Julio Lopez, an administrator from Illinois, will become the new principal at Providence Elementary School.
Lopez, who along with his family intends to relocate to Denton in July, was officially hired at a Denton school board meeting Tuesday. He currently serves as principal at Orchard Place Elementary School in a suburb northwest of Chicago.
The new principal succeeds Susan Bolte, who’s led Providence Elementary since it opened in 2004. Bolte left the school Feb. 27 to care for an ailing family member and intends to retire in June.
In Bolte’s absence, Aleta Atkinson, a retired Denton ISD administrator, has served as the school’s interim principal. Providence Elementary is in Providence Village, about 10 miles east of Denton.
“I am super elated to be able to serve the Denton community and Providence in particular,” Lopez said.
The school board welcomed Lopez to Denton ISD via Skype on Tuesday, and he plans to meet his new staff at Providence Elementary by video conference today.
Lopez has 14 years of experience, all in the Illinois area, as a kindergarten through 12th-grade educator. His previous jobs have included serving as a high school assistant principal and dean, a basketball coach and teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He received a Texas principal certification last July, according to Denton ISD officials.
What appealed to Lopez about Denton ISD is that it’s a district that can provide challenging curriculum opportunities, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual-language and gifted and talented programs, for his sons who are to enter high school and kindergarten next year, he said.
The primary goal for Lopez is to build relationships and trust with the Providence Elementary staff and community, he said.
Providence Elementary is a high-performing school that provides some good challenges, Lopez said. Upon analyzing the school’s instructional needs, he said he will determine what modifications must be made to instructional practices there. He said he hopes to provide guidance that takes the school “to an even higher level.”
Lopez said he’s coming from a school that’s shown the most student progress and growth of any school in the Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62 in the past three years.
He also said Orchard Place Elementary is a high-needs, heavy-language school that’s done a lot of small-group instruction in reading and math. The school also has infused technology for project-based learning. Those are just some of the things Lopez said he hopes to bring to Providence Elementary upon analyzing the school’s needs.
Denton ISD Superintendent Jamie Wilson said Lopez’s commitment to community involvement and including parents and the community in the development and growth of the school is what stood out about him.
Wilson said it also impressed him that Lopez seeks teachers who take risks in addition to using traditional methods in the classroom to engage students and help them learn, and that he challenges students to think.
“I’m ecstatic that he’s going to be a part of our team,” Wilson said. “I cannot wait for him to get here. He will bring a lot of experiences to us, and we look forward to sharing ours with him.”
In addition to Lopez, the district has named five new school leaders in the past three weeks. The following are the administrators hired and the schools they’ve been assigned to lead:
Shaun Perry, Guyer High School principal;
Lesli Guajardo, Braswell High School principal;
Robin Brownell, Hawk Elementary School principal;
Rosie Oliveira, Ryan Elementary School principal; and
Marcus Bourland, LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex dean.
Wilson said district officials are conducting interviews for the Navo Middle School principal job and anticipate having a candidate recommendation for the board to consider by its May 26 meeting.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.