Empowering Middle School Minds: Creating Bright Futures through Storytelling and Preparedness.


Our mission is to nurture and guide middle school students through their critical years of development by embracing the power of positive self-narratives and fostering a culture of college, career, and military readiness. We believe that every student has a unique story, and by exploring and reshaping their narratives, we can instill resilience, self-awareness, and a sense of purpose. Our dedicated team of counselors is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and compassionate environment where students can explore their passions, talents, and aspirations. Through personalized guidance and comprehensive resources, we aim to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to succeed academically and thrive in their future endeavors. Together, we'll build a community that celebrates individuality, embraces diversity, and empowers students to become the architects of their own success stories.

More About SMS Counselors

Connect with Liza Knight Mendonca
Lead Counselor (8th Grade)

Meet Mrs. Liza Mendonça, a dedicated education professional hailing from Houston, Texas. As a passionate advocate for learning, she stands as a beacon of achievement, being the first in her family to attain a college degree. Her educational journey led her to Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English. Further enriching her expertise, she obtained a Master of Science in Education from Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

With an impressive teaching background, Mrs. Mendonça commenced her career in the Houston Independent School District. Here, she nurtured young minds, instructing 9th and 10th graders in English, including Pre-AP English and English as a Second Language at Austin High School. Her mentorship extended beyond the classroom, as she championed UIL Journalism and Ready Writing, guiding students to district and regional honors, with some even advancing to the state level.

Transitioning to Fort Bend ISD, Mrs. Mendonça continued to make an impact, imparting her knowledge in English II and English II Pre-AP at Travis High School and Willowridge High School. A devoted advocate for student success, she honed her counseling skills, obtaining a Master of Education in School Counseling from the University of St. Thomas and pursuing additional coursework at Houston Baptist University. This journey marked her path toward becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Texas.

Currently serving as the lead school counselor Mrs. Mendonça's focus remains unwavering. Her mission centers on preparing students for the realms of college, career, and military readiness. Beyond her professional endeavors, she finds joy in reading, coloring, sports spectating, culinary adventures, and community engagement.

Having spent her initial year at Stafford Elementary, Mrs. Mendonça is thrilled to be a part of the middle school team at SMSD. Her aspiration is to empower every student to discover their fullest potential, supporting their journey to becoming the best version of themselves.

Connect with Dianah S. Hicks-Moore
Counselor (6th-7th Grade)

Mrs. Hicks-Moore is the 6th and 7th grade school counselor at Stafford Middle School. She is a proud graduate of Texas Southern University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Administration and Prairie View A&M University, where she earned her Master of Arts in Counseling. 

Born and raised in La Marque, Texas where she began her educational career as an elementary teacher and advocate for social and emotional learning in students. In 2014 she made the transition to school counselor and has served in various roles throughout her tenure as an elementary and middle school counselor. Mrs. Moore is skilled to provide services to help students resolve personal, emotional, and social problems that interfere with their adjustment to school and their ability to enjoy the benefits of the educational process. 

As she begins her seventeenth year in education and third year in Stafford, she is elated to be part of the SMS Team and to assist in building a legacy of lifelong LEARNERS.


Liza Knight

Lead Counselor (8th Grade)
Middle School

Dianah Hicks

Counselor (6th & 7th Grade)
Middle School

Stafford College & Career Center & Houston Community College

We offer courses designed to prepare students as early as 7th grade with the skills to succeed post-graduation in careers and technical fields including dual credit classes and the opportunity to obtain an Associate's Degree through our partners at Houston Community College.

College & Career Center Information