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Trustees Approve Fall 2017 Principal Posts at SFA Middle School, Bonham Elementary

The Bryan ISD Board of Trustees has unanimously approved recommendations to promote two District leaders to the principal’s position for the 2017 – 2018 school year. Rudder High School Associate Principal Rachel Layton will lead Stephen F. Austin (SFA) Middle School, and Bonham Elementary’s Assistant Principal Gloria Garcia-Rhodes will step into the principal’s post at Bonham.

“We could not be more excited to honor the strong career trajectory of these two leaders and have them at the helm during a very important transition in Bryan ISD,” said Superintendent Christie Whitbeck. “Being able to promote from within our own District is a testament to these individuals’ excellence in campus management and also to the Bryan ISD philosophy of fostering the careers of rising stars.”

Layton assumes her new role upon the departure of Dr. Brandon Jayroe, who announced he has accepted a position in another district. Garcia-Rhodes currently serves as Bonham’s assistant principal and will take over the top post from longtime principal Ken Newbold, who recently announced his retirement.

Both principals will oversee campuses with different configurations than in years past. Layton will oversee an all-new, three story SFA Middle School that adjoins the Bryan ISD Performing Arts Center and the original SFA campus, which will house the Bryan ISD Central Office after remodeling next year.

Garcia-Rhodes will lead Bonham, which will transition this summer from a Pre-K/K – 5 grade campus to a campus housing grades Pre-K/K – 4. Layton’s SFA Middle School will serve students in seventh and eighth grade, as sixth grade students move to intermediate campuses that house fifth and sixth grades.

About the Principals:
Rachel Layton, Stephen F. Austin Middle School Principal (Fall 2017)
Rachel Layton joined Rudder High School as assistant principal in 2013. She was promoted to associate principal in 2016, where she oversaw assistant principals, campus improvement planning, data collection and analysis and aspects of professional development and instruction. Prior to serving in administration, she served in roles of increasing responsibility from coaching to teaching AP and Pre-AP World History at campuses including Rayburn, Bryan High and Rudder High.

She earned a bachelor of arts degree from York College in Nebraska and a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University.

Gloria Garcia-Rhodes, Bonham Elementary Principal (Fall 2017)
Gloria Garcia-Rhodes has served in leadership roles throughout Bryan ISD, including summer school principal, dean of instruction at Jones Elementary, assistant principal at Henderson Elementary, and, most recently as assistant principal at Bonham Elementary. Prior to serving in administration she taught at Johnson Elementary and T.A. Brown Elementary in Austin ISD. She is certified in bilingual education and has served on numerous Bryan ISD committees aimed at innovation, improvement and leadership.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in education administration from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Texas A&M. 

About the Grade Realignment:
Bryan ISD’s new grade alignment is the result of support from the Board of Trustees and the voters of Brazos County. In November 2014, a bond referendum passed with strong support in order to reconfigure grades, improve and expand facilities for student learning, eliminate portable buildings and address a wide variety of priorities identified in a facility study. The centerpiece of the bond proposal realigned grades and reduced the number of middle schools from four to two. The change is expected to enhance student success by closely pairing similar maturity and learning styles (pairing fifth graders with sixth graders and seventh graders with and eighth graders). The move also reduces the number of schools that highly-mobile students would have to adjust to, if their families move frequently.

Advanced Academics, Special Programs and Attendance Zones:
As a result of realigning grades and restructuring Milam Elementary to become the new MC Harris School of Choice, the Board of Trustees approved new attendance zones in May 2016.

The board also approved the pathway for advanced academics and increased opportunities for students to participate by extending the District’s popular INQUIRE and Odyssey programs beyond grades sixth – eighth and into to the new fifth-sixth grade campuses. At the seventh-eighth grade campuses, Odyssey will continue at SFA and INQUIRE will move to Davila.

For More Information:
To learn about the Fall 2017 grade realignment, attendance zones and more, visit:


Rachel Layton, Stephen F. Austin Middle School Principal (Fall 2017)
Gloria Garcia-Rhodes, Bonham Elementary Principal (Fall 2017)