Goose Creek CISD News
More Than Just a Partner In Education

Susana Muñoz, global management of change coordinator at ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant, is proud that the ExxonMobil Baytown Technology and Engineering Complex (ExxonMobil BTEC) is in its 33rd year of serving as a Partner In Education (PIE) through the Baytown Chamber of Commerce for San Jacinto Elementary School (SJE). She is the liaison between the partners, and her brother Luis Muñoz is the principal at SJE, so they enjoy working together to support students and staff on the campus.


Luis Munoz and sister pose in front of PIE donated garden

Luis Muñoz (left), principal of San Jacinto Elementary School in Goose Creek CISD, works with his sister Susana Muñoz from ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant. Susana Muñoz serves as the liaison between ExxonMobil BTEC and SJE in the Partners In Education program through the Baytown Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Yulia Trujillo-Rodriguez.


The bond between brother and sister as PIE representatives extends far beyond the partnership or just a brother-sister relationship. In 2006, shortly before starting his career in Goose Creek CISD and after two years of dialysis, Luis received the ultimate gift from his sister – a healthy kidney.


“She gave me my life back,” Luis said. “I can work now and have a career. She gave me not only the gift of life, but also the gift of having a future to be able to do what I want to do.”


Luis had noticed his feet swelling after activities such as playing soccer with his friends when he was in high school. The family had no medical insurance, so he never had it checked out. After graduating from Ross S. Sterling High School and attending Lee College, he went to the University of Texas at Austin to major in economics and government. Since he was having some health problems in Austin, he went to the clinic on campus.


“They told me my kidneys were shutting down, and they put me in the hospital for dialysis. The next two years were rough. I went to school as much as I could, but I had dialysis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I graduated from UT, but I wasn’t on schedule,” he said.


When Luis went on the transplant waiting list in 2005, his mother and his sister tested to see if they were a match. His sister was a closer match, and she was willing and able to donate a kidney to her brother.


“I knew that it was the right thing to do, and I wanted to do it,” she said. “It was a little risky, but I knew in my heart that God would take care of me.”


The surgery in January 2006 was successful.


“I immediately felt life and energy coming back into my body,” he said.


While the recovery was a little tougher on Susana, she did bounce back. She has been with ExxonMobil for 10 years now, returning to the place she first worked as a VOE student while in high school at Sterling. She also has had a son, now 12-years-old, since the surgery.


A few months after his kidney transplant, Luis began substitute teaching at Crockett Elementary. He taught eight years at Carver Elementary and became the family involvement coordinator at Ashbel Smith Elementary for 1 ½ years, moving into the assistant principal’s role for the next 5 ½ years. After a year at Horace Mann Junior School as the seventh-grade assistant principal, he returned to SJE, where he once attended school, but this time as the principal. Luis opened the new SJE campus in 2022-2023. He’s come full circle from a bilingual student to the leader of the school with a little help from his sister.


This school year, Luis and Susana started their third year of working together to benefit the students and staff in this state-of-the-art school. Support from ExxonMobil BTEC has included providing Formative, an assessment and data-tracking program; volunteering during STEM Day, bringing breakfast for staff on the first day back at school, “adopting” SJE families every year for Christmas and funding the new Planting Seeds to Grow Giants Garden. Making a difference as Partners In Education is important to the siblings, since after the Muñoz family moved to Baytown from Mexico in 1990, all four children attended SJE as bilingual students, and ExxonMobil BTEC “adopted” their family for Christmas several years.


“Being able to work with San Jacinto Elementary is important for us because we came to the school from Mexico not even knowing English, and we had teachers who helped us learn. I know that many of the children who attend the school are like we were, and they don’t always have opportunities outside of school, so ExxonMobil BTEC wants to give them more opportunities to learn and thrive,” Susana said. “We can at least plant a seed that might inspire the students.”



Three Schools in Goose Creek CISD Recognized as America’s Healthiest Schools for Dedication to Student, Staff, and Family Health

Alamo Elementary, IMPACT Early College High School, and Harlem Elementary nationally recognized for implementing best practices in up to nine health categories.


Three schools across Goose Creek CISD are among the 781 schools nationwide to be named as America’s Healthiest Schools for the 2022-2023 school year. The recognition, awarded by Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation), a leading children’s health organization, honors schools’ dedication to supporting the health and well-being of students, staff, and families.


