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Cano picked to lead McNair

Profile image for By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer
By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer

The Denton school board named Deborah Cano of the Aledo school district as the new principal of McNair Elementary School.

Cano’s hiring was announced after a unanimous vote on the consent agenda at Tuesday’s board meeting. Shortly after the vote, district officials greeted and congratulated Cano, who attended the meeting.

“We’re just delighted to have Mrs. Cano and her experiences coming to Denton ISD and anxious for her to be able to get started working with our teachers and our students,” Superintendent Jamie Wilson said.

Cano, who has served as principal at Vandagriff Elementary School in Aledo since 2011, said being named principal at McNair is “a dream come true.”

“It’s a thrill. It’s an honor,” she said. “I’ve been watching and keeping up with what goes on in Denton for years, for several years, and I did an internship at W.S. Ryan [Elementary School] with Jayne Flores when I began my doctoral program. And when I did that internship with her, I was just so impressed with the teachers, the community, with the leadership in the district.

“It’s so exciting for me.”

Her educational career spans more than 24 years — 10 of which have been as an administrator.

No timetable has been set for when Cano will start work at McNair, Wilson said.

“She’s currently under contract in Aledo ISD, so she would have to be released from Aledo — from her contract — and I’ll be working with her superintendent on a transition plan,” he said. “Of course, we would love to have her as quickly as possible. However, we know the commitment that she made to her current school system.”

Cano replaces Sean Flynn, McNair’s principal of more than seven years who resigned citing personal reasons Sept. 13.

Since Sept. 16, Aleta Atkinson has served as acting principal at the school, and district officials said she will continue serving in that capacity until Cano starts work.

More than 80 people applied for the McNair job, and 34 were screened by the interview committee, said Robert Stewart, the district’s executive director of human resources.

Six applicants were invited for formal interviews and five were recommended for interviews with Wilson before Cano was selected as principal, he said.

During her career, Cano said, she’s served as a classroom teacher at the fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade levels, a coach, an assistant principal and principal.

She’s worked for the Keller school district and at an academy in Grand Prairie, and she’s served as an adjunct professor at Texas Christian University, according to DISD officials.

Cano has a bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Midwestern State University. She has a superintendent’s certificate and is pursuing a doctorate at Dallas Baptist that she hopes to complete by December 2014.

The new McNair principal said the No. 1 thing she hopes to bring to her role at the school is setting an atmosphere where the school is a team — a family that works together and collaborates.

“It takes a village. It takes a community. It takes the entire staff, the parents, the students, all stakeholders working together, collaborating on doing what’s best for children,” Cano said. “That’s the lighthouse. That’s what we shine on. Our focus is doing what’s best for children.”

She said she intends to meet the McNair staff today and looks forward to getting to know families and students at the school during her transition period.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.