Where are they now? Jody Kotys

Editor’s note: This feature is dedicated to profiling Van Horn High School Alumni and updating locals on what became of them after graduation.  The Advocate welcomes information for publication on VHHS Alumni and will try to highlight two Van Horn Eagles every week.

After I left Van Horn in 1990, I went to Socorro ISD in El Paso. I finished my master’s degree in Computer Applications that I had started while in Van Horn at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. In Socorro, I taught at the Alternative School working with gang kids for three years, then transferred to Socorro High School teaching Speech and Debate, and coaching all speaking events. Later, I taught English as well. In 2001, I became Director of the Fine Arts Magnet Program coordinating the academic program and teaching English, Humanities, Film Study, Literary Genres, as well as Debate. The Debate Team was invited to compete at the Harvard University High School Tournament 7 years. In 2003, I completed my second master’s degree from Sul Ross State University in Educational Administration.

Since leaving Van Horn, I have continued to travel extensively in the Caribbean, Europe, Turkey, China, and Bali. On a trip Greece in June 2003, I met an interesting man and married in November, which lasted for 10 years. Later that Fall, I traveled to Japan as a guest of the Japanese government as a Fulbright Memorial Scholar.

In 2006, I became an Assistant Principal at El Dorado HS in Socorro ISD. The school had 3200 students and I supervised many programs and departments. I was Assistant Principal of the Year for Region 19 in 2010, and won several district awards for outstanding work with Partners in Education. I was selected to the Cambridge International Who’s Who in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

In 2010, while still an Assistant Principal, I became co-owner and opened a Greek restaurant in El Paso. Recognized by Texas Monthly, it is still the #2 restaurant in El Paso according to TripAdvisor, and won Best International Restaurant three years in a row.

In September 2011, I had an offer to become Principal at the royal school, Sheikh Zayed Academy for Girls, in Abu Dhabi. I remained until December that year, but decided working in the Middle East was not for me, came back to El Paso and continued working with the restaurant. I was a board member and executive secretary of Child Crisis Center El Paso as well as secretary/treasurer of Business Network International – Synergy Chapter for two years.

In March 2014, I became the Superintendent of Sierra Blanca ISD until June 2015 when I began working for the Educational Service Center Region 19 as an Educational Consultant/Liaison. I have been mentoring new teachers and principals helping them become more effective in achieving student success. I continue to be interested in helping students realize and develop their talents.

In May, I cruised the Caribbean with my mom. I enjoy spending as much time with her as I can. I also took the opportunity to visit China again and enjoys it immensely.