Manny Espino, Principal
Manny Espino has served as an administrator in Irving ISD for eight years, He was named principal of Houston Middle School in July 2020. He previously served as principal of Barton Elementary School for two years and served the district as an assistant principal at Austin Middle School and MacArthur High School, where he was also dean of students.
Before joining Team Irving, Espino worked in Garland ISD as a fourth- and fifth-grade bilingual teacher and fourth-grade ELAR and Social Studies teacher.
Espino earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University. In addition, he holds a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University - Commerce, and he is working on his doctorate in Educational Leadership at Southwestern College.
Leonardo Contreras, 6th Grade Administrative Liaison
Leonardo Contreras is the Administrative Liaison for Sam Houston Middle School and serves as the sixth-grade Administrator. Mr. Contreras, or Mr. C, brings a very rich and diverse background to his role. He was born and educated in Colombia. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Computer Sciences at Francisco de Paula Santander University and worked as a newspaper layout and production manager in his hometown of Cucuta. After emigrating to the United States, Mr. C decided to begin his professional career in Education. In his first education role, Mr. C helped prepare Spanish-speaking adults for the GED exam. He developed a keen interest in bilingual education and moved into roles at Ft Worth ISD teaching conversational Spanish at the elementary school level. Mr. C joined Irving ISD in 2005 and served 17 years at MacArthur High School as an AP Spanish teacher and district curriculum developer. Most recently, Mr. C served as the Testing Coordinator for MacArthur High School. Mr. Contreras completed his master’s degree in Educational Administration at the University of North Texas, his Bilingual Education Certification on at SMU, and is a graduate of the Irving ISD LEAP program. An explorer at heart, Mr. C loves to travel when he is not working.
Kerrie Tarver, 7th Grade Assistant Principal
Kerrie Tarver is the Assistant Principal at Sam Houston Middle School who's always had a passion for teaching, leading and shaping young minds. She developed her love for teaching at a very young age as an Irving ISD student at Nimitz High School graduate. Ms. Tarver taught 8thth grade Science, where she shaped young minds to thrive in STEM. After three years of teaching Science, Ms. Tarver soon decided to spread her talents in leadership roles over time as a curriculum writer, interventionist, academic specialist, and Dean of Students. Ms. Tarver's educational philosophy is by Benjamin Franklin; "Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me and I learn". She believes in making learning fun and engaging for all students and enjoys leading and growing educators daily as an administrator. In addition, Ms. Tarver enjoys giving back to the same community that has shaped her into the educator she is today! Being the first in her family to receive her Master's Degree, her dream is to encourage students and motivate teachers to change students’ lives.
Celeste Hunt, 8th Grade Assistant Principal
Celeste Hunt is the eighth-grade Assistant Principal at Sam Houston Middle school. Mrs. Hunt brings 15 years of classroom experience to her position. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of North Texas and her Master of Education in Administration from Lamar University. After graduating with her BSW, Mrs. Hunt worked with runaway youth at Promise House and served as Director of Genesis Women’s Shelter.
Deciding to serve the community through education, Mrs. Hunt obtained her teaching certification and holds certification in English Language Arts 4-8 and Special Education PreK-12. In 2013, Mrs. Hunt entered administration as the administrative liaison for Bowie Middle School. The following year, she was promoted to assistant principal. Mrs. Hunt moved to Sam Houston Middle School in 2018 as an assistant principal.
When Mrs. Hunt is not at Sam Houston, she enjoys traveling and cooking with her husband. They have two dogs and two cats.
Ashley Jones, Dean of Students
Ms. Ashley Jones is from Houston, Tx. Ms. Jones graduated from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins TX. with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2011. After graduating from Jarvis, Ashley continued her education and immediately enrolled in Texas A&M University-Texarkana where she received her Master’s of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction and graduated in 2013. After graduating from Texas A&M, Ashley relocated to Dallas, TX in 2013. Her first teaching position was at Harmony Science Academy-Carrollton, where she taught 6th & 8th grade ELAR and Pre-Ap/GT ELAR. While at Harmony, Ashley and others recognized that she had a gift of teaching and reaching students with many different backgrounds and had a special approach of helping students grow academically. During this time, she started the first choir in the entire Harmony Public School system and named the choir Harmony Voices. Ashley has served on the discipline committee, a mentor teacher for the new teachers, 6th grade team leader and the 11th grade SAT prep teacher. While at Harmony, Ashley received the Staff Ambassador Award, won favorite 6th grade teacher two years in a row and was nominated for district teacher of the year in 2018. In 2018, Ashley enrolled in Lamar University where she received her Principal as a Instructional Leader certification and completed the program in 2019. Ashley is currently excited about making Irving ISD her home and serving students and faculty at Sam Houston Middle School, as Dean of Students! This will be her first year in the Texans family and is looking forward to building new relationships with students, teachers, parents and administration! Ashley is now a proud Houston Texan!