Celebrating 109 Years
In 1912, Natalia ISD started with three school board members, four teachers, and a small two-story building. With the town just putting its organization together, the schoolhouse functioned to educate many of the farmer’s children, including the canal workers. It was this same year that Dr. Fred Stark Pearson founded Natalia.
Natalia ISD started as a school for younger age children. It was not a senior high, which forced high school kids to graduate from other area schools that were well underway, like Devine. The first graduating class from Natalia High was in the mid-1940s. Natalia serves children from the City of Natalia, Forrest Woods, Mustang Estates, the Chacon Lake area, Pearson, Lytle Ranch Acres, part of Great Oaks, and other parts of Medina County.
Natalia ISD continues to grow and gear toward the future: In 2020-2021, the numbers are slightly different from those back in 1912. Natalia ISD now includes the Early Childhood Center, Natalia Elementary, Natalia Junior. High, as well as Natalia High School. As of April 2021, there are currently 1,054 children attending Natalia Schools: 235 - ECC, 277 - Elementary, 237 - Natalia Jr. High, and 301 - Natalia High School.
Board of Trustees
Natalia ISD School Board of Trustees are Mr. Eric Smith, President; Mrs. Tiffany Rodriguez, Vice President; Mr. Gordon Gentry, Secretary; Mr. Paul Almendariz, Trustee; Mr. Andrew Besa, Trustee, Mr. Fernando Garza, Trustee; and Mrs. Mireya VanDerSlice, Trustee. The Natalia ISD Board of Trustees meets the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Natalia Jr. High Cafeteria.
Mr. Harry Piles took over as Superintendent in March of 2021. With a new sense of purpose, the district will build upon the vision/tagline, “Building Lives Utilizing Education.” We will continue to define the expectation and understanding of our vision/tagline. “The Blue Way” will include several initiatives and programs that form a foundation to our work: Focused Professional Learning, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Literacy Plan (K-8), Early College Academy (ECA), and a viable and rigorous curriculum. The district supports college and career readiness by providing free access to the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) test, Preliminary SAT (PSAT), and the SAT with essays for all students at the appropriate grade levels. Furthermore, our incoming freshman students will now have access to 42 college hours at no cost to parents through our new Early College Academy.
The central office team includes the following: Ms. Jeannette Roberts, Technology Director; Mr. Ilyan Martinez, Athletic Director; Mr. Matthew Rierson, Director of Maintenance and Operations; Mrs. Norma Friddle, Executive Director of Finance; Ms. Leticia Buenrostro, Executive Director of Academic Services; Ms. Delia Loza, PEIMS Coordinator.
Natalia Elementary School is under the leadership of Principal Dr. Andrea Moreno-Hewitt. The campus is unique because it increases teacher effectiveness and student opportunities, and students receive specialized instruction through the teaming model from second through fifth grade. The focus of Natalia Elementary is literacy and numeracy while supporting the children’s social and emotional learning.
Natalia Junior High School is under the leadership of Dr. Edgar Camacho. NJH offers high-quality core classes and enhances its college readiness curriculum with AVID and Pre-AP classes. NJH has business and robotics electives, and for students who wish to get a head start in high school, courses to earn high school credit are offered, such as Spanish and Algebra 1.
Natalia High School is under the leadership of Principal Mr. Lee Myers, who arrived in Natalia after a tenure in Southwest ISD. Mrs. Nicole Suhr recently joined the campus as an assistant principal. The NHS staff provides a full range of programs of study designed to prepare students to be college-ready and or to enter the workforce. Natalia High School has plenty of ongoing clubs and activities, not to mention the Fighting Mustang Athletic Programs.
