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Elementary and Primary Education
Harris County Department of Education
News Release
Friday, February 02, 2018

Promising Practices for Priority Schools Leadership Summit at HCDE
on Feb. 13 targets turnaround schools

School leaders and experts on turnaround schools gather to strategize for “Promising Practices for Priority Schools” on Feb. 13 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Harris County Department of Education, 6300 Irvington, Houston, Texas. 

Focus or priority schools are Texas schools which are targeted for low graduation rates and low achievement in reading and math. 

“There is a fierce urgency of now to change the trajectory of schools that serve students of color and from poverty,” said Deirdre Williams, officer for Harris County Department of Education’s Educator Certification and Professional Advancement. “This summit will be a safe space for leaders in turnaround schools to share their challenges and to gain insight into addressing those challenges.”

The summit is headlined by national presenter, social-justice authority and author Laurence “Larry” Payne, host of the voice of Dialogue Houston. A panel of school turnaround thought leaders lead discussions on change. A breakout session focuses on instructional leadership.

Moderator for the summit is Deirdre Williams, an HCDE leader credited for her school turnaround work and expertise in developing systems to improve schools. Kelly Brown, associate professor of educational leadership at Lamar University presents on cultural competence, social justice and leading for equity and facilitates the panel discussion.

Turnaround experts include Tory Hill, superintendent of Sweeney Independent School District; Tangela Hughes-Beston, principal at Youens Elementary, Alief ISD; Nicole Moore, chief school officer-south area, Houston ISD; Christopher Pichon, senior director for school administration, Galena Park ISD; and Valerie Vogt, chief academic officer, Lamar Consolidated ISD.

Breakout sessions include RTI, formative assessments, effective turnaround leadership, data-enhanced PLCs, supporting new teachers, and power standards.

Early bird registration for $75 is available until Feb. 6, with a cost of $150 thereafter. To register, go to  (workshop number 11759). For information, email  .

About Harris County Department of Education: HCDE provides special education, therapy services, early education, adult education and after-school programming. Services are funded by government grants, fees and a local property tax rate of $.005195. For every dollar in local property tax collected, HCDE provides $4.40 in services to the 25 Harris County school districts. HCDE also operates four campuses for students with profound special education needs and adjudicated youth who require a low student-teacher ratio and highly structured environment. One-hundred percent of students served on HCDE campuses are at-risk. The organization is governed by an elected board of seven trustees and has 1,060 employees and 33 facilities, including 15 Head Start centers. More info at

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