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National Family Engagement Fellowship

Dallas Team

Explore the Dallas Team’s findings, vision, and strategic plan, and get to know the people doing this powerful work for students and families in the Lone Star State.

Dallas Vision

In three years, Family Engagement Partner schools will function as community hubs – encompassing all shared services a family needs to be successful.

Welcome to Dallas

Your story is Dallas’ story. Let’s write our future together.

When the Dallas ISD Family Engagement Partnership Team formed in Winter 2018, their first task was to complete a landscape assessment. “The intentional listening was an eye-opener for us,” shared Yesenia Cardozo Ramirez, Director of Family and Community Engagement, Early Learning. “We found there [was] a misperception of what family engagement is, and what parents are wanting.” Though the Team initially leaned on data from a landscape assessment a few years prior, they felt compelled to engage more family voices, and the Family Listening Tours were born.

The Dallas Team visited six schools across the district, prioritizing schools with majority at-risk populations to hear from the families they sought to impact. It quickly became clear that the district needed to rebuild trust between communities and schools and to do this, the schools were going to need help. The Team selected the first cohort of schools after analyzing school population and community need and they took it slow, building out pilots appropriate to school need and garnering buy-in from administrators.

The Dallas Team is building something they hope will last. As Stacey Vanhoy, Executive Director of Dallas Stand for Children observes, “It’s on us to make sure we don’t ask schools to do anything that we aren’t supporting them in doing. When there are issues or questions or challenges, we bring in the supports to make sure it works. It may be slow for a couple of years…but we don’t need instant growth. We need to be planting seeds.”

In Their Own Words

“Family engagement is not a one person job. It truly takes a community, a culture, a group of people that really can actually change the direction of where our family engagement is going. Flamboyan truly helped us craft that family engagement vision.”

Yesenia Cardozo Ramirez
Director of Family & Community Engagement, Dallas ISD

Dallas Strategic Plan

Outcomes + Strategies

  • Dallas Team provides coaching to school-based Family Engagement Leadership Teams (FELTs) on the infrastructure for home visiting
  • FELTs build the infrastructure to support home visits in the pilot schools
  • Dallas Team provides coaching to FELTs around communication strategies
  • FELTs provide specific strategies for teachers to engage in ongoing communication with families
  • Teachers attend professional developed on Home Visits and conduct Home Visits throughout the 2019-2020 School Year
  • Teachers attend professional development on and implement ongoing communication strategies throughout the 2019-2020 School Year
  • Dallas Team provides coaching and professional development to the Family Engagement Leadership Teams (FELTs) to prepare them to lead reflective conversations with teachers around trust and positive beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets about families
  • FELTs provide a family listening guide to support listening tours and provide teachers with coaching
  • FELTs build the infrastructure to support family listening tours
  • FELTs lead reflective conversations with teachers to analyze the results of listening tours
  • Teachers conduct listening tours with their students’ families
  • Dallas Team provides coaching and professional development to the Family Engagement Leadership Teams (FELTs) to prepare them to lead reflective conversations with teachers around trust and positive beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets about families
  • FELTs attend professional development and receive coaching from the Dallas Team to prepare them to support teachers around mindsets, attitudes, and beliefs about families
  •  FELTs provide professional development and coaching to teachers around trust and beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets about families
  • FELTs lead reflective conversations with teachers around beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets about families
  • Teachers attend professional development around trust and beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets about families
  • Teachers engage in reflective conversations with their colleagues about beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets about families

Download the strategic plan

The Dallas’ Team vision is that in three years, Family Engagement Partner schools will function as community hubs – encompassing all shared services a family needs to be successful.

Download Now

Dallas Team Talk | Revisiting the Past to Change the Future

Dr. Valadez, alongside five other education leaders, laid the groundwork for their vision of family engagement in Dallas schools.


Meet the Dallas Team

Dallas Independent School District

Executive Director, Parent Advocacy and Support Services

Liliana is the Executive Director of Parent Advocacy and Support Services for the Dallas Independent School District, the 14th largest school district in the nation with over 157,000 students. Previously, Liliana served five years as Executive Director over the North Dallas feeder pattern, a diverse range of 14 schools. In addition, she led the district’s first College & Career Readiness Department, overseeing the Early College High Schools and the High School Redesign Initiative.

As a third-generation educator, Liliana has a passion for supporting students and families in their quest for accessing quality educational programs. Liliana hopes to maximize her 28 years of educational experience by collaborating with colleagues to learn innovative ways to engage families.

