We are excited to introduce our 2021-2022 new school principals.
YES Prep East End Elementary - Brian Vannest
Brian Vannest has been named the founding principal of YES Prep East End Elementary. Brian earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership with a minor in Economics from Miami University. Brian then moved to Houston to teach second grade at HISD’s Gallegos Elementary in the East End. Joining the YES Prep family in 2010, Brian taught seventh-grade math to the first graduating class of YES Prep West Marvels and continued the following two years as a teacher and Content Team Leader. At night, he earned an MBA from Rice University along with his Texas principal certificate. Brian then served three years at Westside High School in HISD as the Dean of Instruction before transitioning to the principal position at Valley West Elementary in Brays Oaks.
Rejoining the YES team in the 2020-2021 school year, Brian served as the resident principal at Northside. Brian is thrilled to return to the East End and establish a world-class elementary for families in the community.
YES Prep Northline Elementary - Cynovia Hall
Cynovia Hall has been named the founding principal of YES Prep Northilne Elementary. A native Houstonian and first-generation college student and citizen, Cynovia joined the education field by way of Teach for America after completing her undergraduate studies at Texas State University in 2012. She began teaching in Houston Independent School District at Woodson K-8 Leadership Academy where she taught first and second grade. She worked as a founding teacher at Democracy Prep Congress Heights, a turnaround charter school in Washington D.C. where she realized what it takes to improve academics and culture in a short period of time. Upon returning to Houston, she taught upper elementary in HISD at Kennedy Elementary School in Independence Heights. She went on to obtain her Master's Degree and Principal Certification from the University of St. Thomas. She served as a Teacher Specialist at Pin Oak Middle School
Most recently, Cynovia has served as the Resident Principal at YES Prep Southside Secondary where she continues to build her leadership capacity and engage in rigorous professional development.
YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary - Selina Hall-Swope
Selina Hall-Swope has been the principal of YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary. Selina earned her B.A. in English from Florida State University and her M.Ed. in English Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She began teaching English in Tallahassee, Florida before relocating to Houston. Selina taught for two years at Marshall Middle School in Fifth Ward, and in 2012, began working at YES Prep Brays Oaks.
While at Brays Oaks, Selina taught English I and Reading Intervention, transitioning into the Literacy Specialist role for the next two years. From 2015-2018, Selina was a Dean of Instruction. She served as Course Leader and Course Facilitator for Seventh Grade Reading Lab and participated in the Aspire Cohort of Leading Excellence in 2018. After six years at Brays Oaks, Selina transitioned to YES Prep Northbrook High as the Director of Academics. During the 2020-2021 school year, Selina was part of the Principal Pathway Program, serving as Resident Principal at YES Prep Northbrook Middle School.
Current Brays Oaks principal Stephanie Gounder is leaving YES Prep at the end of June 2021.
YES Prep Southeast Secondary - Emily Ryans
Emily Ryans has been named the principal of YES Prep Southeast Secondary. Originally from Johnson City, Tennessee, Emily began her career in education there, working summers at the day programs within the public school district. After graduating with a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Emily taught kindergarten within the Johnson City School District. Teach for America brought Emily to Houston in 2011, where she taught fifth grade at Gallegos Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District. While at Gallegos, Emily held the positions of Grade Level Chair, Lead Literacy Teacher and Summer Institute Director for developing staff. She also received the Kinder Award for Excellence in Teaching. Emily then moved to Elmore Elementary, where she was a founding literacy and instructional leader for five years.
Emily transitioned to YES to work as a Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Southwest Secondary. During her time at Southwest, she completed her Texas Principal Certification and Master of Educational Leadership Degree from the University of St. Thomas. Most recently, she served at YES Prep Southeast as a Resident Principal to further her leadership development and support the Wizard community throughout the changes in teaching and learning during the global pandemic.
Current Southeast Secondary principal Eileen Galligan has transitioned to serve as the new Managing Director of Leadership Development for YES Prep.
To view the full list of our school principals, please click here.