• Secondary ELA

    ELA team photo
    (Front row: Julie Peters, Victoria Gutierrez, Marisa Hartling, Melody Gerard, Kirsten Loomis, Ashlei Evans)
    (Back row: Lois Barker, Karissa Lindsay, Sarah Honroe, Susanna Fontenot, Jonathon Bracksieck, Sandra Sampson, Elisheia Hatcher, LaShonda Adigun, Tracy Celestine, Christi Keelen)

Marisa Hartling, Secondary ELA Director

  • Marisa E. Hartling is a seventeen-year veteran of the Houston ISD. She began her career at Sharpstown Middle School in 2001 where she taught both English and Reading courses and later served as ELA Department Chair. She transitioned from teacher to Curriculum Specialist in 2008 and became Curriculum Manager in 2011. In 2015, she began her new role as the Secondary ELA Curriculum Director, overseeing ELA curriculum and assessments grade 6-12, managing secondary ELA professional learning, and leading Secondary ELA Teachers Development Specialists (TDS).

    Mrs. Hartling has a bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University of Houston, and she is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas where she completed her Master in Education with a Reading Specialist focus in 2009. Upon her graduation, she also received a Distinguished Action-Research Thesis Award. Mrs. Hartling is a member of the International Literacy Association, International Society of Technology in Education, and has served on various advisory boards, including the board of the New Media Consortium Horizon Report.
    Mrs. Hartling's dedication to public education is based upon the belief that all students deserve an education that equips them for success beyond the classroom. She works to ensure students receive rich literacy experiences that foster not only a love for reading and writing but also provide opportunities for students to experiment with language and to develop their identities through diverse literature.

    Email: Marisa.Hartling@houstonisd.org 

Sarah Honore, Curriculum Specialist

  • Sarah Honore started her career in education at HISD’s Austin High School and has both her ELA 8-12 certification and her ESL supplemental certification, as well as a B.A. in English Literature from Indiana University. While teaching at Austin, she earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Houston, and was voted Austin’s Teacher of the Year. After five years at Austin, she transitioned to Yes Prep’s Southeast campus, where she remained for three years. She served as an HISD TDS for a year before spending the last three years as an ELA Instructional Specialist at Waltrip High School. In between and in addition to these positions, Ms. Honroe has written curriculum for adults and children and delivered professional development for Region IV.

Kirsten Loomis, Curriculum Specialist

  • Kirsten Loomis is a seventeen-year veteran of HISD having worked for five years at Navarro Middle, eight at Austin High School, and two at Northside High School before transitioning to the Secondary Curriculum and Development team. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Texas at Tyler and is currently completing a Master degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Her special interests include matching kids with books, current adolescent literature, and curriculum design.

LaSondra Adigun, Teacher Development Specialist

  • LaSondra Adigun is a native Houstonian, a product of HISD, and a proud alumnus of Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions. During her 17 years in education, she has served as a master teacher, mentor, grade level and department chair, new teacher induction coordinator and instructional specialist. These experiences have enabled her to make a positive impact on the lives of students, parents, and staff members of HISD, Humble ISD, and Aldine ISD. Having worked at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, LaSondra brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism with a minor in political science from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Her Master of Education degree is in Educational Administration from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Ms. Adigun believes all young people can learn and need to feel success. This success begins with effective teachers, culturally responsive practices, and a growth mindset.

Lois Barker, Teacher Development Specialist

  • Lois Barker joined Houston ISD in 2013 after six years in Dallas ISD where she worked as a teacher, department chair, and as a mentor teacher on the campus-leadership team. In her role as mentor teacher, she presented at the Austin Summit for High School Transformation, sharing the importance of job-embedded coaching for new teachers. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Midwestern State University in English with a minor in Journalism. Her Master of Education degree is in Curriculum and Instruction: Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington. Currently, Lois is working on her doctoral studies in Organizational Leadership with a track in Learning with New Technology at the Abilene Christian University. Lois is certified in English Language Arts and Reading grades 8-12 and is a certified Google Educator. Her passion lies in transforming professional development and coaching into a virtual experience. She enjoys presenting at local conferences at Region 4.

Monique Boone, Teacher Development Specialist

  • Monique Boone is a graduate of the former M.B. Smiley High School in Houston, Texas. She attended Stephen F. Austin State University for both her undergraduate and graduate Education degrees where she studied to become a certified Master Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist. She holds an English Language Arts and Reading teacher certification as well as a ESL certification. For 10 years, Ms. Boone has taught middle school English, Journalism, and worked as a reading interventionist.  She has also worked as a Digital Learning Coach for 2 years and served as an Instructional Technology Specialist. Ms. Boone enjoys reading extensively, spending time teaching GED classes for Harris County Department of Education, and training other educators around the country in the areas of literacy, best teaching practices, and technology.