Alamo elementary poses with americas healthiest schools banner


This year, Alamo Elementary of Goose Creek CISD was recognized in four topic areas, including:

  • Increasing Family & Community Engagement
  • Improving Nutrition & Food Access
  • Implementing Local Wellness Policy
  • Enriching Health Education


Impact ECHS poses with americas healthiest schools banner


IMPACT Early College High School of Goose Creek CISD was recognized in three topic areas, including:

  • Improving Nutrition & Food Access
  • Implementing Local Wellness Policy
  • Supporting School Health Services


Harlem elementary poses with americas healthiest schools banner


Harlem Elementary of Goose Creek CISD was recognized in the topic area for implementing local wellness policy.


“Goose Creek CISD is honored to receive this national recognition for our dedication to supporting the well-being of nearly 24,000 students and 4,000 staff and remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering environments where all members of the school community can learn and thrive, " said Amanda Kennington, GCCISD Healthy Community School Coordinator.


“This year, Healthier Generation continues to meet districts, schools, and educators where they are, recognizing it takes a considerable degree of effort to serve as a model of best practice in whole child health for students, teachers, staff, and community,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at Healthier Generation. “We commend America’s Healthiest Schools for demonstrating resilience and adaptability amid challenging times for our nation’s schools.”


America’s Healthiest Schools remains one of the country’s longest-running, nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in supporting whole child health equity for students, teachers, and staff. Any school can connect with Healthier Generation to access training, resources, and technical assistance by visiting


Visit to view all 781 America’s Healthiest Schools for the 2022-2023 school year.


About Goose Creek CISD

Goose Creek CISD’s mission is “Developing the Whole Child.” Goose Creek CISD develops and enhances each learner’s intellectual, social, and emotional well-being facilitated by a highly qualified team committed to Growth, Community, Collaboration, Innovation, Success and Determination. The district’s vision states, “We empower every student with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a global community.” Goose Creek CISD has identified five major goals in its strategic plan that focus on the following areas: academic performance, community engagement, operational excellence, organizational development, and financial stewardship.


About Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a leading children's health organization that advances equitable whole child health. Driven by our passion to ensure that every mind, every body, and every young person is healthy and ready to succeed, our work has reached over 31 million young people across the country. To learn more and help make a difference, visit and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

San Jacinto Elementary Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Garden

Following an uplifting version of “The Farmer Plants the Seeds” by the second-grade music students, directed by music teacher J. Danny Mejia, Luis Muñoz, principal of San Jacinto Elementary, welcomed those in attendance to the Planting Seeds to Grow Giants Garden Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.


san jacinto principal cuts the ribbon for the new garden

San Jacinto Elementary principal Luis Muñoz (middle, with scissors) prepares to cut the ribbon on the Planting Seeds to Grow Giants Garden, sponsored by ExxonMobil BTEC. Photo by Yulia Trujillo-Rodriguez.


Nicandro Arguello, youth pastor of the Life Church, gave the invocation, and Julian Gerst and Mia Garcia led the pledges to the American and Texas flags. Muñoz introduced special guests, including ExxonMobil Baytown Technology and Engineering Complex (BTEC) representatives Aaron Stryk, Connie Tilton and Susana Muñoz, SJE’s Partner-In-Education through the Baytown Chamber of Commerce and sponsor of the garden. Also in attendance were Clifford Hatch, director of parks and recreation for the City of Baytown; Richard Clem and Jim Campisi, members of the Goose Creek CISD board of trustees; Dr. Randal O’Brien, Goose Creek CISD superintendent; Susan Jackson, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction; Dr. Anthony Price, assistant superintendent of operations officer; Karen Thomas, area executive director and other district administrators.


Also present were Goose Creek CISD Facilities Planning and Construction Department’s Brenda Garcia, Ed Martir and Bruce Riggs, who designed the plans for the garden; Clem Medina from L.A.N; Kami Johnston, agriculture and natural resources coordinator for the Early Learning Academies; SJE staff members and Lalynda Clements, assistant principal; Kirk Ehlig, art teacher, whose students decorated rocks for the garden; Harris County Resources representatives Sonya Fowler, Kristen Ballard, Cherease Glasper and La Danta Jack; MMS Contractors and parents of many of the students.


Patricia Fiess with Harris County Youth Services spoke about her mentorship program, which includes 17 young men who will take care of the garden, including third graders Davis Martinez, Dominic Martinez, Walter Wittmer, Jasiah Bush and Ricardo Rodriguez; fourth graders Ethan Brathwaite, Lorenzo Gonzalez, Matthew Sauceda, Ethan Vega, Trent Williams, Giovanni Hernandez, Spencer Rigby and Malachi Smith and fifth graders Jahsiah Charles, Christian Gibbs, Michael Jackson and Rogelio Rodriguez. Her father, Fidel Tovar, also has volunteered his time to help with the garden.


