The Florence Unified School District has announced the hiring of four new principals, including a couple of familiar faces.
Dr. Tim Richard, a former assistant principal at Florence High School, is returning to FUSD as the new principal at Poston Butte High School. The other new principals hired include Thaddeus Gates at Florence High, Hirineo “Eddie” Lopez at Magma Ranch K-8; and Paul Hatch at Walker Butte K-8
Richard, an assistant principal at FHS from 2008 to 2011, replaces Dr. Bob Pappalardo, who served as principal at Poston Butte since the school opened in 2008. Pappalardo has been reassigned by the district to create an academy for students not succeeding in a regular educational setting.
“Dr. Richard was mentored by (FHS Principal) Chris Knutsen and they have remained friends,” Dr. Amy Fuller, FUSD assistant superintendent, said. “He connects well with students and values teachers and faculty, while keeping high expectations.
“He’s positive, a problem solver, not afraid to try new things, and is loyal to the cause – our kids.”
Richard, who will earn $100,000 at Poston Butte, returns to FUSD after one year as principal at Westwood High School in Mesa. In 2012, he served as a consultant to the Willcox Unified School District, investigating allegations of misconduct by employees, and advised administration and school board members on practices for resolving conflicts and improving the district’s “climate and culture.”
After leaving FHS, Richard served one year as principal at Globe High School, where, under his leadership, the school improved from a D rating to a C.
A 2001 graduate of Arizona State University, Richard served in the U.S. Air Force from 1995 to 1999. After college, he taught and coached cross country at Buckeye Union High School from 2002 to 2005. Richard later served as assistant principal at both East Valley Institute of Technology (2006-07) and at the K-5 level for Scottsdale Unified School District (2007-08).
Richard earned his master’s degree (2005) and doctorate (2011) in educational leadership and administration from Jones International University of Centennial, Colo.
Gates comes to FUSD after 10 years as an administrator for Mesa Public Schools, primarily at Westwood High School where, since 2011, he has served as assistant principal. From 2003 through 2011, Gates was assistant principal and athletic director at Westwood.
Besides his role as athletic director, Gates has also been involved with International Baccalaureate, working with at-risk students, and Arizona Interscholastic Association operations and fiscal policies training, and school safety.
Gates, whose annual salary at FHS is $90,000, also has teaching experience at Skyline High School, Gold Mountain Charter High School (now defunct), and Elizabeth (Colo.) Alternative High School. He is a 1998 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado who earned his master’s (2002) and doctorate (2008) in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.
Lopez, who resides in San Tan Valley and will earn $73,500, was promoted from assistant principal at Walker Butte when John Allee accepted the principal’s position at Florence K-8. Lopez has been assistant principal at Walker Butte since 2009. From 2007 to 2009, he was an assistant principal in training at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.
Lopez is a 1999 graduate of Brigham Young University, where he also played as a wide receiver on the BYU football team. He earned his master’s degree in 2008 from Northern Arizona University.
“Mr. Lopez has an exceptional work ethic,” Fuller said. “He’s well respected by Magma Ranch faculty, staff, parents and students. His actions reflect integrity and high standards. He is a role model for all students.”
Hatch comes to Walker Butte with 12 years of experience as an administrator, most recently in the Hayden/Winkelman Unified School District. Fuller said Hatch has experience in special education programs, including autism. In addition, Hatch, who will earn $85,000, is fluent in Spanish and was born in Chihuahua, Mexico.
“His work ethic is second to none, he’s a good communicator, and cares deeply about children, faculty and staff,” Fuller said.
“I’m excited to add these individuals to our leadership team,” Fuller said. “The job we do as educators is the most important job of all. We build the future every day in our classrooms and schools, and I’m confident that we will succeed together.”