Hernando’s Betancourt named new principal

Teachers welcome new leader at morning meeting


Acting principal Cynthia Retana, who is already performing duties as the newest SISD assistant superintendent, introduced her successor to the faculty at a meeting Thursday morning in the theater. Hernando Middle School principal Venessa Betancourt will officially begin work on Monday, Nov. 26 after Thanksgiving break.

The announcement was released on the SISD Twitter Wednesday night. Retana jokingly handed Betancourt the keys to El Dorado as she introduced her this morning, symbolically passing the torch of leadership, only to ask back for them later since Retana will continue as the principal until Nov. 26.

Betancourt then expressed her excitement for the position in a speech, after which all the teachers lined up to formally introduce themselves. Chemistry teacher Jesus Tapia patiently waited his turn, silently hoping that Betancourt will prove to be a strong leader and individual at the high school level of administration.

“I’m excited to have her here,” Tapia said. “I hope that she’s able to develop the culture that we have already.”


My own personal vision is that every one of the kids here at El Dorado sees themselves not only as an Aztec, but as a scholar and a champion. ”

— Venessa Betancourt

Like Retana in 2015, Betancourt, comes to El Dorado after serving as the Hernando Middle School principal. Both leaders are familiar with the community since Hernando feeds into El Dorado. Retana hopes the transition will be smooth for Betancourt. It had not occurred to Betancourt to apply for the job opening until she was at El Dorado for a feeder pattern meeting.

While on campus, she was approached by former students and drawn in by the culture and energy at the school. According to Betancourt, she was happy at Hernando but believes that this position will only help her grow.

“I am going to believe in these kids more than they may believe in themselves,” Betancourt said.

We couldn’t have picked a better principal”. “My hope is that this school goes to higher levels in absolutely everything.”

— Cynthia Retana