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Welcome New Principals, Other Administrators

Several 4J schools and departments will have new leadership in 2018–19

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS—Courtney Leonard, Charlemagne principal • Deirdre Pearson, Chávez principal • Dan Sterling, Holt principal • Sebastian Bolden, Spring Creek principal • Denisa Taylor, Twin Oaks principal

MIDDLE SCHOOLS—Chris Mitchell, Cal Young principal • Eric Anderson, Roosevelt principal • Peter Tromba, Spencer Butte principal • Karen Ramirez-Gutierrez, Kennedy assistant principal

HIGH SCHOOLS—Dr. Carey Killen, South Eugene principal • Misael Flores Gutierrez, Churchill assistant principal

DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION—Cydney Vandercar, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services • Dr. Andy Dey, Director of Secondary Education • Ryan Spain, Director of Facilities & Transportation • Kat Lange, Student Services Administrator • Joyce Smith-Johnson, Fox Hollow Campus Interim Administrator

Elementary Schools

Charlemagne Principal: Courtney Leonard is the new principal of Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School, replacing Eric Anderson who will be principal of Roosevelt Middle School next year. Ms. Leonard taught French immersion in the Eugene International High School program at South Eugene and served as the IHS Head Teacher before becoming a school administrator at North Eugene High School. She returns to 4J after serving as an assistant principal at Hillsboro High School.

Chávez Principal: Deirdre Pearson has been selected as principal of Chávez, replacing Denisa Taylor who will become principal at Twin Oaks. Ms. Pearson brings a wealth of knowledge from her years as a teacher in Medford, Albany and Tualatin, along with administrator experience in Ashland and most recently in Bandon, where she served as both middle school principal and special education director.

Holt Principal: Dan Sterling is the new principal at Holt, replacing Joyce Smith-Johnson who will be administrator of the Fox Hollow Campus. Mr. Sterling brings more than two decades of experience as a teacher and school leader in 4J and around the state. Mr. Sterling taught social studies in 4J 20 years ago before serving as a school administrator in Portland, Lake Oswego, and most recently at Centennial Elementary in Springfield since 2015.

Spring Creek Principal: Sebastian Bolden has been hired as the principal of Spring Creek, replacing Raquel Gwynn who accepted a position at the Oregon Department of Education. Mr. Bolden comes to 4J from the Bethel School District where he was a teacher, then assistant principal of a large K–8 school. He is passionate about improving students’ lives through education. A special thank you to Larry Sullivan, who served as interim principal after Ms. Gwynn left in February.

Twin Oaks Principal: Denisa Taylor has been named principal of Twin Oaks, replacing Lizette Rodgers who has chosen to return to classroom teaching. Ms. Taylor has been an educator with 4J since 1996 and has been principal of Chávez Elementary School for more than a decade. She has a strong background in special education, familiarity with Title programs and an unwavering dedication to students and families.

Middle Schools

Cal Young Principal: Chris Mitchell is the new principal of Cal Young. He has been principal of Roosevelt Middle School for the past six years, and previously was a middle school and high school assistant principal in Springfield. Mr. Mitchell is looking forward to promoting academic excellence and a positive school climate. A special thank you to Dana Brummett, Cal Young assistant principal, who stepped up to serve as interim principal this year, and to Morley Hegstrom, who took a break from retirement to serve as interim assistant principal.

Roosevelt Principal: Eric Anderson is returning to the role of principal of Roosevelt, replacing Chris Mitchell who is moving to Cal Young. Mr. Anderson has more than a decade of school leadership experience in the South Eugene region, most recently as principal of Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School. His return to Roosevelt will provide the school with continuity and strong leadership to continue to carry the school forward.

Spencer Butte Principal: Peter Tromba has been named principal of Spencer Butte, replacing Tasha Katsuda who has accepted a position in another district. Mr. Tromba is a veteran educator who has taught at every grade level and served as principal at the middle and high school levels, including at North Eugene High School and Monroe Middle School. He recently worked in Oregon’s Chief Education Office and is excited to serve once again as a school principal.

Kennedy Assistant Principal: Karen Ramirez-Gutierrez is the new assistant principal of Kennedy, replacing Mark Bennett who is retiring after many years of dedicated service. She most recently served as essential skills coordinator at River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School. Ms. Ramirez-Gutierrez is dedicated to supporting student and family success through collaboration and leadership.

High Schools

South Eugene Principal: Dr. Carey Killen is the new principal of South Eugene High School, replacing Dr. Andy Dey who has been appointed the district’s director of secondary education. This is a return to 4J for Dr. Killen, who served as an assistant principal at Sheldon before moving into a principal position in Bethel School District. She has nearly two decades of high school experience with the mosaic of programs and activities that make high school a complex and exciting place to work every day. Dr. Killen looks forward to connecting with all segments of the school community to plan for the future of South Eugene.

Churchill Assistant Principal: Misael Flores Gutierrez has been selected to be an assistant principal of Churchill High School, replacing Ame Beard who has accepted a position in another district. Mr. Flores has high school leadership experience as a dean of students and athletic director, as well as experience as a special education teacher. He is completing his doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis on equity and leadership.

Department Directors

Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services: Cydney Vandercar has been appointed assistant superintendent for administrative services. Ms. Vandercar began her 4J career 25 years ago as a math teacher before serving as a school administrator at the middle and high school levels. Most recently, she served as director of human resources. As assistant superintendent for administrative services, Ms. Vandercar oversees the district’s operational departments and services, including human resources, financial operations, nutrition services, technology, transportation and facilities.

Director of Secondary Education: Dr. Andy Dey has been named 4J’s director of secondary education replacing BJ Blake who is retiring after nearly 30 years as a devoted educator. Dr. Dey has served as principal of South Eugene High School since 2015. His broad background includes experience as a middle and high school science teacher and administrator, track coach, K–12 curriculum director, and earlier as director of a nonprofit organization. Just prior to serving as South Eugene principal, he was curriculum director at an international school in Santiago, Chile. He is fluent in Spanish and holds a doctorate in education leadership. Dr. Dey is a focused and passionate leader for educational excellence, working with staff and community to find ways to ensure that all students are successful.

Director of Facilities and Transportation: Ryan Spain has been appointed the new director of facilities and transportation, replacing Harlan Coats who is retiring after 37 years in 4J’s facilities department. Mr. Spain has exceptional project management and communication skills and nearly 15 years of construction industry experience. Mr. Spain is committed to the continuous improvement of our district’s facilities so that educators and students can focus on teaching and learning. Dexter Rummel has been named facilities and maintenance manager to fill Mr. Spain’s previous position.

Student Services Administrator: Kat Lange has joined 4J as a student services administrator. Ms. Lange has experience as a special education teacher and school administrator, in both principal and assistant principal roles. Most recently, Ms. Lange was a special education director and college adjunct professor in Colorado working to help students with various backgrounds obtain the skills they need to succeed in a globally competitive world.

Fox Hollow Campus Interim Administrator: Joyce Smith-Johnson has been selected as interim administrator of the Fox Hollow Campus. In addition to her experience as principal of Holt Elementary School, Ms. Smith-Johnson has previously worked as a special education teacher and a staff development specialist in 4J. She brings to her new role an extensive knowledge and understanding of special education best practices along with her leadership skills, persistence and tenacity.

Congratulations and welcome to these education leaders in their new positions.

(This article will be updated as additional appointments are announced.)

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