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Durango School District 9-R Announces School Leadership Changes for 2019/20 Academic Year

Needham’s current principal, Jenny McKenna, who came to Needham in 2017, was able to help improve academic structures and successes within the school by re-focusing the educational mission on the development of core subjects and putting intervention supports in place, supporting student success in both academics and social environments.  McKenna will be making a move to Miller Middle School to assume the principalship for the 2019/20 school year, parlaying much of her success and area expertise to further support the k-8 alignment and continuity for students in middle school.


McKenna has worked with Needham’s current assistant principal, Laurie Rossback, during her tenure at the school. Rossback has collaborated with McKenna through a strong partnership, making a natural progression for Rossback to assume principalship at Needham as McKenna makes her transition to Miller Middle School. The assistant principal position vacated by Rossback will be posted.


Current Miller Middle School Principal Vicki Trousdale, will assume a role as a second assistant principal to Miller, joining current assistant principal Marcia Hoerl. This will offer the much-needed additional support in the capacity of supporting staff and students within the growing school, and also complements Trousdale’s strengths and skill set. With a principal and two assistant principals, Miller Middle School will continue building a strong community of learners at the middle school level. Again, these changes go into effect in the 2019/20 school year.


Two other principals, Anita Walker and Karen Gray, have announced their plans to depart the district. Walker, current principal at Sunnyside Elementary School, has served in her position for the past year, and has plans to continue to work the school staff and leaders to put systems in place to ensure a smooth transition at her departure.  Walker will continue to lead Sunnyside for the remainder of the 2018/19 school year.


Gray, who came to Durango in 2015 and started initially as assistant principal at Park Elementary, has served the last several years as principal at Fort Lewis Mesa and for the district’s Shared School program, which is an enrichment program for homeschooled students. Gray is resigning to take some time to focus on personal needs, including her own health. This change will go into effect immediately and the district is currently seeking to refill the post.


“There is a lot of planning and evaluations that takes place throughout the school year to help us best prepare and put the most appropriate supports, including personnel, in our schools to support our students, staff and families,” says Superintendent Dan Snowberger. “At the same time, we strive to also maintain consistency and continuity in regards to student success, and those are the guiding principles we use when discussing leadership and staffing needs with our school leaders.”