The Denton school board has promoted the assistant principal at W.S. Ryan Elementary School to principal at Lee Elementary School.
Lorena Salas, who starts as principal next school year, will replace Laura Rodriguez, who is retiring.
“I’m honored to serve the students and the community,” Salas said after the board’s vote to officially hire her on Tuesday.
This will be the first time she’s led a school, she said.
She joined the Denton school district 12 years ago, according to district officials, and in that time she’s served as an assistant principal at Title 1 elementary schools Ryan and Wilson, summer school principal for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs in 2010 and 2011, bilingual/English as a Second Language elementary coordinator and a second- and third-grade teacher.
Salas has served three years as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas, instructing students studying to become bilingual and ESL teachers. She also taught second grade in Lewisville for five years, according to Denton school officials. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University.
At Wilson Elementary School, she assisted in implementing the school’s dual language program in 2007, according to district officials.
The district began its search for a new principal at Lee Elementary in early April, said Richard Valenta, assistant superintendent for human resources. About 150 people applied for the position, he said.
It was a tough choice, Valenta said, and any one of the candidates making the final cut could have “done the job.” What stood out about Salas, he said, was her background in education, and she appeared to be “the best fit” for Lee Elementary.
Salas said she looks forward to making Lee Elementary “a great place to learn and build community” that helps students succeed.
To make that goal a reality, she said she intends to conduct parent meetings and continue the Professional Learning Community program, in which district staff work collaboratively to focus on student achievement and learning.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.