacher's Aide in Pre K for a year and absolutely loved it! Soon after she obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies, from Texas Tech University this fall... Go Red Raiders! Ms. Acosta can’t wait to spend the next year learning and growing with you!

Favorite Quote: “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” - Jane Goodall 

 

 

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Arturo Martinez

Mr. Martinez was born in Mexico and moved to the USA in 2001. Mr. Martinez graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2016. He completed a Graduate Certificate in Personalized Learning Methods from Texas Tech University in 2020. Mr. Martinez is currently pursuing a master's degree in Curriculum Instruction with an emphasis on Personalized Learning Methods at TTU. He has experience in Pre-k, Second grade, and 5th grade Science/Social Studies for three years. He loves teaching and empowering students to reach their fullest potential in a personalized learning environment. Mr. Martinez is excited to join the Pre-K team at PL Prep at Sam Houston!
 

Kindergarten

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Carmen Sanchez

Carmen Sanchez has been working with the Dallas Independent School District for 24 years. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Texas at Arlington while working as a paraprofessional.  She began her teaching practice in 2003 as an Early Childhood educator. Since then, she has had the opportunity to mentor upcoming educators and taken on various leadership roles. During the 2017-18 school year she participated in the second cohort of the Innovation in Teaching Fellowship which focused on Personalized and Blended Learning.  She has continued her professional growth in Personalized Learning through a graduate program with Texas Tech.

Favorite Quote: “Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” – Malala Yousafzai

 

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Aumber Effendi

Aumber Effendi graduated from Texas Woman's University with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies. She is very passionate about teaching and will be entering her fourth year teaching this school year.  Over the years, she has taught fifth grade, first grade, second grade, and is excited to teach kindergarten students this year. When she is not teaching she is planning vacations with her family, binge-watching Netflix documentaries, and sitting down a good book to read. She is very excited to be a part of the PL Prep family and see the growth the students make this school year!

Favorite Quote: “I raise up my voice—not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard… We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai

 

 

First Grade

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Cynthia Meraz

Cinthia Meraz Pantoja graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Ms. Meraz feels very fortunate to be part of this great family at Personalized Learning Preparatory at Sam Houston. Personalized Learning is important to her because she is very passionate about helping students develop their strengths and their growth mindset while teaching them in a meaningful and creative way that addresses their specific needs, skills, and interests. She is very excited to start the upcoming school year and welcome all of her new students.

Favorite Quote: "A well-educated mind will always have more questions than answers"-Hellen Keller 

 

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Mary Grace Eades

Mary Grace Eades received her bachelor's degree in early childhood education from The University of South Carolina. After graduating college, she received her Lower/Upper Elementary Montessori certificate. This will be her 6th year in education, with experience in first and second grade. Mary Grace is originally from Ohio, but has lived in South Carolina for the past 16 years. She will be getting married over the summer and moving to Dallas. She enjoys running, crafting, and spending time with her family. Teaching has always been Mary Grace’s passion! She is extremely excited to begin this new journey in Dallas and at PL Prep! 

Favorite Quote: “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou

 

 

Second Grade

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Angie Lee

Angie Lee moved to the U.S. from beautiful Mexico to major in Psychology. After graduating, she became a Teach For America Corps Member and began teaching in 2015. Throughout her time with students, mentor teachers, and leaders she has began to craft an educational philosophy that drives what she does everyday. Ms. Lee believes every child deserves to be educated, with unconditional love, engaging learning opportunities, and patience. She believes every child can succeed when given the necessary tools. Ms. Lee finds joy in growth through humbleness, kindness, and gratitude. 

Favorite Quote: “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” – Frida Kahlo

 

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Lisa McPherson

Lisa McPherson has over 24 years of experience teaching kindergarten, first, second and third grade. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Mrs. McPherson moved to the Dallas metroplex after graduating from Sam Houston State University in 1991. She enjoys traveling to new places, spending time with her family and dog. 

Favorite Quote: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 

 

 

 

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Victoria Provance

Victoria Provance is a Native Texan originally growing up in the Odessa, TX area. She went on to get her Bachelors in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting from Texas Tech University. Working in the insurance industry since then she always found herself drawn to the career of teaching. Through the Dallas ISD Alternative Certification program Victoria was able to obtain certificates in Early Childhood through 6th-grade general education, English as a Second Language, Science of Teaching Reading, and Professional Pedagogy and Responsibilities. Hobbies include walking her two dogs, playing computer games, and trying new restaurants in the Dallas area. She's looking forward to joining PL Prep Sam Houston as a 2nd-grade teacher this year.

Favorite Quote " The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -Eleanor Roosevelt. 

Third and Fourth Grade

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Emily Prieto

Emily Prieto is a recent graduate of Louisiana State University and a Louisiana native. She received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education as well as a certificate in Early Childhood. She grew up as a competitive swimmer and for the past 6 years shes coached numerous swim teams of all ages and skill levels. Her hobbies include reading, swimming, traveling, and exercise. However, teaching is her ultimate passion and it has been a lifelong dream of hers to teach young children, watch them grow, and make a positive impact in their lives. Emily is excited to start this new chapter of her life in Dallas and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Favorite Quote: "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." -Alexander Graham Bell

 

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Sampson Ma

Sampson Ma is a graduate of Texas Tech University. He loves writing, making music, and learning more about amazing things he didn't know about before. This will be his first year in Dallas ISD, and he is excited to join the PL Prep family.

