Sections    Saturday March 24th, 2018
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New principals highlight administrative moves

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  • Phoenix Union High School District

Karen Cardenas, Dana Cook, Matthew Georgia, Tony Camp, Brian Guliford, Dr. Holly Batsell, Seth Beute

Seven high schools will have new principals when the 2016-17 school year begins August 8.  The Governing Board approved the recommendations of five, June 2, along with other District leadership positions.


Karen Cardenas will take over the Alhambra High School principal position.  The current assistant principal for instruction at the school, she will replace Claudio Coria, who will move to the District office as Leadership Coach.


New principals highlight administrative moves pusdcapture-300x199

Karen Cardenas, Dana Cook, Matthew Georgia, Tony Camp, Brian Guliford, Dr. Holly Batsell, Seth Beute

Dana Cook will become principal at Camelback High School.  Currently the assistant principal for instruction at Maryvale, she will take over for Dr. Quintin Boyce, who becomes the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning.


Matthew Georgia will be the new principal at Cesar Chavez, coming from Camelback where he was the assistant principal for instruction.  He replaces Dr. Schavon Waggoner, who will be the District’s Director of Educator Effectiveness.


Tony Camp will lead Trevor G. Browne High School.  Currently the Director of Career and Technical Education and Magnets at the District office, Camp takes over for Dr. Gabriel Trujillo, who moves to Talent Director at the District.


Brian Guliford will move to South Mountain High School, and take over for Kate McDonald, who will be retiring mid-year.  Guliford is currently the assistant principal for student opportunities at Maryvale High School.


Dr. Holly Batsell was previously hired in May to lead Bioscience High School next year.  An assistant principal at Mountain Ridge High School in the Deer Valley District, Batsell replaces Dr. DeeDee Falls, who is retiring.


Seth Beute was named the principal of the new Phoenix Coding Academy last November.    The school opens this August.


With the elimination of assistant superintendent titles, Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson’s cabinet will have three chief officers- Dr. Althe Allen, Chief Academic Officer; Michelle Gayles, Chief Strategy Officer and Sherry Celaya, Chief Financial Officer.


New Executive Directors include Dr. Quintin Boyce, Teaching and Learning; Thea Andrade in Technology & Innovation; Scott Gayman-Leadership; Laura Telles-Talent; Juve Lopez, Logistics and Mary Kober, Finance.


Other District leadership moves include Melissa Reyes-Jackson to Director of CTE and Magnets, from Exceptional Student Services (ESS), and Dr. Cheri Fitzpatrick to Director of Data, from an assistant principal position at Betty Fairfax High School.  New to the District are Wendy Collison, the Director of Exceptional Students, from Glendale Union; Brian Corte, Director of Curriculum, from Scottsdale where he was principal of Saguaro High School; and Mary Lou Chavez, Talent Director, from Cartwright District.


Meet the New Principals (pictures below)


Alhambra Principal Karen Cardenas has been an assistant principal for instruction for two years at Alhambra following six years as an assistant principal in the Pendergast Elementary District. She began her teaching career at Isaac Elementary District in 2001 and was also an academic coordinator, reading specialist and academic coach. She earned her B.A. at the University of Southern California, Masters of Curriculum and Instruction at ASU, and an Administrative Certificate at NAU and Chapman University.


Camelback Principal Dana Cook enters her 22nd year in public education in Phoenix.  She has been an assistant principal at Maryvale for nine years.  She came to Phoenix Union as a special education teacher in 1997 and became a special education facilitator in 2003.  Cook began her career teaching at Washington Elementary District in 1995. Cook has a B.S. in Education and Special Education from NAU and a Masters in Educational Administration and Supervision from ASU.


Cesar Chavez Principal Matthew Georgia has been the assistant principal for instruction at Camelback for four years.  He came to the District from Hemet School District in California, where he was an instructor, resource specialist, and special education department administrative designee.  Georgia is also an adjunct professor at the Grand Canyon University College of Education, teaching Educational Leadership.  He earned his B.S. in General Science from Fordham University in New York and his Masters in Special Education at National University in California.


Trevor Browne Principal Tony Camp has spent his entire educational career with Phoenix Union, starting as a science teacher at Metro Tech, 2001-2005.  He became an administrator in 2006 as a dean of students at Metro Tech, and then Camelback.  He was an assistant principal of instruction at Alhambra and Trevor Browne.   In 2013, Camp moved to the District office as a supervisor and later director for career and technical education, magnets and innovative programs. In 2009, he was selected as the Phoenix Union Administrator of the Year.  Camp received his B.S. in Biology, minor in Chemistry and his Masters in Educational Leadership from NAU.


South Mountain Principal Brian Guliford’s first year in the District was as an assistant principal at Maryvale last year.  He was an assistant principal in the Pendergast Elementary District in 2014-15, and at Peoria Unified from 2007-2014.  Guliford also taught social studies and coached at Peoria High School for nine years. Prior to his education career, he was a counselor for the State Department of Juvenile Corrections and worked as an assistant research analyst for the Arizona House of Representatives. He earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice at NAU, Secondary Education Post Baccalaureate at Chapman University, and Masters in Ed Leadership at University of Phoenix.


Bioscience Principal Dr. Holly Batsell comes from the Deer Valley School District, where she has been an assistant principal for five years and an English teacher for 20 years.  She was named DVUSD Teacher of the Year and Educator of the Year for the Central Arizona Middle Level Association in 1998.    She oversaw curriculum and teacher professional development at Mountain Ridge High School.  Batsell, earned her Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from ASU in 2013.  She holds a Master of Secondary Education from ASU West, and a Bachelors in English Education, from Northern Arizona University.


Phoenix Coding Academy Principal Seth Beute has been has been with Phoenix Union for 12 years.  He was the Facilitator of Virtual Instruction, overseeing the implementation of the District-wide online education program.  He spent 10 years as a Career and Technical Education (CTE) instructor at Metro Tech High School, teaching computer and network technology courses.  Beute has also worked with teachers and principals, integrating technology and curriculum at a Michigan school district. He has been involved in the planning process for the Coding Academy, serving on the core planning team, co-facilitating the Curriculum Design Team, and assembling faculty and staff. Beute earned his Bachelors in Communication from the University of Michigan, and his Masters in Educational Administrator and Supervision from ASU.