Monday, August 17, 2015

Spring Branch ISD Names New Hollibrook Elementary School Principal

Karen Liska has been named the new principal at Hollibrook Elementary School.   She has 37 years in education including eight years in Spring Branch ISD where she served as the principal at Thornwood Elementary and Spring Woods Middle School. 

Principal Liska also served 21 years in Spring ISD as a teacher, assistant principal and principal of Beneke Elementary School. Her distinguished educational career began in Milwaukee, Wis., and continued in Green Bay, Wis., before she moved with her family to Houston.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she earned degrees in both special education and general education. Mrs. Liska later earned a master’s degree in education administration from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, and she has attended the Principal Academy at Lamar University in Beaumont.

During the past two years, she has attended courses for Urban School Leaders and Turnaround Leaders at Harvard University in Boston. 

Among other honors, Principal Liska was named SBISD Elementary Principal of the Year (2010-2011) and then the SBISD Secondary Principal of the Year (2012-2013).  She’s a big supporter of the district’s T-2-4 goal, which calls for students of all ages to be equipped with the academic, social and life skills to successfully complete some form of higher education after graduation – technical certification, military training, or a two-year or four-year college degree.

“I am so excited to join the Hollibrook Hornet team as we work together with our students, teachers and staff, as well as parents and community to provide the best educational opportunities for all of our students,” Principal Liska said. “We have the unique opportunity to ‘touch the future’ each and every day as we work with our students to help develop their own personal goals and dreams.  We know we are the pivotal link as we train our kids for jobs in the future – some of which have not even been created yet.”

During a long education career, she notes humorously, she’s supported seven campus mascots – enough to fill a small zoo or a child’s toy box. “I have been a Viking, Wolverine, Bear, Lion Cub, Crayon, Tiger, Badger, Hawk and now for the first time – an insect – A Hornet!” said Mrs. Liska.

Of serious note, improvements in school performance and culture under her watch have led to positive external review. At Spring Woods Middle, the principal, staff and students were the focus of a professional school case study, titled The Journey Upward: Rising above the Turbulence at Spring Wood Middle School, conducted by the Center for Reform of School Systems in 2014. Findings were presented this spring during a state conference.

Principal Liska also served on a discussion panel with Dr. Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education, and Dr. Mike Moses, the former Texas Commissioner of Education, during a recently held Texas Fellows Conference.

Mrs. Liska holds state certifications in Mid Management (PreK-12), Elementary Ed (1-8), ESL (Prek-12), and Special Ed (PreK-12).

Karen resides in Spring Branch with her husband of 37 years and has two grown children and a 2 ½-year-old granddaughter, Madeline.  When not at school, she loves spending time with her family, traveling, hiking and biking.

At Hollibrook, Principal Liska replaces Elsa Delgado, who has joined SBISD’s Human Resources Department team.


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