Nancy Bernardino, Principal
When Solar Preparatory School for Girls at James B. Bonham opens its doors in August, Nancy Bernardino will be at the helm asprincipal. Bernardino andher team wrote a proposal for the all-girls STEAM school as part of the Public School Choice initiative in Dallas ISD.
Bernardino’s last position was as principal of John Quincy Adams Elementary, a Title I school in Southeast Dallas. She has served the families of Dallas ISD since 2005 in various capacities, including associate principal, academic coordinator, and teacher. In the fall of 2015, Bernardino was a finalist for Dallas ISD Elementary Principal of the Year. Additionally, in 2013 the Southeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce honored her as Principal of the Year.
Over the past three years, Adams has earned multiple distinctions from the Texas Education Agency in recognition of student achievement in math, reading, and science. Last year, Adams was one of 24 schools nationwide to be a recipient of the Excellence in Urban Education Award given by the National Center for Urban School Transformation.
Born in Mexico and raised in Dallas, Bernardino is the first in her family to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. She grew up in east Dallas and attended elementary and middle school in Dallas ISD. She graduated high school from The Hockaday School, a private all-girls school in Dallas.
Bernardino’s experience in a single-gender environment at The Hockaday School influenced her decision to start Solar Preparatory School for Girls. Bernardino wants public-school students in the Dallas area to have the same opportunity to gain confidence and leadership experience in an academically rigorous all-girls setting.
Bernardino earned a Master of Education from Texas A&M-Commerce, as well as the following degrees from Southern Methodist University: Master of Liberal Arts; Advanced Graduate Studies in Dispute Resolution; Bachelor of Arts in Spanish; and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.
She is currently working toward earning a Doctorate Degree in Education at SMU.
Jennifer Turner, The Guiding Spirit
After an early career as a newspaper reporter, Jennifer Turner began her foray into education as a volunteer teacher at a public school in rural Costa Rica. It was in this tiny village school that Jennifer discovered her passion for teaching, language, and cultures.
In 2009, Jennifer brought that passion to Dallas and became a bilingual fifth grade science and reading teacher at John Quincy Adams Elementary School in Pleasant Grove. In 2014, she moved into a 3-5 reading instructional coach position on the same campus. At Adams, Jennifer served on the Instructional Leadership Team and helped launch several successful new initiatives on the campus.
Jennifer earned a B.A. in print journalism from the University of Arkansas and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with Urban Schools Specialization from Southern Methodist University.
In her free time, Jennifer traveled and volunteered in Latin American countries. She had volunteered and/or studied in Ecuador, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. Jennifer passed away in May of 2019 after a courageous fight with cancer.
Olivia Santos, Instructional Coach
Olivia has proudly served the scholars of Dallas ISD for over 12 years. Before transitioning to her role as an instructional coach, Olivia spent eight years in the classroom as a bilingual teacher in East Dallas.
As a teacher, Olivia served as a campus leader and sought to encourage family and community partnerships to improve scholar success. She was named Teacher of the Year for the 2010-2011 school year.
As an instructional coach, Olivia has collaborated with teachers to improve instructional practices in the classroom and has developed and delivered effective professional development for all core instructional subjects as well as best practices for engaging instruction.
At Solar Prep, Olivia will continue to collaborate with teachers to support quality instruction that aligns to our STEAM, Blended Learning and SEL models.
Olivia’s deep commitment and passion for exemplary instruction is what drives her every day in this field. Olivia realized her passion for education after being inspired by exemplary teacher in the second grade. She continued to work to achieve this goal throughout high school and college.
She graduated in 2005 from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Psychology, a minor in Sociology and completed SMU’s Teacher Certification Program. In 2016, she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Urban Schools.
As a mother living in the East Dallas area, Olivia is excited to be a part of the movement to improve the educational options for parents in this community. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys reading, playing board games and spending time with her family.