Principal Darrin Hemphill headshot

Dr. Darrin Hemphill

His mantra of Safety, Respect, and Good Citizenship resonates as the cornerstone of his educational philosophy, guiding both his actions and those of his colleagues on a daily basis. Dr. Hemphill's leadership style is characterized by collaboration, strength, and boundless energy, driving positive change within educational communities. His commitment to fostering a nurturing and inclusive environment for students, staff, and parents at GAEC is unwavering.

Originally hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and nurtured in Morganton, North Carolina, Dr. Hemphill's academic credentials reflect his dedication to lifelong learning. He holds a Superintendent Certification from the University of Texas-Tyler, a master's degree in educational leadership from Texas Woman’s University, and a bachelor's degree in business management from Western Carolina University. Moreover, he has achieved the pinnacle of academic accomplishment with a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Abilene Christian University.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Dr. Hemphill is deeply embedded in community engagement. His involvement in male mentorship programs, YMCA Youth and Government initiatives, Community Health Fairs, and various educational associations underscores his commitment to holistic community development. Additionally, he is a revered life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.


Assistant Principal

Mr. Javier Pena

Javier Pena

Javier Peña is a GISD former student. He attended Hillside Academy, Hudson Middle School, Austin Academy for Excellence, and earned his high school diploma at Garland High School in 2002.

Mr. Peña earned a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with a specialization in social studies from the University of North Texas. He holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He holds these achievements close to his heart knowing the sacrifices his father and mother made to provide him with the best opportunities for an excellent education. 

He previously served as an assistant principal at Schrade Middle School, Lyles Middle School and the Garland Alternative Education Center. He taught US History and World History for six years at the Garland Alternative Education Center.

He believes in working side by side with parents, staff, and students to improve relationships that will benefit student growth and achievement. Mr. Peña strives to provide trust, compassion, stability, and hope in his leadership. He has had the opportunity to work with students from a wide range of programs, socio-economic backgrounds, and educational goals. This has given him valuable insight into guiding students through the critical journey of education. Mr. Peña holds firm that children can and must be taught, supported, and reminded that, regardless of previous experiences, every day is a new day.

He invites you to join the effort of guiding GISD’s young men and women as they continue their journey through moments of clarity and future achievements.


Assistant Principal

Mr. Douglas

Mr. Tucker Douglas

Tucker Douglas is the Assistant Principal for Elementary and Middle School at the Garland Alternative Education Center, bringing a wealth of experience and dedication to his role. With a background as an English teacher and coach at Garland High School, Mr. Douglas transitioned into administration for two years, and then served as an Assistant Principal at Lyles Middle School before joining the GAEC family in the same role.  Mr. Douglas has been at the GAEC since 2017.

Mr. Douglas holds a Bachelor's in English from Abilene Christian University and a Master's in Education from Texas A&M Commerce. His commitment to professional development is evident through his completion of the "Future Principal's Institute" through GISD and his achievement as a Level 3 Coach with the IGC. He has also been recognized nationally as a "Read 2 Succeed" contest winner and an AVID Most Valuable Teacher from his time in the classroom.

Known for his restorative approach discipline and dedication to student success, Mr. Douglas is focused on ensuring a safe and respectful environment at GAEC for all people who walk through the door. He believes that every person has value and a chance at a better future, regardless of their past choices.  His commitment to excellence and calm approach with struggling students make him a valuable member of the school and community.