Favorite Quote: "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." -Walt Disney

 

 

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Merced Fletcher

Merced Fletcher graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Education. Upon moving to Texas three years ago, she received teaching certificates in SPED and EC-6 through Texas Teachers of America. Over the years, Merced has taught prekindergarten, kindergarten and second grade. Personalized Learning is important to her because it allows students to take ownership of their learning and grow in an environment that is tailored to fit their individual needs.

Favorite Quote: "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." - Oscar Wilde

 

Third/Fourth Grade Bilingual

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Juan Moreno

Juan Carlos Moreno Marban has a bachelors degree in business administration from Mexico and graduated from UVM-Laureate International Universities. He was awarded Premio Ceneval when he graduated college which is given to the top 3% of the field in the country. Mr. Moreno feels that we, as individuals have different aspirations, goals, mindsets and learning styles amongst other things, each person is unique and personalized learning allows me as an educator to tailor my instruction according to his students needs.

Favorite Quote: "Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value." -Albert Einstein

 

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Valdemar Gomez Garcia

Valdemar Gomez Garcia has a combined 18 years of experience as an educator in Dallas TX and abroad, including as a bilingual teacher in Dallas ISD since 2010. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Teacher since 2014. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Educational Psychology from Centro de Estudios Universitarios in his native Mexico, and a Master's degree in Social Work from Texas A&M Commerce. He studied philosophy and theology in France at École Saint-Jean, Institut Privé. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Theology at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Connecticut. Valdemar has recently published articles of a philosophical-theological nature in the journal SPES.lat. Valdemar enjoys traveling the world and learning about new cultures.

Mr. Gomez Garcia reflects on his teaching experience as follows: "I always use a strengths-

based perspective to meet each of my students where they are currently at. Without ignoring their perceived deficits, I act on their strengths and environment. To which my students have consistently responded by showing interest in my teaching and their learning, respect for themselves and others, and high expectations of themselves.

Valdemar strives to shape his whole life by adhering to the following principle: "The truth shall set you free (Jesus Christ, John 8:32)". From which he understands that, as an educator "It is better to enlighten than to simply shine, to give to others the truths contemplated than to simply contemplate (St. Thomas Aquinas)".

Favorite Quote:‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.’ ― William Arthur Ward

Fifth Grade

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Mayra Valencia

Mayra Valencia is from Venezuela, but part of her heart belongs to Colombia as well since all of her family is Colombian and she lived in that beautiful country for many years. She moved to Texas about fourteen years ago and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Mrs. Valencia has taught elementary students for five years and feels fortunate to work at a PL campus since it is a great opportunity to accelerate students learning by differentiating instruction based on their needs, skills and interests.  She is always looking for opportunities of growth so she can serve her students better.

Favorite Quote: "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Nelson Mandela

 

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Dominique Willard-Ibe

Dominique Willard-Ibe is from San Antonio, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University, College Station. Over the past two years, Dominique is an experienced early learning educator and is excited to work with fifth-grade students this year. She has attained certifications as an EC-6 Generalist teacher, 4-8 Math/Science teacher, and EC-12 Health teacher. She is passionate about teaching and personalizing instruction for all learners. She enjoys working with students of all ages and seeing them excel. Dominique is excited to join the PL Prep Sam Houston Team!

 
Favorite Quote: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education” – Martin Luther King

Special Education

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Lee Cunningham

Lee Cunningham is an experienced educator with a passion for ensuring all students attain academic success. As an experienced special education educator, classroom teacher, and intervention coach, she understands how to personalize instruction to assist students with reaching their goals. Mrs. Cunningham is an advocate for personalized learning because she believes it is important to help all students learn skills and strategies they can use to take ownership of their learning. 

Favorite Quote: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” --Anne Frank

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Thai Blyden

Thai Blyden has taught for 8 years, she is so excited to be a part of an amazing team! She looks forward to learning from the PL Prep team at Sam Houston! Thai graduated from California State University San Bernardino with a BA in Psychology and a BA in Child Development. She earned her teaching credential at University of Redlands. She taught in California for 5 years then moved to Florida and taught for 2.5 years. She moved to Texas in December 2019. 

Her teaching philosophy is “Every student has the right to a quality education.” The way that each student learns varies from student to student. She believes that students learn best when they are highly engaged. With our 21st century technological advances, students have an abundance of tools to keep them engaged and allow them to learn successfully. Her goal is to teach with these tools with a focus on a standards based curriculum. She is looking forward to an amazing year!

Favorite Quote: "The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere." -Barack Obama

 

 

Specials

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Mbemba "Coach" Nseka

Coach Nseka is the physical education teacher at Pl Prep. He studied Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Arlington, GO MAVS!!! He is very excited to work together this year to help you begin your journey to having a life long active lifestyle. He is ecited to learn and grow alongside you this school year! Personalized learning is important to him because every student deserves to be different and not one individual is like any other. It is only fitting that every student should learn the way that fit their needs, and that is exactly what we do at Pl Prep.

Favorite quote: “Every master was once a beginner; every Pro was once an amateur.”- Robin S. Sharma

 

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Darren Rome

My name is Darren Rome and I am thrilled to be the new music teacher at Sam Houston Elementary for the 2019-2020 school year!  I received my Bachelors of Music Education from Louisiana State University and am currently completing my Masters of Music in Music Education at Southern Methodist University.  This school year will be my eleventh year of teaching music in Texas.  Personalized Learning has allowed for both me and my students to experiment with songwriting and making music using modern band instruments (guitar, ukulele, keyboard, drums, etc.).

Favorite Quote: “A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures in silence.” ― Leopold Stokowski