Jason Johnston

Today, the Celina Independent School District announced Dr. Jason Johnston will join the district’s leadership team, succeeding Lori Sitzes, who is retiring at the end of June as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Johnston comes from Allen ISD where he has served as an Assistant Superintendent of Employee Services and Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives. 

During Johnston’s career in AISD, he led and had oversight of the district’s strategic improvement and innovation plans. He also developed robust systems for efficiency while creating a recognition initiative that partnered with local businesses to celebrate all employees.

Prior to his district-level leadership positions in AISD, Johnston served as the Allen High School principal, overseeing the academic, fine art, and athletic programming of the largest high school in Texas. He was instrumental in expanding academic and leadership opportunities for students while collaboratively leading the design and implementation of the district’s STEAM Center. During his tenure, Allen ISD expanded all career and technology opportunities, including computer science and engineering courses that capitalized upon the strengths of direct industry partners in the Allen community.

Johnston comes to Celina with more than 22 years in education as a high school teacher, coach, and building administrator in Garland, Rockwall, Forney, and Allen ISDs. Johnston is known for being student-centered in all his decisions, and as a middle school principal in Rockwall ISD, Dr. Johnston was recognized by H-E-B in 2014 as their Excellence in Education Secondary School Principal of the Year.

“I am honored and excited to join a dynamic team of educators committed to empowering students and fostering a culture of excellence,” Johnston said. “I look forward to collaborating with teachers, administrators, and the community to ensure every student receives a high-quality education that prepares and inspires them for future success.”  

With Sitzes’ retirement, the district has also restructured leadership roles to add greater support for teaching and learning and to expand student opportunities. In addition to Dr. Johnston’s role as Senior Chief Academic Officer in Celina, Russell McDaniel will serve as the Senior Chief Student Services Officer. This redefined leadership structure will be effective July 1. 

McDaniel is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, and in his new role, he will develop intervention and support services for all students in the areas of academic counseling, health services, special education, and leadership support. 

McDaniel has served in CISD for the past seven years. He joined the district as the Celina Middle School principal and then was named the Director of Special Programs and Accountability before his appointment to Assistant Superintendent. With more than 25 years of experience, McDaniel has also served as a teacher, coach, and athletic director. Additionally, McDaniel has been instrumental in developing processes for data-informed decision making, leading effective classroom management, as well as creating collaborative campus cultures.

“I am honored to serve as a Senior Chief for our district,” McDaniel said. “We have a great student and support services team, and I look forward to continuing to grow our opportunities for all Bobcats. I also look forward to partnering with Jason as we work together to ensure every student achieves success.”

CISD Superintendent Tom Maglisceau said, “We are honored to have Russell McDaniel expand his role serving the students, staff, and campus leaders in our district. He is recognized throughout our schools as a champion for kids and as a true representative of the Bobcat spirit we hold so dear. We are also excited to have Jason Johnston join the CISD team. We know that his knowledge and experience working with fast-growth districts and districts of excellence will help CISD navigate our ever-increasing enrollment while expanding academic opportunities for all students. Both of these gentlemen will help us to maintain our guiding principles: Community, Excellence, Innovation, Leadership, and Stewardship.”