Phone: (972) 494-8359

Fax: (972) 494-8717


Jake Shirley

I am the newly appointed principal at Northlake Elementary.  A Rowlett High School alumnus, I started my teaching career as a sophomore English teacher at RHS.  As doors to leadership roles opened, I became an English teacher and head track and field coach at Mabank High school and eventually assistant principal at Central Athens Elementary.  It was here that I led the campus as restorative discipline coordinator to become the first campus in the state of Texas to receive a badge of distinction and recognition for restorative discipline practices from the Texas Education Agency. 

I found my way back to Garland ISD as assistant principal at Weaver Elementary, under the direction and support of Principal Jenny Thomason, where I served for 2 years, prior to my new appointment at Northlake Elementary. 

I am one of six state trainers in restorative discipline practices for the Texas Education Agency, and was recently admitted as a doctoral student at Texas Tech University, studying for a PhD in Educational Policy. 

I am married to Sarah Shirley, also a teacher in Garland ISD, for 13 wonderful years. In the time we have away from campus, Jake enjoys training for ultra-marathons with his two Australian shepherds, Roger and Paavo. 

Assistant Principal

Zurie Tafciu

Dear Northlake Families,

I am elated and honored to be part of Northlake family and your student’s education. It is a privilege to be part of this fabulous STEM campus! I graduated from University of Tirana with a Bachelor of Arts in Italian Language and a minor in Education. In addition, I hold a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Lamar University. My certifications include: Generalist EC-6, English as a Second Language EC-12, Gifted and Talented EC-12, and Principal. During my eleven years in education here in the United States, I have held multiple positions including: fifth grade writing teacher, fourth grade self-contained teacher, intervention specialist, instructional support coach, and curriculum writer.

I moved to the United States in 1998. My husband and I are fortunate and privileged to call this tremendous country our home. My son also attended GISD schools. He still talks about the impact the GISD education and teachers have had on him and his education.

Many incredible educators have inspired me throughout the years to become an educator who believes that children can learn when the necessary tools and motivation are provided; an educator who believes in providing high quality instruction, strategies, technology tools, and high level of engagement to meet all learning styles; an educator who believes in dignity and uniqueness of each individual child; and an educator whose main focus is student safety and student needs. I am very exciting to have found and be a part of an amazing campus where everybody shares the same commitment in supporting our 21st century learners become successful individuals in today’s society.

I look forward to working with your student and your family through open and consistent communication to help maintain a collaborative learning community while focusing on an education that empowers and better serves our students. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or accomplishments/celebrations you would like to share.

Office staff

Judie Golightly - Secretary

Maribel Velasco - Data Clerk

Janna Foster - Nurse