Education

See which Lexington schools have new principals and who has a new position

A Lexington elementary school and a middle school have new principals, and the Fayette County Public Schools district has a new Associate Director of Minority Recruitment and Retention.

“Each new hire strengthens our team,” Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk said in a statement Friday. “Our students and families are counting on us, and we need leaders who are committed to being difference makers.

Mike Hale is the new principal of Winburn Middle School and Jill Hill is the new principal of Cassidy Elementary School.

Rose Santiago is the Associate Director of Minority Recruitment and Retention, school district officials said in a statement. Hale has 19 years of experience in the field of education, including 12 years of teaching and coaching at Carroll County, Garrard County and Bryan Station middle schools. After four years as assistant principal at Shelby County East Middle School, he became the administrative dean at Winburn Middle School in 2016, the statement said.

Since January of this year, Hale has been acting principal at Winburn, following the mid-year departure of Whitney Allison. Hale earned a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education and a master’s degree in school leadership from Eastern Kentucky University, and his rank I in special education from the University of the Cumberlands.

“Mike stepped in as the interim principal and showed great leadership. He led the school through some difficult times during the year,” said Chief of Middle Schools Tony Watts, who oversees Winburn Middle. “He will do an exceptional job as Winburn’s next principal.”

Hill has 18 years of experience ineducation, including six years of teaching at Deep Springs Elementary, eight years as a mathematics specialist and interventionist at Squires Elementary and one year as the academic dean at William Wells Brown Elementary. She has been the professional growth and effectiveness coach at Breckinridge Elementary since 2016. Hill holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Marshall University and master’s degrees in elementary education and educational leadership from the University of Kentucky.

“Jill has served successfully in leadership roles at three Fayette County Elementary Schools,” said Elementary School Chief Heather Bell, who oversees Cassidy Elementary. “Her experiences, advocacy for all students and collaborative leadership style will enhance the rich tradition of excellence at Cassidy.”

Santiago has 24 years experience. She started her career teaching English as a second language in Puerto Rico and spent a total of nine years at Olga Colon Elementary School. For two years Santiago was a bilingual case manager at the York Spanish American Center in Pennsylvania, and for five years worked as a bilingual reading teacher at Parkway Middle School and Gateway High School in Kissimmee, Florida. In 2011, she joined the Florida Department of Education as a school improvement specialist and in 2015 became the Director of Multilingual Education Student Services for the Orange County Public Schools.

Since the fall of 2016, Santiago has worked for the Fayette County Public Schools as the district liaison for Family Community Engagement. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education English as a second language and a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Inter American University.

“She is stepping into this role at just the right time, when changes in the state accountability system have given the district more options to expand our human capital strategy,” Caulk said of Santiago.

Santiago assumed her role when the hiring season began in April. Hill will officially assume her duties on July 1, 2019.

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