Elizabeth Murdoch

New Principal Picture


Elizabeth Murdoch is thrilled to announce her transition into the role of Principal at both Kimberlin and Hillside Academies for Excellence. 

A product of the Garland Independent School District, Elizabeth’s educational roots run deep within the community. She is an alumna of Kimberlin Academy, Austin Academy, and Garland High School. Her passion for learning led her to Texas A&M University at College Station, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, laying the foundation for her future endeavors in education.

Elizabeth's career in education spans over a decade, during which she served as a dedicated classroom teacher in both Garland ISD and Houston ISD. It was during this time that she honed her skills as an educator, embracing a student-centered approach to instruction and nurturing the growth and development of her students. Her commitment to excellence and continuous learning led her to pursue a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas. 

Elizabeth returned to the district that shaped her educational journey, serving as Assistant Principal at Kimberlin Academy for Excellence for the last three years. She is excited to embark on this new chapter and looks forward to working collaboratively with students, staff, parents, and the broader community to ensure the continued success and growth of both Kimberlin and Hillside Academies for Excellence.

Assistant Principal

Faviola 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: Stacey Sayavongsa
Nurse: Nurse Rebekah 
Secretary: Christy Bowser
Data Clerk: Ashley Jones

Instructional Programs Coordinator - Nicole Reeves