Caleb Leath, assistant principal at Denton’s Wilson Elementary School, has been tapped as the school’s next principal.
He will officially lead the school beginning with the 2014-15 school year to succeed Audrey Staniszewski, who will retire this school year after serving 28 years with the district. Leath’s promotion was officially announced at a school board meeting last week.
“I am very excited, very excited,” Leath said. “I’m only going to be the sixth principal ever in the history of the school, so being able to take over that legacy is really exciting. The school has been known for having high academic standards, and I look forward to continuing that.”
Leath has been on the administrative team at Wilson Elementary the past two years. Prior to that, he worked three years as an assistant principal at Nelson Elementary. Throughout his time with the Denton school district, Leath has been a teacher at Navo Middle School, and last year he led the district’s summer school program. He’s also taught with the Sanger school district.
Leath, who is bilingual in Spanish, coordinated Saturday School for bilingual and English as a Second Language students, and as assistant principal at Wilson Elementary, he’s been responsible for the school’s Two-Way Dual Language Enrichment Bilingual Program.
Prior to becoming an educator, Leath was a commercial pilot, according to a district official.
Leath said he has a goal to continue a “high standard of high student achievement” at Wilson. He added that he wants students and families to know he looks forward to getting to know them more and strengthening those relationships.
“I’m just looking forward to continuing the growth … and doing the best for their kids,” Leath said.
Superintendent Jamie Wilson said the district is excited to have Leath continue “the expectations of excellence at Woodrow Wilson.”
“Mr. Leath is very progressive in his thinking, but he values traditional hard work that Wilson has always been known for,” Wilson said.
One example of Leath’s creativity and innovation is the work he did with school librarian Carol Richmond in putting together the Wilson Film Festival last semester, Wilson said. The festival encouraged people to vote, in the form of donations, for the favorite films produced by classes at Wilson. The festival drew national attention and raised more than $13,000, which was used to purchase more than 30 iPad minis for the school library.
Richard Valenta, assistant superintendent for human resources, said 140 individuals applied for the elementary principal position. Of those applicants, 12 were interviewed and six were recommended to the superintendent for consideration. Valenta said Leath’s talent, his experience as an assistant principal at Wilson Elementary, his residence in the community, being a father to children who will attend Wilson Elementary, his reputation as an instructional leader, being bilingual, being committed to Wilson Elementary staff and “making a difference in the lives of the children at Wilson” were all traits that stood out about Leath.
Staniszewski has known Leath seven years. She said it makes her retirement easier knowing Leath will go on to lead Wilson Elementary, and she calls his naming as school principal “a stamp of approval for the work that we’re doing here.” Staniszewski said he has “a real passion” for the school and is ready for the job.
“He knows our students, our staff, our families, our expectations, and he’s going to do a great job leading the school onward and upward,” Staniszewski said. “I know that he’ll do great in filling this seat.”
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.