3033 W. Country Club Dr
Irving, Texas 75038
At Sam Houston Middle School we are committed to the success of all students by embracing, empowering and engaging students through collaborative learning experiences, positive relationships, and continuous growth.
All students will achieve their full potential at Sam Houston Middle School.
AVID Culture, College Readiness
History of Houston Middle School
August, 1976. As the United States celebrated its bicentennial, residents of northwest Irving celebrated the opening of Sam Houston Junior High, the sixth junior high school in Irving ISD. The school became a showplace for visitors, having won the Texas Architectural Excellence Design Award for its groundbreaking, innovative, and functional design. Its open concept was accented by the beauty of multi-levels connected by easy access ramps, and its design incorporated the most current architectural ideas and standards. As first generation Houston Texans, forty-nine teachers were charged with the task of creating the most successful learning environment possible for more than one thousand students.
Led by principal Jack Singley, the fledgling school proudly embraced its patriotic school colors (red, white & blue), its athletic teams, its organizations and its up-to-date philosophy of team-teaching in an open concept setting. With the school year divided into trimesters and with seventy-minute periods, students were able to take multiple elective classes. In 1979, the decision was made to modify the open concept by building walls in the Math Pod, and the use of Math "packets" was discontinued in favor of more traditional teaching techniques. Students were very successful academically, and school pride continued to grow. Trimesters were replaced with semesters, and class periods were shortened to fifty-five minutes.
By 1983, Sam Houston had a new principal, Brooks Teague, and the structural modifications continued. The theme of the yearbook, "We’re Riding High," reflected the spirit of the times.
Jerry Winn was the principal in 1985 and 1986. Sam Houston had a double extravaganza, celebrating both the school’s ten-year anniversary, and the Texas Sesquicentennial. Fifteen faculty members celebrated their ten-year anniversary at Sam Houston. Iggy the iguana died, and grieving students raised money to have him stuffed and placed in the Sesquicentennial time capsule. Sam’s successful academic program was spotlighted when Houston students won the first MESH trophy, and Houston made the front page by holding Irving’s first academic pep rally.
A renewed sense of school pride began developing in 1989. Houston continued to excel academically, and to bring home the MESH trophies while marking the end of Bill Althoff’s three-year term.
Linda Ivins was the principal for the next seven years. She oversaw significant changes in education, as Sam Houston moved from typewriters to computers, and from departments to teams. The state of Texas recognized Sam Houston for excellence in education, the result of outstanding TAAS scores. A 30-minute in-school advisory/tutoring program was instituted, and class periods were shortened to 45 minutes. During this period of time, major construction took place, changing Houston’s interior and exterior. Furthermore, Sam Houston became "Partners in Education" with Allstate, and welcomed their volunteer tutors into the classroom. GTE initiated a unique new program, Saturday Scholars, manned by their volunteers on Saturday mornings. As societal violence made its way into the schools, student safety became a concern. Peer mediation, Crime Stoppers, and an on-campus youth action officer were used to help address the concern.
In 1995, Nathaniel Allen took the helm of Sam Houston, bringing years of experience and middle school philosophy with him. The organization of the school changed, bringing teaming to the forefront. The school was reorganized, with teachers and rooms being grouped by teams instead of departments, and Sam Houston Junior High became Sam Houston Middle School. Modular Industrial Technology replaced Woodshop as vocational emphasis shifted to technological acumen. As Houston celebrated its 20-year anniversary, six teachers marked theirs 20-year anniversaries at Sam Houston.
In 1998, the emphasis at Sam Houston was on raising TAAS scores. Principal Robin Wall was hired to lead the faculty of Sam Houston to its goal of "exemplary," and when the TAAS scores came in, Houston had become a "recognized" campus! Students as well as staff, basked in the glow of academic recognition. Embracing current educational philosophy, Houston began "blocking" at the 6th grade level.
Beginning with the 2004-2005 school year, the Texans welcomed Rick Nolly as Principal. Although faced with severe budget cuts, staff reductions and staff realignments, Sam Houston continued to meet the needs of its student population with Mr. Nolly at the helm. Rick Nolly, a long time coach and administrator in the Irving Schools system, helped make more academic gains at Houston before moving on to Nimitz.
In 2008, Robert Abel came on board as the new leader of Sam Houston Middle School. Mr. Abel brought his knowledge & experience as a Crockett MS & de Zavala MS Vice Principal along with his high school teaching background to Sam Houston. Mr. Abel was committed to providing the resources students and teachers need for 21st century learning. Under Mr. Abel's leadership, Houston became a TAKS "recognized" school for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011; Houston was also recognized as a NCEA Higher Performing School in 2011.
In 2012, Sam Houston was thrilled to have Dionn Dahl as the new principal. Mrs. Dahl began her teaching career at Nimitz High School before she became the VP at MacArthur H.S. During Ms. Dahl's tenure she supported technology integration in the classroom along with implementing the best teaching practices. She worked to create a place where everyone could learn and grow.
In 2015, Sam Houston welcomed Mr. Jeffrey Dorman to lead the Texans on a continuing journey of helping students reach their maximum potential. Mr. Dorman previously served as the Associate Principal at MacArthur HS and brought with him a vision focused on preparing students for college and career readiness. During Mr. Dorman's five years of leading the campus, Houston consistently earned academic distinctions under the Texas Education Agency's School Accountabilty Rating System with disctintions in Math, Science, English Language Arts and Reading, and Closing the Achievement Gap. The campus also earned national recognition under Mr. Dorman's leadership by becoming an AVID NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION SCHOOL. AVID is known worldwide for its focus on closing the achievement gap and helping students in underserved communities make their college dreams come true. The 2019-2020 school year changed significantly following Spring Break when the COVID-19 coronavirus engulfed the nation and the world in a global pandemic. Students finished the year by learning remotely and Mr. Dorman went to Irving HS.
The 2020-2021 school year started like no other, without students on campus and an all virtual setting. Facing the challenge head on is new principal, Manny Espino. Mr. Espino joins Sam Houston from Barton Elementary were he was principal. He has been putting students first in Irving ISD for several years, including as VP at Austin MS and MacArthur HS.