Back to top

Introducing the Ellevation Texas Team

Texas has been a leader in ensuring that educators and stakeholders collaborate to make decisions about ELLs. In 2014 when we implemented Ellevation in Harlandale ISD, our first district partner in the state, it was clear that we needed to hire the best, listen and learn, and continue to innovate. And today, with more than 80 district partners in the state, this commitment has only grown.

Arnoldo Rodriguez, M.Ed.

Arnoldo is a Partner Development Manager at Ellevation and currently resides in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas.

With 16 years in the public schools and 26 years with a variety of companies focused on instructional solutions, Arnoldo has committed his professional career to supporting ELLs. He has been a bilingual teacher, a campus principal in campuses with majority ELL populations, a central office administrator, and an adjunct instructor. Arnoldo received a BS in bilingual-bicultural education from Saint Edward's University and a Masters of Education in Education Administration from Pan American University, now UTRGV.

Email Arnoldo

Courtney Weber, M.Ed.

Courtney is a Partner Support Manager at Ellevation and currently resides in Austin, TX.

Though born and raised in Missouri, Courtney has lived in Texas for over 20 years and considers herself to be a Texan at heart. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Texas Tech University. Prior to Ellevation, Courtney taught in Pflugerville ISD for eight years and helped expand the district's high school ESL Newcomer Center. She then moved to the district level where she served as a Sheltered Instruction and LPAC Specialist.

Email Courtney

Lauren Dill, Ed.D.

Lauren is a Senior Engagement Director at Ellevation and currently resides in Dallas, TX.

Lauren began her career as a bilingual educator and quickly moved into district leadership where she helped formulate policies and procedures that positively impacted the lives of ELLs. She has served on the North Central Texas ASCD Board as well as Texas Association of Bilingual Education. Lauren earned her Doctorate of Education and has 10 years of service to Texas public schools.

Email Lauren

Heather Pollack, M.Ed.

Heather Pollack is a Training Solutions Manager at Ellevation and currently resides in Katy, TX.

Prior to Ellevation, Heather was an elementary ESL teacher for seven years, a professional development manager for five years, and an assistant principal/principal interim for 3.5 years for Houston ISD. Heather holds a B.A. in English Literature from University of Houston and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Lamar University.

Email Heather

Christina Estes, M.Ed.

Christina Estes is a Senior Implementation Manager at Ellevation and currently resides in Houston, TX.

Previously, she worked in Texas public schools for 14 years as an ELL teacher, instructional coach and professional development specialist. Christina holds a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M University - Central Texas.

Email Christina

Denise Martinez, M.Ed.

Denise Martinez is the Director of Training at Ellevation and currently resides in Houston, TX.

Previously, Denise worked in Houston ISD for 18 years as a classroom teacher and a leader of teacher development. She also taught pedagogy in higher education for ten years as an adjunct professor. A born and raised Texan, Denise graduated from the University of Texas Austin and has a masters [MEd] from the University of Houston in Curriculum & Instruction.

Email Denise

Lauren Hagler, M.Ed.

Lauren Hagler is the Operations Manager for the Training Solutions Team at Ellevation and currently resides in Houston, TX. 

Prior to Ellevation, Lauren spent four years working in higher education administration at the University of Houston and Rice University. Lauren received her Masters of Adult and Higher Education (M.Ed) from the University of Houston-Victoria.

Email Lauren

Hirva Raj

Hirva Raj is a Partner Development Manager at Ellevation and currently lives in Houston, TX.

With over 16 years of experience of working with school districts, Hirva is always focused on being an advocate for student achievement. Hirva is a first generation EL, received her degree in mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin, bleeds burnt orange, is a mother of two amazing boys, and loves doing what is best for all kids, every time.

Email Hirva

Glenda Almonte, M.Ed.

Glenda Almonte is a Partner Success Manager at Ellevation and currently lives in Houston, Texas.  

She is the child of two Dominican immigrants and a native Spanish speaker.  She’s a proud graduate of Milton Hershey School and Rutgers University, which is where she received her Master’s degree in Education.  She has taught high school English, Adult ESL classes and College level English and has been in the industry for 15 years.

Email Glenda

Michael Makidon, Ph.D.

Michael is an Engagement Director at Ellevation and currently resides in Dallas, TX.

Michael began his career as an ESL educator and LPAC teacher. After eight years in the classroom, Michael moved into district leadership where he supervised a team of curriculum writers, led key district initiatives, and helped oversee the Ellevation platform and Strategies K-12 implementation, training, and configuration in one of the largest school districts in Texas. Michael has also served as a visiting professor in Guatemala and helped design and launch a Spanish online program in a well-established graduate institution. Michael earned his Ph.D. and has 11 years of service to Texas public schools.

Email Michael

Demetrius Johnson, M.S.

Demetrius Johnson is a Training Solutions Manager at Ellevation and currently resides in Humble, TX.

Prior to Ellevation, Demetrius spent 9 years in the education field as a teacher, coordinator, and online PD designer. Demetrius holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern and an M.S. in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University. 

Email Demetrius

Ariadne Paredes

Ariadne is a Training Solutions Manager at Ellevation Education and currently resides in Houston, TX.

Raised in Venezuela, Ari moved to the US as soon as she began her higher education studies. She initiated her career in education through Teach for America and has developed experience teaching Dual Language, Bilingual, and ESL students since then. Prior to joining Ellevation, she also served as a Multilingual Programs Specialist for the Houston ISD Multilingual Programs Department, where she led PD and training for the Secondary Division. She currently holds a B.A in International Political Economy and is now planning to complete her MBA in 2018.

Email Ari

Jen Baird

Jen is an Instructional Consultant at Ellevation and currently resides in Dallas, TX.

Born and raised in San Antonio, TX, Jen graduated from Texas A&M University and began her professional path in the classroom as an English Language Arts and ESL teacher. She served students and educators as an LPAC Lead Teacher, ESL Case Manager, and ESL Department Lead before moving to the district level as an Instructional Specialist for the Department of English Language Learners. Jen has earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership with a Principal License from Stephen F. Austin with plans to continue learning and advocating for ELs.

Email Jen