Merced City School District names new principals and other appointments

By DOANE YAWGERdyawger@mercedsun-star.com

Two local elementary school principalships were confirmed Tuesday morning by the Merced City School District Board of Education. Seven learning director/assistant principal appointments also were made.

Vance d’Escoto was named principal at Franklin Elementary School, replacing Connie Hadley who retired in early June. Catherine Puckett becomes the new acting principal at Stefani Elementary School, replacing Principal Harry Harris who has been placed on medical leave for a year.D’Escoto, learning director at Burbank Elementary School since 2009 and a literacy coach for three years at Fremont Charter School, started his educational career in 1991-1993 as a fifth-grade teacher at Our Lady of Miracles School in Gustine.

He then spent four years as a sixth-grade homeroom teacher at Our Lady of Mercy School in Merced, two years as a fifth/seventh-grade language arts teacher at Bellevue-Santa Fe Charter School, then stints as a bilingual/Spanish teacher at Peterson School and first-grade teacher for four years at Alicia Reyes Elementary School.

Puckett, learning director at Margaret Sheehy School for two years, previously was a learning director for three years at John Muir School, a resource teacher for 11 years at Fremont School and a teacher since 1987 at various local sites.

Other appointments announced Tuesday morning include: Aaron Alexander, from fourth-grade teacher at Givens School to temporary learning director at Burbank School; Chuck Aliberto from assistant principal at Tenaya Middle School to temporary assistant principal at Cruickshank Middle School; Lil Ayala from resource teacher at Cruickshank School to learning director at Reyes School; Matt Johnson from resource teacher to learning director at Stefani School; Diane Shaw, from fourth/fifth-grade combination teacher at Muir School to learning director at Sheehy School; Jared Pierce, from assistant principal at Cruickshank School to assistant principal at Tenaya Middle School, and Lisa Slaton, to learning director at Chenoweth School.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.