Mentoring Program Protégé Denisha Jackson-Presley, Cohort 5

Denisha Jackson-Presley

Cohort 5

Mentor: Dr. Craig Shapiro

Denisha Jackson-Presley was raised in Anson, Texas where her father served thirteen years on the school board. Surrounded by a life of educational policy, she was in the 6th grade when she told her dad she wanted to work with teens when she grows up! Graduating from Texas State University in 1999, Denisha began her career as an English teacher at Nolan Middle School in Killeen ISD. One year later she assumed her first high school teaching position as a 9th grade teacher in Lockhart ISD. She spent the next eight years teaching English in high school classrooms at Lockhart and San Marcos, respectively.

Earning her Masters of Education from Texas State University, in 2007 Denisha began her career as an Assistant Principal at San Marcos High School and was quickly named Lead Assistant Principal. Playing a monumental role in the restructuring of the organization from a traditional high school to a wall to wall academy; building the school’s first Positive Behavior Initiatives and Supports program; in addition to, its first Advisory and Response to Intervention Programs Denisha quickly moved into an Academy Administrator (Associate Principal) where she would oversee two schools within the school.  In 2013 Mrs. Presley accepted a position as Principal of the Lockhart High School Freshman ML Cisneros Campus. There she applied and earned her campus a position in ESC XII’s pilot, Restorative Discipline program. Through implementation, in only one year the LHSFMCC was able to decrease major disciplinary infractions by eighty-five percent and a seventy-five percent increase in credit recovery.

In 2016, Denisha made history as the first African-American High School Principal in Hays County when she assumed the role as principal at Lehman High School – Hays CISD. There she is known to have had a dramatic positive impact on the culture of the school-community. Through her work as a transformational leader with a focus on rebranding culture and tier one instruction, Lehman high school moved from just points above Improvement Required to a B-Rated school.  In 2019 Denisha accepted the position as principal at San Marcos High School – San Marcos CISD where she led its inaugural year as an Early College High School; a 1:1 technology high school…and its inaugural year in a pandemic!

With a heart for community; a soul for culture and a focus on instruction Denisha Presley continues to work closely with the San Marcos High School and ISD’s learning community  to develop a shared vision of high expectations and 360◦ comprehensive action plan to love children through this pandemic and on to capitalize on the opportunities that await them both before and when the dust settles.

Denisha has recently joined the Texas State University – Superintendent’s Certification Program and will to complete certification in May, 2022.