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New principals taking reins at Merced-area high schools

Two Merced high schools feature new faces in the principal's seat.

Constantino Aguilar becomes principal at Merced's Golden Valley High School, and Torrin Johnson assumes the principalship at Yosemite High School.

Aguilar replaces Craig Chavez as Golden Valley principal. Chavez, principal for four years, has been named the director of educational options for the Merced Union High School District's Educational Services Division.

Aguilar, 39, just completed his fourth year as an associate principal, the last two years at Buhach Colony High School in Atwater and the previous two at Golden Valley.

"It's been absolutely euphoric," Aguilar said. "I'm glad to be back at Golden Valley. It's a tremendous campus with great staff and students. Craig (Chavez) has laid a really good foundation, and I hope to build on what Craig has done there. There's no need to start over by any means."

Johnson, 32, was an associate principal at Atwater High School for 2½ years and had been vice principal at Sequoia High for six months. An Atwater High graduate in 1987, Johnson was an English teacher at Merced and Atwater high schools and joined Buhach Colony in the same role when it opened nearly a decade ago.

"I'm excited about the promotion," Johnson said. "I like alternative education and this is where I always wanted to be. You help kids solve problems so they are able to learn."

In his new role, part of an administrative restructuring within the district, Chavez will oversee the East Campus Educational Center and the district's online high school programs.

Aguilar is a graduate of Indiana University where he received a bachelor's degree in Spanish. He received his master's degree in school administration from California State University, Stanislaus. He taught Spanish at Atwater High for 11 years and was head basketball coach for eight years.

Johnson graduated from Merced College and attended Long Beach State College. He received his bachelor's degree in English and interdisciplinary studies along with a master's degree in English from Fresno-based National University.

Yosemite High has 350 students and Golden Valley has 2,200 students.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at

(209) 385-2407 or