During a special meeting of the Chino Valley Unified School District governing board on May 21, the board voted unanimously to appoint Mardi Read as the new Heritage Middle School principal.
Read fills the post that opened when Scott Muir resigned in April citing personal reasons.
Read comes to the district from the Prescott Unified School District where she most recently served as testing coordinator and worked with professional and curriculum development.
"I came to education as a second career," said Read. "I started in Environmental Project Management, cleaning up contaminated sites, so I have a strong science and project management background."
Read was also an elementary teacher at the third and fourth grade level, and spent two years as principal at Granite Mountain Middle School before transferring to the PUSD offices.
"Most of my experience in the schools has been at the upper elementary and middle school, so I completely understand those students and their concerns," said Read. "I love those students, they are my favorite age group. I really understand the developmental needs of those grade levels."
Read said the biggest challenge she will face will be in providing a stability factor for a campus that will undergo a drastic change in the fall.
Earlier this year, the CVUSD board voted to change Territorial Elementary School into a kinder-only campus, move first through fourth grade TES students to Del Rio School, and change the HMS campus from a sixth through eighth grade to a fifth through eighth campus.
This change will also move TES principal Carolyn Reeder to HMS as Assistant Principal, giving HMS a Read-Reeder combo.
"The first thing I will tackle is helping the teachers and students transition to all of the changes that we will be seeing," said Read. "Next is helping the teachers work with the new Common Core program, helping them understand it, how to teach it, and how to support our students with it. Really, my biggest challenge is going to be supporting everyone, teachers, students, and parents with all of these changes."
Duane Howard, CVUSD superintendent, said he understands the concerns of the community as they prepare for changes in the district, and looked to area parents for help in choosing the new HMS principal.
The district heard from 28 candidates for the opening, Howard narrowed down the pool to 12. Those 12 were then submitted to a committee chaired by DRS principal Susan Clark. That committee then submitted a final four list.
The final four were presented to the community during a public Meet and Greet session at HMS, where those in attendance were asked to fill out a form at the end of the meeting listing who they would choose as the new principal.
"A superintendents committee of four interviewed the final candidates, and then the community, in a sense, got to be the fifth member of that committee when they filled out those cards," said Howard. "Mardi will bring a wealth of information to our district and a wealth of expertise in the area of professional development and curriculum development."
Read said she is planning on starting a National Junior Honors Society at HMS, for those students seeking extra challenges in the classroom.