In the Planting Seeds to Grow Giants Garden, also called the Reflection Garden by the students, each flower bed is named to reflect a specific word, so that people who visit can connect with at least one part of the garden. The names are The Garden of Hope, The Garden of Happiness, The Garden of Friendship, The Garden of Strength, The Garden of Kindness, The Garden of Peace, the Garden of Control, The Garden of Compassion and The Garden of Remembrance.


O’Brien recognized ExxonMobil BTEC, long-time partner to Goose Creek CISD schools, for giving students the opportunity to learn about nurturing the plants and watching them grow.


“I’d like to thank ExxonMobil BTEC for generously donating to this project, which students, staff and the community will enjoy for years to come,” O’Brien said.


Aaron Stryk, public and government affairs manager from ExxonMobil, explained the purpose of the garden.


“I know this garden has been under construction for quite a while now, but I can tell you the idea was germinating several years ago when we found out about the new San Jacinto Elementary campus, and we wanted to figure out some sort of gift that would provide a lasting legacy for the students,” Stryk said. “And I just couldn’t think of a better opportunity to provide this garden, and I think the name of it is perfect as far as Planting Seeds for Growing Giants. And in all honesty, I love the values that they will instill, because, quite honestly, every action, big or small, good or evil, all seeds are going to bear fruit, and I think this one is eventually going to reap a harvest. I think that’s also going to help us to raise up strong men and women of faith and character ready to make a difference in this world.”


Music students Nicholas De La Cruz-Guerrero, Madelain Garcia, Mia Garcia, Julian Gerst, Joselyn Gonzalez, Itsayana Granado Lerma, Florentina Juarez, Arielynn Mora, Rayne Roberston, Olivia Sandoval, Axel Valdivia, Alexia Valenzuela and Eliseo Villeda sang “Growing Smart” to conclude the program. After the ribbon cutting, guests toured the garden.



Highlands Elementary School Receives CATCH Global Foundation Donation

By: Amanda Kennington, Healthy Community School Coordinator

GCCISD Healthy Community School Coordinator, Amanda Kennington, presented Highlands Elementary School with a $500 gift card donated by CATCH Global Foundation.


amanda kennington presents highlands elementary coach and student with CATCH donation

Receiving the prize is Highlands PE Teacher & Certified CATCH PE Community Trainer, Joel Kunz, and student Kendra Earl.


Highlands Elementary was selected in a random drawing to win the CATCH Healthy School Award for parent Tammy Earl's participation in CATCH's Family Engagement: Health Ed Journeys MVP Gameshow. Ms. Earl submitted a photo of her daughter riding a bike for Challenge #1: Show Us How You MVP. The prize also includes a schoolwide license to CATCH's program portfolio for one school year.


Twenty-four K-8 campuses in GCCISD implement the CATCH program and will have additional opportunities to win this fall. GCCISD is proud to partner with CATCH Global Foundation and encourage a healthier community.

Dr. Norma Martinez Selected As Director of Communications

Help us welcome Dr. Norma Martinez, the new Director of Communications for Goose Creek CISD.


Dr Norma Martinez


Norma earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Texas A&M University; a master's degree in educational management and technology with a principal's certification and a doctorate in educational leadership with a superintendent's certification from UHCL. She holds certifications in bilingual education, special education and master technology.


Joining Goose Creek CISD from Katy, Norma most recently served as principal at Memorial Parkway Elementary, focusing on increased parent engagement and communication. Norma also has experience as a junior high and elementary assistant principal as well as an academic support, special education and bilingual teacher.


“I am honored to join Goose Creek CISD’s Community Engagement Team and look forward to the opportunity to grow Giants!”



National History Day Presentation

Steve Koester, director of educational technology, receives a plaque at the regular meeting of the Goose Creek CISD board of trustees in honor of 30 years of working with the National History Day (NHD) program.


Steve Koester receives plaque for years of dedication to history fair

Photo by Carrie Pryor-Newman.


Koester began his career teaching social studies but continued mentoring students, judging at campus history fairs, helping with technology, and driving projects to Washington D.C. for students competing at National History Day as an assistant principal, principal and now director of educational technology. Pictured are (from left) Dr. Randal O'Brien, Goose Creek CISD; Faith Longorio, associate director for social studies and world languages; Koester; Jonathan Lewis; Jessica Lewis and Tiffany Guy, board president. Jessica Lewis was part of Koester's first classroom of NHD students, and Jonathan, her son, and his group, which competed and placed sixth at NHD, received support this year from Koester.

REL High School Hosts Fine Arts Building Ribbon Cutting

By: Susan Passmore

Robert E. Lee High School recently hosted the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Fine Arts Building in front of the school next to the new building. The building, thanks to voter approval of the 2019 bond, houses the band, choir, drill/dance teams and orchestra and replaces the previous building, which had outlasted its useful life cycle.


