District 51 names five new principals

Five School District 51 schools will have new principals when classes begin Aug. 24.

The district confirmed this week that Brig Leane will leave his post as assistant principal at Mount Garfield Middle School to become the principal of Fruita Middle School. Leane’s replacement at Mount Garfield has not yet been hired.

Departing Fruita Middle School Principal Irene Almond accepted a new position as the district’s English Language Learner coordinator. The title is a new one created by the district during a recent restructuring of the curriculum and instruction departments.

The school board approved two other principal hires this week; Jill Youngren will replace retired Orchard Avenue Elementary Principal Denise Hoctor; and Jennifer Morrell will replace Corey Hafey as principal of Taylor Elementary. Hafey will take the helm at Appleton Elementary School this fall, replacing Mark Schmalz, who retired.

Youngren was most recently an instructor in the teacher education department at Western State College in Gunnison. Morrell was an administrative intern at Chatfield Elementary, a position that will not be filled this year.

Fruita Monument High School’s new principal, Janelle Keirns, most recently served as principal of Edmond North High School in Edmond, Okla. She will replace Lee Carleton, who served as interim principal at the school from January 2011 to the end of the school year. He will return to his job as assistant principal at the high school this fall.

Fruita Monument is also getting a new assistant principal, Fruita Monument teacher Joseph Pecorino. He will replace Jessica Gilmore, who is taking a job as assistant principal at Palisade High School. Gilmore will replace Michelle Suttle, who is moving out of the district.

The principal hirings are complete for now, but the number of new principals in the district remains subject to change with two months to go until the start of school, District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said.

“We’ve had things change as late as July or August,” he said.


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