Connect with Liliana via LinkedIn.

Dallas Independent School District

Director, Family Community Engagement for Early Learning

Yesenia believes families and schools working together can impact a child’s life. Yesenia is the Director of Family Community Engagement in Early Learning where she oversees the Pre-K registration and enrollment for Dallas Independent School District, community awareness on the importance of Pre-K, staff training, and collaboration with community partners to support a continuum of care for families. In addition, she collaborates with principals, executive directors, and community liaisons to help build relationships to assist with increasing family engagement at the campus.

Prior to this role, she served as a campus principal for six years. She utilized her role as a campus principal to share and execute the vision of becoming a community school involving students, teachers, parents, and community partners. As a director, she has been able to work with schools such as Maya Angelo where pregnant students attend school from 6th grade to 12th grade. She has created partnerships that will help support students to be educated on how to become a parent, improve parenting skills, and provide additional access to social services.

In addition, she is working with Stand for Children to educate teachers on how to implement relationship-building home visits and the impact it has in the classroom and with families.

Stand for Children

Dallas Executive Director

Stacey has spent her career leveraging the power of relationships to connect people with resources. As co-founder of REAL Schools Initiative (now REAL School Gardens), she trained teachers and students in Fort Worth food deserts to grow their own food while learning valuable science lesson in the process. A former teacher, Stacey eventually took on a full-time role with Stand for Children, a national education advocacy organization. In this position, she gained a better understanding of education policy and its impact on teachers. She soon realized that the educator voice was silenced. To change that, Stacey organized a fellowship of educators to identify their needs regarding education policy and practice. Based on overwhelming educator feedback, it was evident that the need for authentic parent engagement was paramount.

In her current role as the Dallas Executive Director of Stand for Children, Stacey launched the Home Visit Project in Dallas/Fort Worth schools, which trains and supports teachers and other school staff to conduct relationship-building home visits with the families of their students. Today, more than 1,000 teachers and staff participate in relationship-building home visits. The Home Visit Project is on track to reach 20,000 home visits in five years.

Connect with Stacey via LinkedIn.

Dallas Independent School District

Assistant Superintendent, Early Learning


Derek’s efforts from birth-to-second grade, working to ensure every kindergartner is ready for school and every second grader is reading on grade-level. Prior to this, Derek served as the deputy director of early childhood at the Louisiana Department of Education, where he led policy planning for funding, accountability, enrollment, workforce and governance of early childhood programs. Previously, Derek was the director of finance and operations for the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, where he increased funding for the school at a time of budget cuts to education statewide.

Derek’s career in education began as a high school math teacher. He earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and a master’s degree in finance from Tulane University. He has also earned master’s degrees in educational leadership from Northwestern State University and the Broad Center for Urban Education.

Early Matters Dallas

Managing Director

Kim is a passionate leader with a real talent for bringing diverse stakeholders together to solve complex social problems. Kim currently serves as the Managing Director for Early Matters Dallas, where she convenes over 200 organizations in Dallas County to rally behind common goals and strategies to increase early childhood outcomes for children zero-to-eight in Dallas County.

Prior to joining Early Matters Dallas, Kim served as the Program Director for the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading where she led a strategy to increase the city’s third-grade reading scores by 100 percent by 2020. She also served in the public sector as Deputy Director of Baltimore’s Office of Policy and Communications and Special Projects. In that role, she worked under the guidance of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to lead the development of the City’s Read to Succeed Plus program.

Kim is a Daily Record 2014 Leading Women Honoree and served as a part-time faculty member for Johns Hopkins Center for Leadership in Education, where she taught Principles of Marketing.

Connect with Kim via LinkedIn.

Dallas Independent School District

Director, HIPPY

As an early childhood advocate, Kriston has devoted her professional career to high quality education for children of all ages. Family engagement is deeply woven into her personal philosophy of the development of a child. Kriston believes that true, intentional family engagement happens at the intersection of respect and understanding and that families are the most influencing factor in a child’s life.

Currently, Kriston is the Director of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Program at Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) where she oversees the implementation of a Home Visiting Program that works with families who have children ages 2-5. In addition to working for Dallas ISD, Kriston is an Adjunct Professor at Eastfield College in the Child Development Department of the Social Sciences Division.

Connect with Kriston via LinkedIn.

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National Family Engagement Fellowship

Learn how Flamboyan is building a network of family engagement leaders across the nation.

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