McKINNEY (Nov. 14, 2014) — Veteran Glen Oaks Elementary principal Rhonda Gilliam will begin a new chapter in her service to McKinney ISD later this month when she steps into her new role as principal of Malvern Elementary.

The move follows the recent departure of Malvern principal Dr. Amber Epperson who accepted the principal job at Cockrill Middle School in late October. When District officials began the search for Epperson’s successor at Malvern, Gilliam’s name rose quickly to the top of the list.

Rhonda Gilliam

Rhonda Gilliam

“Rhonda Gilliam is an impact player on our MISD team,” said Joe Miniscalco, assistant superintendent for learner support. “She is a strong instructional leader with a clear vision of how to positively support teachers, build strong teacher teams and structure a positive culture and environment for all those in the school community.

“She is a great fit for Malvern Elementary. She is a skilled leader who will be able to take the great things already in place at Malvern and help them progress to the next level of success,” Miniscalco said.

Gilliam began her career in education 17 years ago as a fifth grade teacher at Wylie Intermediate School in Wylie ISD. One year later, she joined the staff at Slaughter Elementary where she served for two years as a teacher in Pre-K and then fourth grade. Over the ensuing three years, Gilliam served as a classroom teacher at McNeil Elementary and as an instructional specialist at Webb Elementary before moving to Glen Oaks in 2004 to take on the role of assistant principal. Three years later, Gilliam was named principal of Glen Oaks and has served in that capacity for the last eight years.

Under Gilliam’s leadership, Glen Oaks has excelled at equipping children to not only be fit academically but physically and socially as well. The campus earned a TAKS rating of Exemplary each year it was possible to do so during Gilliam’s tenure, and they earned the highest possible rating of Met Standard after the transition to STAAR.

But Gilliam is perhaps more excited about the fact that, last year, Glen Oaks became the District’s first campus to implement the Engage Learning Model, McKinney ISD’s new project-based learning initiative.

“The Engage Learning Model transforms learning from a teacher-led to a student-led platform, empowering and equipping students to take charge of their own learning like never before,” said Gilliam.

Gilliam also introduced The Leader in Me, a national program that teaches life, leadership and citizenship skills, and this year Glen Oaks won the National Healthy Schools Bronze Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Now she looks toward the future and the opportunities that lie ahead at Malvern. “I believe the children of McKinney ISD are poised to make a positive impact on this world, and I am looking forward to meeting the students, staff and families of Malvern Elementary. I plan to spend the first few months focused on building relationships and getting to know the Malvern community.”

Gilliam said that her leadership philosophy is best reflected in a quote from Stephen R. Covey. “‘Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it themselves.’ That exemplifies the kind of leader I want to be,” said Gilliam. “My goals are for every student to be happy and successful and for staff members to love coming to work every day knowing that they make a difference."

Gilliam holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M–Commerce and a Master of Education from the University of North Texas.

For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Coordinator, at 469-302-4007 or


About McKinney ISD

One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the McKinney Independent School District currently enrolls more than 24,750 students in 20 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, four alternative schools and one early childhood education school. The mission of McKinney ISD, the champion for progressive learning throughout the diverse McKinney community, is to inspire and equip all students to explore, develop and express their unique potential as innovators, critical thinkers and collaborators through challenging, engaging and diverse learning experiences in vital partnership with the community. Visit the district's website at