New principals begin year at four Kyrene schools - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

New principals begin year at four Kyrene schools

July 20th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
New principals begin year at four Kyrene schools


Guest Writer

While Kyrene School District students have been celebrating the summer, teachers, staff and leaders have been hard at work preparing for those students’ return.

Every fall, fresh faces join the Kyrene School District team, so some of the staff welcoming students back to school next month will be new – most notably, the principals at four Kyrene schools.

Kyrene de la Estrella Elementary – Principal Sarah Collins

Collins considers it a homecoming. She grew up in Ahwatukee, attended Kyrene schools and was in the first full four-year graduating class of Mountain Pointe High School.

In her 21 years in education, Collins previously served Kyrene as a teacher and dean before accepting a principal position in another district. She is thrilled to be returning to lead Kyrene de la Estrella.

“Estrella has a history of incredible leadership,” Collins says. “It is my hope to maintain that level of excellence while serving the students, families and staff as principal.”

Ahwatukee education is a family affair for Collins. Her husband teaches at Altadeña Middle School, and her two sons attend Centennial Middle School and Mountain Pointe High.

“I am thrilled to be back in Kyrene and am looking forward to meeting the families and students at Estrella. It’s going to be an amazing year!”

Collins takes over the Estrella principal seat from Lamp, who is moving over to Kyrene del Milenio. This will be Lamp’s 22nd year in the Kyrene School District. He started as a teacher, then moved into administration and now is entering his seventh year as a principal.

Kyrene del Milenio Elementary – Principal Michael Lamp

Lamp believes change offers opportunity to grow, and he says the Kyrene del Milenio opening gives him the perfect chance to move to a new school and make an impact while still serving the Kyrene community he loves.

Lamp says of his educational approach, “In a world that is constantly changing, fostering effort and risk taking in our students will give them the best chance to succeed.”

Kyrene del Cielo Elementary – Principal Tammy Thaete

Thaete is taking over at Kyrene del Cielo. She should be familiar to students because she served as assistant principal at Cielo last year and has been in the district for 17 years. Thaete has two master’s degrees, one in elementary education and one in school administration, and she started her career in education as a teacher.

Thaete sums up her educational philosophy this way: “Together we’re better. When school staff, families and community members work together to support children learning, amazing and wonderful things will happen!”

Thaete has two daughters who attended Kyrene schools and went on to graduate from ASU. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking and trying new recipes.

Kyrene Middle School – Principal Julio Martinez

The new principal of Kyrene Middle School has 24 years of experience in public education. Martinez started out as a teacher and has served as a principal for the past six years. He has two master’s degrees, in educational administration and bilingual/multicultural education, which will serve him well at KMS.

“In order for any school to be successful you have to make personal connections with everyone in the school,” he says. “We are all in this together and together we will be successful. When we moved back to Arizona and, in particular, Phoenix, my goal was to be in the Kyrene district. Words cannot even begin to describe how excited I am to be here, to lead KMS, and to serve my community!”

KSD is also welcoming new leaders to the district offices.

Brian Lockery joins the district as the director of business services. Lockery brings 20 years of experience in educational policy, leadership, management and budgeting to Kyrene. In addition to his district-level experience, he has served as an audit manager for the Arizona Department of Education, and prior to that, as a policy advisor and research analyst at the Arizona House of Representatives for 11 years, covering areas of K-12 education, higher education, academic accountability and more.

Most of Kyrene’s new leaders joined the district July 1. Kyrene students will meet their new principals on the first day of school, Aug. 2.

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer