Get To Know Family And Community Engagement (FACE)
The FACE Department is dedicated to building intentional partnerships to advance student achievement by promoting a welcoming environment, honoring families, and linking activities to learning.
Build TRUST with parents and caregivers.
Be RESPONSIVE to family needs, questions, and issues.
Facilitate parent ACTION AND ADVOCACY.
Establish "two-way" COMMUNICATION channels.
Share KNOWLEDGE with our families proactively and in ways they can easily access.
All families have dreams for their children and want the best for them.
All families have the capacity to support their children's learning.
Families and school/program staff should be equal partners.
The responsibility for building and sustaining partnerships between school, home, and community rests primarily with school staff, especially school leaders.
Najah Callander, FACE Executive Director
Najah Callander, FACE Executive Director, currently serves as Executive Director of Family and Community Engagement at Houston ISD. In this role, she is focused on growing and fostering relationships with community partners and organizations on behalf of the District. Najah leads the work on the district’s family and community engagement, community partnerships and Parent Link teams.
With more than 15 years of experience in community engagement and the non-profit sector, Najah uses her expertise in grant-making, program evaluation, program strategy/design, volunteer management, youth development and partnerships to make significant impact to students and families and support academic success.
A wife and a mom, Najah is also an active volunteer who cares about equity, education, and issues impacting youth and women. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Links, Incorporated, Junior League of Houston and several other organizations that seek to improve the community. Najah holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida A&M University and is a graduate of The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law.
Ally Abdulmajid, M.Ed., FACE Director
Ally Abdulmajid, M.Ed., FACE Director is a native Houstonian and a product of Houston ISD schools, having graduated from Lee High School. Ms. Abdulmajid is an alumnus of the University of Houston where she received a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies EC-6 and holds a graduate degree in Counseling from the University of St. Thomas. She has 11 years of experience in the field of education. Ms. Abdulmajid’s professional experience includes working with parents and families within HISD’s Family and Community Engagement department as well as at the University of Houston, where she supported college students’ success by developing and implementing strategic activities and workshops. Ally also served as a psycho-social coach for Na’ba Organization, where she helped train caseworkers in crisis and trauma counseling. Her experience as an educator and counselor has allowed her to work in culturally diverse settings and with individuals of all ages, primarily young children and adults.
Tyenise Blackmon, FACE Coordinator 2
Tyenise Blackmon, FACE Coordinator 2 has been serving students, families, and the community for over a decade. Through collaborative efforts amongst school district level leadership, campuses, and community she creates new initiatives, further develops programs, and builds relationships to ensure students have the adequate support and resources to maximize their potential. Tyenise started her career in schools facilitating parent/caregiver workshops and coordinating wrap around services for families. Through this work she began fostering relationships with non-profits, small businesses, faith-based entities, and major corporations. This led to advancing her career to district level leadership in family and community engagement at the 7th largest district in Texas. Tyenise also has vast knowledge and experience in the non-profit sector where she provided best practices on how to effectively meet the needs of diverse students bridging the gap between school districts and the neighborhoods they serve.
Tyenise is a public speaker/presenter at the state, regional and national level, served as a family engagement consultant at University of Texas, and been a part of numerous advisory boards, committees, and councils providing expertise on how to build relationships with youth and community stakeholders. She’s received numerous awards and accolades for her innovation and ability to create long-term mutually beneficial partnerships. She is also a member of The George Foundation’s 2023 Excellence for Non-Profit Leadership Program.
If not spending time with her family, she is relaxing at the beach, listening to music, watching UFC, or working out. Tyenise holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in College Station.
Earlandra Junell Ringo, FACE Coordinator 2
Earlandra Junell Ringo, FACE Coordinator 2, was born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Calling Houston home since 2009, she has worked in Fort Bend ISD, Alief ISD, and now HISD. Earlandra graduated with a double major in English and General Studies at McNeese State University. With over 15 years of experience in the education field, Earlandra worked as a behavioral interventionist, where she worked with challenging students; her goal was to let students know, despite their circumstances, they had the ability to be the best. She worked as a classroom teacher, where it was her passion to educate her students to have a love and respect for knowledge for education. She worked for Communities In Schools as a student support manager, where she not only mentored and managed employees but she also led impactful groups for students and built strong partnerships with families and the community.
She is currently a 2nd year member of the HISD Legislative Advisory Committee. She has worked and volunteered at the YMCA, The Boys & Girls Club, The National Wildlife Federation, Various Media Outlets and has worked in the political arena as well. She loves to cook, travel the world, explore different cultures, and spend time with family. Her dedication has been working with children from all walks of life. She believes family engagement is essential for a student’s overall growth and academic success, and it takes a village(community) of people from all walks of life to help our students to be well rounded, versatile human beings who have the ability to know they have everything it takes to take their lives to the next level.
Catalina Caicedo, FACE Program Manager
Ms. Catalina Caicedo, FACE Program Manager, is a bilingual journalist and social communicator from Colombia with certifications in primary education. As a former English learner, she understands the challenges encountered as one moves to a new country and struggles to adapt to a different education system and culture while making an effort to communicate in a new language. During her six years in the United States, Ms. Caicedo has been integrally involved in knowing and supporting the stakeholders that intervene in the implementation of programs that serve a segment of the student community in Harris County, such as administrative officials, teachers, parents, and students at the Houston Independent School District. Ms. Caicedo is certain that it is possible to contribute with ethical criteria, analysis, and research in this growing school district. “I am committed to prepare, plan, and deliver language-rich and rigorous communication presentations and materials; to network with other colleagues and reflect on current practices, strategies and next steps to, not only, surpass the district’s goals but also my department’s goals and objectives and -most importantly-, advocate for the best bilingual and cross-cultural education while progress monitoring our students so they can be empowered and demonstrate mastery of the standards to reach academic success.” Ms. Caicedo is certain that through her background in communication, the skills and strategies acquired while working for the Multilingual Programs department in Houston ISD, and as a communication consultant for West Contra Costa Unified School District in California, she can make a positive impact to build partnerships that support students, families and the department and district’s strengths to reach a full potential.
Olivia Lemon, FACE Specialist
Olivia Lemon, FACE Specialist is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Behavioral & Political Science. Ms. Lemon enjoys all things media, Tv, and Radio. When she is not involved with that, she is somewhere helping the community. Olivia’s mission with FACE is to make sure every student, family, and community member feels supported. Being that she was once a campus FACE Specialist for North Forest High School, her love for Family Engagement runs deep. Her goal for this 2022- 2023 academic school year is for all the schools she serves as the FACE specialist to receive Gold Status or above. Her favorite thing to do in her role is to support her school’s on-campus events. A quote that she lives by is “A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you can’t go anywhere until you fix it”.
Andreina Savelli, FACE Specialist
Andreina Savelli, FACE Specialist was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, she has one brother, and she is the oldest. Ms. Savelli earned a bachelor’s degree In International Studies from the “Universidad Central de Venezuela” in 1993, as well a master’s degree in International Relations from “Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset, Universidad Complutense de Madrid”, Spain in 1998.
Ms. Savelli worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, she entered in 1993 by sitting the Venezuelan Foreign Service exam, ranked 9th out of 200 aspiring candidates. After induction, training was confirmed in the Diplomat rank of Third Secretary, subsequently promoted in the following ranks. Her formal career began as a Venezuelan Foreign Service Officer which lasted for over 18 years. Her first foreign post was in the Venezuelan Embassy in London, United Kingdom, as a Consul; After three years she served as the Venezuelan Consulate in San Juan, Puerto Rico as Deputy Consul. Later, in Romania, as Head (Acting Ambassador) of the Embassy of Venezuela in Bucharest.
In the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Caracas, she worked in different Departments: Human Resources, in this position prepared briefing papers for the Minister and Director regarding personnel requirements in the Ministry, Embassies and Consulates. Andreina also worked in the Protocol Department in Caracas, negotiating processes for venues, goods, and services. Additionally, she develops and maintain relationships with outside vendors, such as hotels, restaurants, and other venues, managed team, assisting with visiting foreign VIPs, accompanying them during their stay and meetings with authorities, following up on their needs and solving their requirements.
Subsequently, Andreina worked with the Vice Minister for European Affairs, dealing with all aspects (political, economic, consular, cultural, investment, tourism) of diplomatic relations between Venezuela and 26 European countries, disseminating Venezuela’s identity and cultural values, letting the world know about Venezuela’s, Foreign Policy, organizing tourism, science and technology and commercial exhibitions, other Government Activities, Official tours, State visits, and different Ceremonies.
Additionally, also assisted with Fairs, and Stands, Business Conferences and press trips. Served as a link between different Government bodies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as official institution leading foreign relations. Also worked in the Cultural Department, updated countries cultural and political profiles.
In December 2010, she arrived to the United States of America, living in Miami, Florida for four years and a half. In 2015, she moved to Houston, Texas and started to work in Klein Independent School District, as a substitute teacher, after three months she gained the Bilingual Family School Liaison position in Klein Intermediate School, starting her career in Education.
Her 7 years’ experience in this position involved engages families and school staff to better understand student needs and providing support to families. She works implementing the Family Engagement Program, planning family workshops, assist mostly immigrant parents who do not speak English fluently in all matters concerned with the schooling of their children, translating, and interpreting for administrators, teachers, and parents so that they may communicate more effectively, contributing to build a trust relationship between families and school. She supports in Parent Teacher Conferences, support in Administrator Home Visits and on the RTI implementation.
Ms. Savelli is excited about bringing her expertise, professional experience and skills to serve the diverse population in Houston and to join and grow with the FACE Department at Houston ISD. Ms. Savelli loves spend time with family and friends, love to travel and meet people from different countries also, she enjoys watching movies.
Virginia Gonzales, FACE Sr. Administrative Assistant
Virginia Gonzales, FACE Sr. Administrative Assistant is a Houstonian HISD aluminite that graduated from Jefferson Davis High School (Northside High School). She has worked with HISD for 5 years beginning as a clerk at a school and moving up to working as an admin at the district level with the Family and Community Engagement Department. When she is not at work Virginia likes reading, traveling, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.