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.
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.Continue Reading
Amanda Canales, an RGV native, began her journey as an educator when she became a part-time tour guide at the International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) in 2008. During her time as a tour guide, she was able to explore her abilities and interests in teaching and realized this was her niche.
In 2009, she became the Arts Curriculum Coordinator and by 2010, she became 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 began her journey with IDEA Public Schools in 2011 when she was first hired as the 6th grade World Cultures Teacher. She soon transitioned into High School as the 11th Grade IB DP History of the Americas Teacher and Grade Team Leader. In 2014, she launched her journey as a campus leader as the Assistant Principal of Instruction for the High School and worked as the Assistant Principal of the IB Programme the following year. In 2016, she accepted the role of principal at the Flagship and has continued in that role ever since. Through her varying roles at ICP Donna, she has been able to develop a strong sense of what our campus needs and is able to coach campus leaders and teachers based off of those experiences.Continue Reading
Alberto Castillo was born and raised in Rio Bravo Tamaulipas, Mexico. He immigrated to the United States in 1993. He attended the University of Texas Pan American and received a bachelor’s degree in International Business in 2007.
His academic emphasis was in Business Management. Before coming to IDEA, Alberto worked for Tech Prep of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc .in Harlingen, Texas as administrative assistant from 2000-2004. Prior to that, he worked for South Texas Community College in the Business Math and Science Department supporting the Business Program Chair. Alberto is currently a Senior, Assistant Principal of Operations at IDEA Donna. Alberto began working at IDEA in 2004 as part of the administrative team. He started working in the role of Assistant Principal of Operations at IDEA Donna after graduating in 2007. Alberto has also worked as an Assistant Principal of Operations at IDEA Pharr and worked as Regional Director of Operations at the Head Quarters Office. Alberto is a strong believer in the power of education as transformation tool that changed his life and the lives of others in his family. Alberto has a passion in educating and informing the community about what IDEA can offer not only to children, but their families. He also believes that college is for all regardless of their background and their socioeconomic status.Continue Reading