The Natalia Junior High Athletic program is the foundation to our program. We had max participation numbers this year and a great 2020-2021 competitive season in all our sports. The Jr. High offers volleyball, cross-country, football, basketball and track and field and has now begun to offer baseball and softball. For the 2020-2021 year we currently have 220 student athletes 7th-12th grade in both boys and girls programs. In 2020-2021, Natalia made post season play in the following sports: (Football, Boys & Girls Powerlifting, Softball, Boys Track, Golf, and Cross Country). One student advanced to the State Cross Country Meet. One student was regional track winner in 100M dash and advanced to the state track meet. The 2020 football season was cut short due to the pandemic, although the varsity team ended the regular season 7 - 4, with 4 -2 in district, Natalia were bi-district champions. The highlight of the year was Natalia’s football program finishing 7 - 4, 3rd in district play and advancing to the playoffs for the third time since 2003.
Natalia Powerlifting continued their success qualifying 2 boy lifters to regionals and one advancing to state. Lady Mustang Powerlifting again qualified 15 girls to regional meet and 6 of them advanced to the state meet. The girl power lifters were regional champions for two years in a row, and by one point they earned 2nd place at the state meet.
Mustang Baseball and Lady Mustang Softball both had successful seasons and Softball continued their storied success and tradition as they advanced to the playoffs .
The robotics team at the High School led by Mr. Richardson continues to grow and perform impressively. Unfortunately the team’s season was cut short in 2019-2020, although Natalia High School qualified for state the eleventh year in a row!
The Natalia Band Program has had another successful year despite the many challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The year began with the Natalia High School Marching Band as it does every school year, but this year was vastly different. From wearing face masks in the Texas heat to placing bell coverings on all instruments and social distancing 6 feet a part and more in some cases, the band experienced a very non-traditional marching season. Also, non-typical in this year, marching season lasted until December 12, where the band gave their final performance of the season at the UIL Area E Marching Contest. Even with these challenges, the Natalia High School Band received their seventh consecutive first division in marching, which allowed them to advance to the Area contest, for the fourth time in school history.
The Natalia High School Band also had several students make the ATSSB Region 11 Band. Thirteen students auditioned and earned a spot in the region band and nine of those students advanced to Area. One student also qualified for the ATSSB All State Band, the third time in school history. As the school year continued, the UIL Solo and Ensemble contest quickly approached and eight of the nine student participants received a first division rating and six participants qualified for the UIL State Solo and Ensemble contest. The final contest of the year for the High School Band, UIL Concert and Sightreading, proved to also be another huge success for the band, as they received both a first division in concert and in sight reading, thus earning them the UIL Sweepstakes award. This award is accomplished by receiving a first division in marching, concert, and in sight reading. This is the second year in a row that the high school band has achieved this great accomplishment.
The Natalia FFA had a very successful year with advisors, Mrs. Meghan Martinez and Mr. Patrick Clarke, members did not let the pandemic hinder their experiences this year and instead chose to safely participate in various Leadership Development and Career Development Event Teams at the district, area, and state levels; traveling to Lubbock, Canyon, San Angelo, and College Station, TX to compete. We also had over 25 members participate in various Texas Junior Livestock Shows across our great state. In 2021, we had two exhibitors, Bailey Boucher and Kendall Tanner, placed at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. In the classroom, we offer the NCCER National Center for Construction Education and Research certification and OSHA 30 certification for Agriculture Mechanic students and the Texas State Floral level 1 knowledge based certification for students in the Floral Design class. Students continue to have more of a variety of agriculture classes to choose from, opportunity to travel around the state of Texas to showcase what they are learning in the classroom through competitions, and develop an importance of citizenship through community service projects, all of which are helping to create successful, well-rounded FFA members. Natalia FFA competed at State FFA cotton judging at San Angelo on Friday, April 23. They placed 12th out of 102 teams. They placed 1st in district and 1st in area. Austin was 10th place high individual, Bailey Boucher was 36th individual out of 391 contestants. The team consisted of Austin Guzman, Bailey Boucher, Kendall Tanner, and David Guzman.
Career and Technology Education has expanded, adding a medical program of study. With a certified teacher/nurse on staff, students at Natalia High School have the opportunity to earn a certification as medical assistant.
At Natalia, we love our kids and will always cherish that Fighting Mustang Pride! Go Big Blue!