A handful of Scottsdale schools throughout the community will have new leadership when the next school year begins after the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board officially hired four new principals over the summer break.
The board also removed the interim tag from Coronado High School Principal Amy Palatucci and Chaparral High School Principal Todd Dreifort, both of whom took over their respective schools last year.
On June 6, the Governing Board approved Julie Ballard to replace longtime Tavan Elementary Principal Margaret Serna, who was appointed the district’s executive director of Title 1 schools.
Ballard will look to continue the legacy of high achievement Serna brought to Tavan.
“Margaret has shown me that great school leadership requires the ability to build respectful relationships by listening, understanding and acknowledging others’ input,” Ballard said.
Ballard, who has served as assistant principal at Tavan for five years, has been with Tavan since 2001 when she started as a special education teacher.
Superintendent John Kriekard expressed support for Ballard when the hiring was made official at June 6 board meeting.
“(This hiring) will be a great continuation of all the wonderful things you’ve been doing,” Kriekard told Tavan staff present at the meeting.
Ballard co-chairs Tavan’s Intervention Planning Team, serves as Leader of the Multi-Disciplinary Team and is a member of the school’s Literacy Team and Teaching and Learning/Leadership Committee.
Also on June 6, the board named Adam Kohnen principal at Mountainside Middle School to replace Terri Kellen, who retired after seven years in the position.
Kohnen will bring valuable experience to Mountainside, which is currently a candidate to become certified by International Baccalaureate as an IB Middle Years Programme School.
Kohnen previously taught history at Desert Mountain High School and Pre-Diploma IB Program teaching staff.
Before coming to Mountainside, Kohnen was an assistant principal at SUSD’s Chaparral High School for two years.
On June 25, the board approved Robert Akhbari as principal at Desert Canyon Middle School and Tim Eyerman as principal at Copper Ridge School.
Akhbari, who has spent the last 13 years with SUSD, was an assistant principal at Cheyenne Traditional School for the past six years.
He started his SUSD career as an assistant principal at Saguaro High School before moving to Kiva Elementary school from 2010 to 2013.
According to the district, Akhbari has experience working in a number of different areas, including student testing, achievement and discipline, emergency response planning, gifted programs and special education.
Unlike Akhbari, Eyerman is new to SUSD.
He will succeed Lindsay Stollar Slover, who is joining the district office, as principal at Copper Ridge School, which serves grades Kindergarten through eighth grade.
Eyerman most recently held the title of senior director of Charter School Advocacy for BASIS.ed and ran the organization’s grades 5 to 12 school in Washington, D.C. from 2014 to 2017.
The Basis.ed organization manages Basis charter schools, which have campuses throughout Arizona, including in Scottsdale.
“Over the past 12 years I have endeavored to make a difference in American education and I am eager to provide educational excellence daily for all Copper Ridge students,” Eyerman said.
Eyerman previously headed Basis’ grades 6 to 12 school in Phoenix.
Before going to Basis, Eyerman taught at Isaac Middle School in Phoenix and Phoenix Collegiate Academy.