A new principal at Nye Early Childhood Center will take the helm Jan. 3, Santa Fe Public Schools announced Monday.
Brittany Behenna Griffith, the school’s curriculum support specialist, will take the place of the departing Christi Foreman, who recently announced her resignation.
Foreman was hired as principal at the district preschool in July 2019 and had worked as a director of special education, as well as several other positions in the district.
District spokesman Cody Dynarski confirmed Tuesday that Foreman is resigning to take another position outside the district. Foreman did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Behenna Griffith, 35, said she was inspired to take on a leadership role while working at Nye a few years ago and hopes to get more parents of preschool-age children interested in early childhood education while making the school a model for the state.
She’s worked at Nye for the past nine years and said her first priority on the job is teamwork.
“There’s the immediate [need] of just relationship building with my amazing staff,” she said. “And building relationships with students and parents.”
Nye, which enrolls 3- and 4-year-olds, has seen an enrollment decline from pre-pandemic years, in line with overall enrollment trends at the district.
The school had 169 total students during the fall of the 2018-19 school year according to state 40-day enrollment counts. In this fall’s 40-day count, there are 152 students at Nye. That is up from the 2020-21 school year.
Behenna Griffith would like to see a waitlist for the preschool during her tenure, she said.
The incoming principal — who said she initially wanted to be a pharmacist — has bachelor’s degrees in elementary and special education from New Mexico Highlands University, along with master’s degrees, both in special education and in curriculum and instruction, from Eastern New Mexico University.
In 2019, she received a Golden Apple for Excellence award for her work and has advocated for preschool funding as a Teach Plus Policy Fellow, according to a news release from Santa Fe Public Schools.
District early childhood director Patricia Azuara called Behenna Griffith an “asset” with a “deep understanding” of special education and preschool age-appropriate practices.
Behenna Griffith is also the mother of a 2-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter, who currently is enrolled at Nye.
“I truly believe in the program or else she wouldn’t be there,” she said in a recent interview.