New principals, learning directors named for Merced schools

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comApril 22, 2014 

Three new principals, two assistant principals and two learning directors have been named for Merced schools this fall.

Aaron Alexander becomes principal at Reyes Elementary School, replacing Irma Ayala-Olson, who is becoming a learning director at Rivera Middle School. Alexander has been the learning director at Burbank Elementary School.

Anthony Arista becomes principal at Tenaya Middle School, replacing Lucrecia Sicairos, who is voluntarily returning to a classroom teaching assignment. Arista has been a principal at Delhi High School for eight years.

Dawn Walker will take over as principal at Fremont Elementary School, replacing Trisha Wylie, who is resigning in late June. Walker was the assistant principal at Tenaya Middle School and has worked for the district for eight years.

The appointments were made by the Merced City School District Board of Education, which also approved the appointment of David Garza as an assistant principal at Rivera Middle School and Mystee Schindler as assistant principal at Tenaya Middle School.

Schindler has been a math teacher and AVID elective teacher for seventh and eighth grades in Atwater. Previously she was a classroom teacher in the Snelling-Merced Falls School District from August 2001 to August 2005, teaching all subjects in sixth through eighth grades.

Sarah Medlin becomes a learning director at Burbank Elementary School, and Lee Vang becomes a learning director at Givens Elementary School. Medlin has been a fifth-grade teacher at Stowell Elementary School. Vang has been a second-grade teacher at Reyes Elementary School and has worked for the district more than 14 years.

Superintendent RoseMary Parga Duran said the three new principals will be a strong addition to the district’s administrative team. Their appointments were unanimously ratified by board members.

Arista is a graduate of Merced High School who received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Stanislaus. He was an English teacher with the Atwater Elementary School District from July 2000 to Jan. 31, 2006; he was a detention supervisor for the Merced City School District from July 1993 to June 2000.

Garza also is a graduate of Merced High School and received his master’s degree from National University. He is currently employed as a teacher of ninth-grade state requirements and geography at Merced High School and was a substitute teacher with the Merced City School District from December 2005 to May 2006.

Schindler is a Merced High School graduate. She received her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a mathematics emphasis from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in corrections from California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock.

Greg Spicer, associate superintendent for administrative services, said assistant principals are only assigned to middle schools. They assist the principal with all aspects of the administrative duties and management of the school, along with working with students on sports, extra and co-curricular areas, discipline and supervision.

Learning directors also assist the principal with administrative and management duties of the school but to a much lesser extent than assistant principals, Spicer said. Learning directors’ major focus is on developing and implementing school site plans for student achievement. They also are responsible for the new state testing and implementation of Common Core State Standards.

Sun-Star staff writer Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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