Students and staff returning to five public schools in Santa Fe will find new leaders in August.

Superintendent Veronica García on Tuesday announced appointments at Acequia Madre Elementary, Nava Elementary, Gonzales Community, Milagro Middle and Nina Otero Community schools. Some of these incoming principals are new to the district, while others have served for years and are looking for new challenges, she said.

“I’m excited about this cohort of leaders and their leadership skills,” García said. “Leadership changes are always difficult. While they have challenges, they also present brand-new opportunities.”

Kathy Casaus, who recently served as principal of Bel-Air Elementary School in Albuquerque, will lead Acequia Madre, a small K-6 school on the city’s east side.

Marc Du Charme, who has overseen both De Vargas and Milagro middle schools, will take over Nava, a K-6 school in the Rancho Siringo neighborhood on Siringo Road.

Candice Flint, principal of Mariposa Elementary School in Carmichael, Calif., since 2010, will run Gonzales, a K-8 school on West Alameda Street.

Brenda Korting, who has served as principal of Nava for several years, is transferring to Milagro, now housed on the campus of the former Capshaw Middle School on Zia Road. Milagro’s staff and students will move into a new building off Llano Road — the former site of De Vargas Middle School — by fall 2019.

Angelia Moore, who has been assistant principal of El Camino Real Academy since 2016, will be the new principal of Nina Otero, a K-8 school on the city’s south side near Capital High.

Sherry Coopwood, a retired educator who has been serving as interim principal of Acequia Madre since January, agreed to fill the job on a temporary basis after the district moved former Acequia Madre Principal Ahlum Scarola to Mandela International Magnet School to replace a principal there who had been reassigned.

Mike Lee, the longtime principal of Gonzales, announced earlier this year that would retire this month after 25 years with the district.

Other principals are moving to other states or to other types of jobs, García said, adding that those who are transferring to a new school within the district agreed to the changes.

“I never force a person to move,” she said. “There has to be an agreement from the person that they want a new challenge.”

At each of the five schools, a committee including staffers interviewed the prospective principals and gave feedback to administrators.

“In some cases,” García said, “they got their first choice, but sometimes their second or third choice, because maybe I didn’t think choice one was a right fit for that school but was a right fit for another school.”

The district is still seeking new leaders for a few other schools, including Sweeney Elementary School, where longtime Principal Theresa Liebert is retiring.

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General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

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