Jon Bracksieck, Teacher Development Specialist

  • Jon Bracksieck joined HISD after having worked in many school districts in his eleven years of teaching.  Throughout his tenure, he has served as department chair, curriculum writer, professional development provider, and generally performed all the things teachers do to help instill a love of learning in students.  Mr. Bracksieck stepped into education with a Psychology degree from the University of South Florida.  Following graduation, he joined HISD through the Alternative Certification Program, landing employment on the southwest side of the city at Sharpstown Middle School.  Three years later he moved to Charlottesville, VA to earn a Master’s degree in English education at the University of Virginia. After moving back to Texas, he worked as a classroom teacher for YES Prep, Alief, and Lamar Consolidated school districts. It is in the here and now, in Houston ISD, where he seeks to instill his lifelong educational passion of fostering individualized instruction in the classroom through the workshop model and helping students by getting to know them personally.

Tracy Celestine, Teacher Development Specialist

  • Tracy Celestine joins Houston ISD for the 2017-18 school year after nine years in education.  She began her career as a high school English teacher in 2009 at C.E. King High School in Sheldon ISD in Houston, TX.  During her eight years at C.E. King High School, she taught English I, II, III, IV, English I-Sheltered, and English IV-Transition.  Ms. Celestine also taught English I Pre-IB, and Strategic Writing for one year at Humble High School in Humble ISD. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Houston-Downtown and a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Lamar University.  During her tenure at C.E. King High School, she worked as English IV team lead, mentor teacher, ELA curriculum design team lead, SBDM team member, and RTI campus liaison.  She also completed a one-year principal internship and obtained her K-12 principal’s certification. In 2015, Tracy co-authored a curriculum alignment guide for high school English teachers and community college English instructors.  The guide was published in hopes of increasing college readiness among high school graduates, ensuring a seamless transition from high school to community college, and increasing overall student success. Ms. Celestine believes that teaching is an opportunity for perpetual learning and growth for the student as well as the teacher. In her role as an educator, she hopes to instill a love of learning in her students by creating and developing rigorous and relevant educational experiences.

Melody Gerard, Teacher Development Specialist

  • A Dallas native, Melody Gerard came to Houston to earn her Bachelors of Business Administration at the University of Houston. After enrolling in HISD's Alternative Certification Program, Melody began a teaching career in 2005 at Ortiz Middle School as a 7th grade English teacher. During her time at Ortiz, she also earned a Masters of Public Administration. In 2013, she began teaching 7th grade English at Mickey Leland College Preparatory before joining the Secondary ELA team.

Karissa Lindsay, Teacher Development Specialist

  • Karissa Lindsay started her educational career in HISD in 2008 as an English Language Arts teacher at Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center. Her love for teaching and learning in urban communities was fostered on that campus, and she saw an opportunity to make a wider impact through coaching ELA teachers in the Teacher Development Specialist role. Karissa served as an English Language Arts TDS for three years before leaving to pursue her dream of opening her own business. Her continued passion for educating students and teachers has led her to return to Houston ISD as a TDS. Karissa is passionate about coaching teachers to stretch and grow in their instructional practice, and she considers herself a lifelong advocate for educational equity.

Julie Peters, Teacher Development Specialist

  • Julie Peters joined the HISD Secondary ELA team in 2016 after seven years with Harmony Public Schools where she worked as a teacher, curriculum writer, and assistant principal. A lifelong passion for reading and writing inspired her to seek a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of St. Thomas. Her Master of Education degree is in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas at Tyler. Julie believes that literacy can give us the power to improve our communities and world and seeks to share this with the students of HISD.

Sandra Sampson, Teacher Development Specialist

  • Sandra Sampson offers over 18 years of achievement in developing productive student-centered environments to maximize learning experiences for both teachers and students.  She is a proud graduate and parent of HISD students. During her tenure with HISD, she has been an elementary classroom teacher, a grade-level lead teacher and a grade-level chairperson, as well as serving as a campus-level Literacy Coach.  In 2008, Ms. Sampson transitioned from a campus-level teacher and instructional leader to serve at the district-level in the following capacities:  K-12 Literacy Curriculum Specialist, Instructional Specialist, English Language Arts/Reading Teacher Development Specialist, and English Language Arts Instructional Coach. Ms. Sampson’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Texas Southern University and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading, Grades K-12 from Grand Canyon University. At the start of the 2017-2018 school year, Ms. Sampson transitioned to the position of Secondary ELA/R Teacher Development Specialist (TDS).  Ms. Sampson’s desire is to continue to be a champion for success for all teachers and all students across the district because when they win, we all win. TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!