Principal of Willowbend, Willowbend Y&F,
Big Sandy, & Fort Worth
As the Principal of four Trinity Charter Schools campuses, Sonja Cornejo oversees the education of around 80 girls and boys at Big Sandy, Willow Bend, Willow Bend Youth and Family, and Fort Worth. The Willow Bend campuses serve grades kindergarten through twelfth, and Big Sandy and Fort Worth both serve sixth through twelfth grades. Sonja, ‘Nicki,’ works diligently with the teachers and students at all four schools to create individualized learning plans for each of the students. Her compassion for the children goes beyond their educational needs, as she also works closely with each Residential Treatment Facility to ensure the children's needs are also met outside of the classroom.
Before joining the Trinity Charter Schools team, Nicki worked as a coach and teacher at Red Oaks High School. Upon graduating from college, Nicki was asked to teach, which she never had intentions of doing. However, at Red Oaks High School, she quickly realized that teaching and coaching are all about making connections with kids and guiding them to become successful adults, which she ended up loving. After one year in education, Nicki was recruited to participate in the ‘Capturing Kid’s Hearts’ program that specializes in building relationships with youth; this is where she began her path working with at-risk youth. The experience with the ‘Capturing Kid’s Hearts’ program is what inspired Nicki to complete her Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Nicki then moved into an administrative role at Grand Prairie ISD, helping them open one of the first credit recovery programs in the metropolitan area; this program is very successful and is still used as a flagship campus for surrounding districts. Years later, Nicki decided it was time to move back to East Texas to be closer to family, and this is when she started as a Principal at Trinity Charter Schools. In her time as a Principal at Trinity Charter Schools, her region has successfully opened up two new campuses. She has seen many seniors graduate from her campuses; these kids had nothing but the odds stacked against them. Nicki feels that there is no greater success in education than helping a young adult overcome challenges, adversity, and their fear of being something more!
Nicki is from a small East Texas town, Whitehouse, yes, the same Whitehouse that Patrick Mahomes is from! She graduated in 2006 with her Bachelor’s of Communications and Advertising from the University of Texas Arlington. She also graduated with her Master’s of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas Arlington in 2010. Nicki says, “When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family. My husband and I married six years ago, and we have three boys that keep our hearts full and fridge empty! When I’m not catering to my 24/7 fraternity house, I am enjoying a good workout or tending to my garden. I do this to ensure I can always prove to my boys that I’m stronger than them and prove to myself that I can grow a plant (not kill it)!”