Dr. Randal OBrien and and Tiffany Guy surrounded by other guests, cut the ribbon

Dr. Randal O’Brien, GCCISD superintendent, welcomed guests to the ribbon cutting for the long-awaited Fine Arts Building. Photo by Carrie Pryor-Newman.


“Giving them a larger, stand-alone building where every student interested in fine arts can call home was a dream that, with the support of the Board, Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, community, business sponsors and Lee High School alumni, we were able to fulfill,” O’Brien said.


LaDarius Ingram from the Lee Orchestra gave the invocation, while Drew Collins and Wyhiem Barnes from the Lee Theatre led the pledges. Ray LaVan, director of fine arts for Goose Creek CISD, recognized guests, including Sarah Graham, Baytown City Council; Richard Clem and Jim Campisi, GCCISD board members; City of Baytown Partners-Planning/Engineering; Citizens Bond Oversight Committee; Lee High School staff and Fine Arts Department; Lee High School alumni; GCCISD Facilities Planning and Construction Department; L.A.N program managers; Marshall Construction Company; Pfluger Architects and the GCCISD Community Engagement Department.


Tiffany Guy, president of the Goose Creek CISD Board of Trustees, delivered remarks from the board.


“The students and staff associated with these fine arts programs put long hours into learning, rehearsing and polishing, often in inclement weather,” Guy said. “They are learning skills they will use throughout their lives, such as time management and teamwork as they reap the rewards of taking pride in a job well done! On behalf of the board of trustees, I want to thank the voters for approving the 2019 bond, which made this beautiful building possible. Thank you, students and staff, for your dedication to fine arts, and I hope you enjoy your new building.”


Earnest Brooks, REL principal and alumnus, thanked the community and Goose Creek CISD for making the Fine Arts Building possible.


Antony McLaughlin from the Lee Theatre, Andrea Barragan from the Lee Band, Jon Villegas-Ortiz from the Lee Choir and Abigail Martinez from the Lee Celebrities each shared their heartfelt feelings about being among the first group of students to have the opportunity to enjoy the Fine Arts Building.


Following a photo of the ribbon cutting, guests took a tour of the building, guided by the students. The building opened its doors to students and staff at the beginning of the school year and will be a source of pride for Robert E. Lee High School fine arts students for years to come.

America’s Navy to Showcase SEAL Virtual Reality Experience at Baytown High Schools

Seeking top students for STEM careers and $180,000 ROTC Scholarship


Robert E. Lee High School students work with the Navy’s virtual reality equipment

Robert E. Lee High School students work with the Navy’s virtual reality equipment. Pictured are (from left) James Blackshear 12th; Josue Gonzalez, Brand Ambassador, and Cinder Naranjo 12th. Photo by Carrie Pyror-Newman.


Navy Outreach and Diversity leaders will visit Robert E. Lee High School on Wednesday, September 6, and Ross S. Sterling High School on Friday, September 8, in search of high-ability students who have what it takes to excel in high-demand STEM fields, such as nuclear engineering, cryptology, IT and health care. The Navy also will share information about its $180,000 ROTC Scholarship Program, which pays full college tuition for students with exceptional academic and leadership credentials. The main attraction will be the Nimitz, a mobile, state-of the-art virtual reality experience that simulates a high-speed extraction of Navy SEALS under fire. Video preview of the Nimitz.


“We are extremely excited to spend time in the Baytown area, meeting with exceptional high school students and faculty, and discussing the great opportunities available in today’s Navy,” says Commander Dominque Jackson, Navy Diversity and Outreach. “It is important for today’s students to understand that a Navy STEM career offers an exceptional future.”


The Nimitz Virtual Reality Experience

So, what exactly happens inside the mobile, 18-wheeler, Nimitz virtual reality experience? Participants go through a video briefing before strapping on an Oculus Rift headset and a piece of wearable technology called a SubPac (traditionally used by Club DJs) that percusses in real time to the sounds of the mission. Participants navigate the mission using a cutting-edge steering wheel and throttle system that replicate the actual sensation of piloting a high-speed SWCC boat while extracting SEALs. Once finished, participants move to the debriefing station, where they receive feedback and a performance grade.


About America’s Navy

With more than 330,000 active-duty Sailors, 290 deployable ships, more than 3,700 aircraft and dozens of bases in the U.S. and across the globe, America's Navy is the largest, most powerful naval force in the world. The opportunities available in today's Navy are as boundless as the sea itself. You can learn more about these opportunities at, and on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, X and LinkedIn.