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Julia Andrews

Director

Julia Andrews  is the director of the Center for Safe and Secure Schools. Andrews has served since early 2018 as the school culture and climate specialist for the Center for Safe and Secure Schools.  She has been responsible for conducting numerous school safety audits; leading and facilitating restorative practices training; and developing threat assessments for schools and districts. Prior to coming to HCDE, she was a teacher and assistant principal in Cypress Fairbanks and Houston ISDs. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa, master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and is actively pursuing her doctorate in organizational leadership at Abilene Christian University.

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Gil Gaona

Administrative Assistant

Gil Gaona is the Administrative Assistant to Julia Y. Andrews the director of the Center for Safe and Secure Schools.  He has worked with HCDE for the past two years as an administrative assistant first with the Teaching and Learning Center and now with the CSSS.  After 20 years of teaching Spanish and 18 years as a Student Council Adviser, he moved home to take care of his mother.  After twelve years of caregiving and accounting work with a transportation company, he returned to Houston.

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Cierra Nickerson

School Climate and Culture Specialist

Cierra Nickerson is a proud educator and an advocate for educational equity. As the School Climate and Culture Specialist for the Center for Safe and Secure Schools, Cierra is a certified instructor for restorative practices, Youth Mental Health First Aid, mindfulness-based practices, and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI). Cierra provides training and support for schools and districts that aim to reduce exclusionary practices and to create a safe and secure school culture and climate. A Teach for America alumna with over 12 years of educational experience, she has served in various capacities such as a teacher central office and school administrator. Cierra is a graduate from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Psychology, a graduate of the University of Houston earning a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision, and is currently a doctoral student at Baylor University studying K-12 Educational Leadership.

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Janice Owolabi

School Safety and Security Specialist

Janice Owolabi is a passionate educator who believes strong school culture, high academic expectations and a safe secure environment are the most important ingredients in providing children a successful education. She currently serves as the School Safety and Security Specialist providing an educator’s lens when dealing with emergency operations needs at the district and school level. She is certified trainer in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS).  She provides training in Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Development, Standard Response Protocol (SRP), and Standard Reunification Method (SRM).   She is the lead school safety auditor and provides safety and security audit service solutions for several districts in the area.  With over 15 years of experience in the education arena Janice has served in many positions from classroom teacher to school administration leadership team.  Janice is a graduate from University of Kansas with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and currently a member of the Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team for Harris County.