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Big Springs Elementary

Grant Bortnem

Principal Grant Bortnem

My name is Grant Bortnem, and I am the Principal of Big Springs Elementary, and I am very glad you are visiting us here online. I have served in Richardson ISD since day one of being a brand-new teacher. Before becoming the principal at Big Springs Elementary, I was the assistant principal at Richardson Terrace Elementary for seven years. I was also an assistant principal at Skyview Elementary for three years, a math specialist at Dover, a 6th-grade math/science teacher at Jess Harben, and a special education teacher at Yale and Bowie. I am driven by cultivating opportunities for students, staff, and the entire community to build relationships and support one another as we fulfill our goals of academic growth and enable dreams for the future.  I am committed to making myself available for questions, ideas, and feedback. I am so excited to connect with each of you to learn how I can best serve the Bobcat community and support you throughout the year.

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Assistant Principal Manina (Bonnie) Altimore

This is my 2nd year as Assistant Principal at Big Springs Elementary, and my 12th year in Richardson ISD. 

Before coming to Big Springs, I was an Instructional Coach at Westwood Junior High, Campus Math Specialist at Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet, and a teacher at White Rock Elementary and Richland Elementary where I taught 1st – 4th grades.

I grew up in Richardson ISD where I attended Kindergarten – 6th grade at Richland Elementary, 7th – 9th grade at Richardson Junior High, and 9th – 12th grade at Berkner High School. 

After I graduated, I attended The University of Texas at Dallas where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and The University of North Texas where I earned my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.

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Principal Vince Dawes

Dear Big Springs Elementary Staff, Families, and Community:

I am truly honored to be a part of this outstanding school community with great students, teachers, and parents. I look forward to meeting each of you and building great partnerships. I assure you that I share in Big Springs’ strong belief in unlocking potential, provide opportunities, and enable dreams… for every student.

I have been devoted to the field of education for more than nineteen years. After graduating from Florida A&M University and Nova Southeastern University, I began my career in Broward County Public School District in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where I taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade, served as Assistant Principal, Intern Principal, and Principal. In 2016, my wife’s job relocated our family to North Dallas and I continued my career as an Assistant Principal and Principal in Frisco and Greenville ISD, respectively. I am excited to continue my passion for education and leadership at Big Springs and will partner with you to ensure our students are successful.

In addition to being an educator, I am a proud husband and father. My wife Cherrelle and I have three boys, Jaden (18), Cameron (16), and Asher (5). When I am not at school, I love spending time with family, playing golf, watching and attending college/professional basketball and football games.

One of the most important aspects of my work here at Big Springs will be building strong relationships with students, teachers and families. My passion has been and always will be educating students. With that in mind, you can expect that I will work diligently with teachers to ensure our students are exposed to curriculum and instruction that is both engaging and challenging. I believe that the success of our students begins with a great home and school connection through communication and collaboration. I am looking forward to this new relationship.

As the Principal, please know my door is always open and I can’t wait to meet each of you in person. This is going to be an exciting year at Big Springs Elementary!

Go Bobcats!

Kids First,

Vince Dawes


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Assistant Principal Bill Gattus

Mr. Gattus serves as an assistant principal at Big Springs Elementary

He has worked in RISD for 9 years as a special education paraprofessional, P.E. Teacher, football coach, third grade teacher, and special education teacher.

Mr. Gattus attended undergrad at The Texas A&M University and graduate school at Lamar University.