IDEA Donna

We are an IB World School and also the flagship located in the Rio Grande Valley.

IDEA Donna Titans Mascot


IDEA Donna sets high expectations for every student and goes the extra mile to make sure every student realizes their own potential. Personalized learning, critical thinking skills, mastery of core subjects is our recipe for success.


Year Founded


Students Currently Enrolled

Pre-K – 12

21-22 Grade Levels


Campus Leaders

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Sylvia Verdooren

Principal, IDEA Academy Donna

Sylvia Verdooren was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley.  She attended the University of Texas at San Antonio and received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Systems.

Upon graduation, Sylvia moved to Virginia to work for the United States government as a leadership analyst.  Her work involved providing finished intelligence to policymakers for decisions of national importance.  In 2005, Sylvia decided to come back to the Rio Grande Valley to be closer to family and pursue a career in education. 

From 2006 to 2011 Sylvia worked for the Edinburg Consolidated School District as a 1st and 3rd grade teacher and had a successful record with student achievement. While teaching, she enrolled in the graduate program in educational leadership at the University of Texas at Pan-American and graduated with her masters in 2011. 

In 2011, she joined IDEA Public Schools and started as a second grade teacher and was quickly promoted to an assistant principal. For three years, she served as the assistant principal for IDEA Academy McAllen and completed her final year as a principal in residence at the same school. 

Now as Principal at IDEA Academy Donna, Sylvia plans to work collaboratively with staff, parents, and the community to strengthen a learning environment focused on raising the achievement of all students and preparing them for success in college.  

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Amanda Canales

Principal, IDEA College Prep Donna

Amanda began her journey as an educator when she became a part-time tour guide at the International Museum of Art and Science. Within a few years she was the Education and Public Programs Coordinator.

Through her role as a museum educator, she was able to interact with students of all ages during school tours and summer programs, write TEKS aligned curriculum, and host professional development sessions for teachers. Furthermore, she was able to build partnerships with the surrounding school districts and community members. Her time here also provided her with several leadership opportunities but more importantly solidified her destiny in education. She knew that becoming a lifelong educator was what she wanted for herself.

She has worked as a Middle School World Culture Teacher, 6th grade World Cultures course leader, High School IB DP History of the Americas Teacher, Grade Team Leader, Assistant Principal of Instruction, Assistant Principal of the IB Programme, and ELL Coordinator. Through her varying roles at ICP Donna, she has been able to develop a strong sense of what our campus need and is able to coach campus leaders and teachers based off personal professional experiences. 

A native of Xenia, Ohio, Matt attended a Carroll High School, a private Catholic school with a 98% college acceptance rate at the time. After graduating, Matt attended The Ohio State University where he majored in Economics. During his time in college Matt served as President of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and helped turn a struggling organization into a nationally recognized and awarded fraternity, also receiving individual national recognition as the president or “Grand Master of the Year”. After college, Matt earned his Master’s in Education from Antioch University while also working for the prestigious Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an organization dedicated to reforming education at the national level. These experiences guided Matt’s interest into joining Teach for America, which brought Matt to the Rio Grande Valley. As a Corps Member he taught AP World History at Roma High School and helped re-write the curriculum to align to the AP standards leading to successful results even after he left to join IDEA Public Schools. Matt came to IDEA Pharr after his time in Roma and was the founding AP World History Teacher and as the 10th Grade Team Leader. After leading the district in AP testing results, Matt became an Assistant Principal of Instruction last year and a Principal in Residence this year at IDEA Mission College Prep where he has continued to coach his teachers and prepare IDEA students for college and lifetime success.

Matt currently lives in McAllen, TX with his loving wife, Margie (who also works for IDEA), their daughter Sutton and sons Mykel, Meryk and “baby” John. They are his motivation and drive him to become a better husband, father and servant every day.

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Alberto castillo

Assistant Principal of
Operations, IDEA Donna


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¡Hola! Haga clic en el enlace para acceder al menú para padres de este mes. Por favor considere completar una encuesta breve sobre nuestro menú. Sus comentarios e impresiones sobre nuestro menú se pueden enviar mediante el enlace a derecha. Gracias!