Principal, Sonya Palmer

Sonya Palmer

I am a graduate of North Garland High School and attended Garland ISD schools from 1st-12th grade. I began my career as a teacher in Garland ISD. I have over 20 years of experience as an educator. I have served as an administrator in Dallas ISD at the top magnet school in the state as well as other comprehensive campuses.

I earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Houston and a Masters in Education Administration from Texas A&M at Commerce. I am thrilled to be the principal of Hillside Academy for Excellence and excited to be back home in Garland. I am looking forward to a wonderful school year

Principal Mrs. Palmer. Mr. J. Jackson, Ms. Wallace,  Assistant Principal Ms. Pena

Assistant Principal, Ms. Pena

Ms. Pena, assistant principal

I am honored to serve the community of Hillside Academy as the Assistant Principal! I strive to collaborate with our exceptional educators and families to provide an excellent educational experience conducive to our students' growth, academic success, and social emotional well-being.

I am originally from Chicago, Illinois and moved to Texas in the beginning of my 4th grade year. I am a proud product of Garland ISD and attended Montclair, Toler, Brandenburg Middle School, and South Garland High School. I have been an educator for 10 years, first as a bilingual teacher, then as an instructional coach, and now as a school administrator. I have spent all of my education career in Garland ISD. I received my Bachelor’s of Interdisciplinary Studies Early Childhood (EC-6) Education from UNT Dallas. I obtained my Master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from Southern Methodist University (SMU).

At a young age, it was instilled in me that the value of education was something that was priceless because it is the one thing that could open doors for me, despite my socio-economic background. Therefore, I believe in the transformative power of education because of the opportunities that education has afforded me. I pursued this profession knowing that I want to be part of the solution in ensuring we are providing the support that students need to ensure that they are fully prepared for what awaits them in the future. I truly believe that what happens in a school setting has the power of changing the world. Therefore, I don’t take this job lightly and know that as a school administrator, I’m impacting our students’ ability to excel and achieve. I look forward to working alongside our families and staff to continue strengthening our school-home relationships to affect our students' learning positively. If I can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out. Let's make this the best year ever because at Hillside Academy for Excellence: We are better together!

One of my all-time favorite treats is Sweet Tea, whether it’s from Chick Fil A or my favorite tea place, HTeaO. My favorite restaurants will be: Chick Fil A, Chiloso, the Cheesecake Factory, and Torchy’s. I love all things Star Wars, so any drawing you make me, sticker, or cup will always bring a smile to my face.

Office staff

Counselor: Marka Phillips
Nurse: Nurse Rebekah 
Secretary: Christy Bowser
Data Clerk: Ashley Jones