SAISD names principal to head CAST Tech High School
SAISD names new principal to head CAST Tech High School
May 15, 2017 – San Antonio ISD has named Dr. Melissa Alcala as principal for CAST Tech, a career-themed high school that will open in August 2017. Alcala currently is director of the STEM Academy, a magnet program in the North East ISD.
Alcala has spent 23 years in education and is recognized for her leadership in turning a science, technology, engineering and math program into a shining role model and a professional development site for other STEM programs across the state.
Her expertise includes hiring staff with real-world experience, providing dual-credit courses, increasing Advanced Placement scores, and developing internship programs for students, all core elements of the CAST (Centers for Applied Science and Technology) model.
"We look forward to Dr. Alcala's leadership and extensive experience as we open and grow this exciting new school," said Mohammed Choudhury, SAISD's Chief Innovation Officer. “CAST Tech joins a growing network of next-generation models providing a rich and rigorous learning experience to prepare our students for the demands of the 21st century. At SAISD, we are expanding the range of options for families so that all students can attend a best-fit school that taps into their interests and aspirations.”
Alcala holds a bachelor’s in mathematics and a master’s in educational administration from Texas State University, as well as a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She begins as principal of CAST Tech in June.
“I am excited to join the SAISD community and to help design this innovative high school,” Alcala said. “The specialized curriculum in technology and business provides CAST students an edge as they launch into college and careers upon graduation. We look forward to developing tech savvy graduates with an understanding of business and entrepreneurship to lead us into the future.”
CAST Tech is the first in a network of industry-led, career-themed high schools known collectively as CAST which H-E-B plans to establish across San Antonio in partnership with other industry partners and local school districts. The high-tech high school is transforming former vocational buildings at Fox Tech High School into modern, customized learning environment, a wholesale renovation made possible by a lead gift from Charles Butt of $2.6 million, an additional $1 million from H-E-B, as well as additional corporate and philanthropic donations.
With a focus on technology and entrepreneurship, CAST Tech has recruited an industry advisory board with representation from small and large technology employers, and major local companies such as H-E-B, USA A, Frost Bank, AT&T and Whataburger, as well as Tech Bloc and Geekdom.
Located on the grounds of the Fox Tech campus, with close proximity to the city’s downtown Tech District, the school will work hand-in-hand with industry partners to prepare students for careers in technology and business, where talent is in high demand.
The school has accepted 175 ninth-graders from within SAISD and across Bexar County into its inaugural class.
A number of events are being planned for this summer, including workshops with industry partners, an introductory “Meet the Teacher” session before the start of school and a family day with UTSA, the school’s higher-education partner along with San Antonio College.
The remodel of the CAST Tech facility is well underway with the finishing touches scheduled for this week on the main building and showcase central staircase. Next, crews will tackle bathrooms, exterior walls and electrical and mechanical systems in order to make the facility ready to welcome its first class of students this fall.
Alcala replaces Dr. Kelly Isbell, who served as principal since August 2016 while CAST Tech was in development.
More information on the school can be found at www.saisd.net/casttech