The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board approved new principals for the 2021-2022 school year with hiring Dr. Junior Michael as principal of Ingleside Middle School and Matt Gromek as principal of Kiva Elementary School at its June 8 meeting.
The new principals’ first day on the job is July 1, according to a press release, detailing the principals’ backgrounds.
Michael joins SUSD from Mountain Ridge High School in the Deer Valley Unified School District, where he has served as an assistant principal for the past six years.
Among his responsibilities have been creating and overseeing professional development training for academic department leaders and mathematics teachers to improve student test performance, teacher evaluations, student discipline, and overseeing the school’s athletics department and safety plan.
“I am thrilled and honored to lead a wonderful community with a rich history of academic excellence,” says Michael in a prepared statement. “Transitioning from high school to middle school, I am looking to have a positive impact on the educational and life trajectories of our students, knowing the skills they will need to master before they enter high school.”
“The input of Ingleside parents, teachers and staff was vital to the process that led to our selection of Dr. Michael,” says Dr. Milissa Sackos, SUSD Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education in a prepared statement. “With their support, he will build on the school’s many successes and identify new areas for growth.”
Michael graduated in 2006 from Western State University, Gunnison, Colorado, with a bachelor of arts degree in Mathematics, acquired a master’s degree in secondary education at Northern Arizona University in 2011, and earned his doctoral degree in Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University last year.
Before his work in Deer Valley, Michael was Horizon High School’s Attendance Dean for a year, which he was responsible for the day-to-day implementation of attendance policies, mentored the school’s sophomore class, organized student tutoring in preparation for annual state testing and oversaw the mathematics department’s Professional Learning Communities.
Nine years prior, Michael taught mathematics and coached the cross-country and track and field teams at North Canyon High School, also part of the Paradise Valley Unified School District. He also taught math at Paradise Valley and Glendale Community colleges.
Michael succeeds interim principal Erin Kadera. Ingleside, 5402 E. Osborn Road in Phoenix, and its 740 students are part of SUSD’s Arcadia Learning Community, the release said.
In the Saguaro Learning Community, three-year assistant principal Gromek takes over at Kiva Elementary School from retiring principal Alice Spingola on July 1, noted the release.
With SUSD since 2012, Gromek started at Yavapai Elementary School, where he taught fifth grade for four years. He joined SUSD from Buckeye Elementary School District, where he taught sixth grade at WestPark Elementary School for four years.
Before moving to Kiva in 2016, Gromek served as assistant principal at SUSD’s Yavapai and Navajo Elementary schools, as well as Tonalea K-8 School.
“In the three years I have been at Kiva, I have seen the commitment to educational excellence by our students, staff and parents. We will continue to maintain that excellence and reach new milestones, beginning with our school rebuild project,” Kiva’s next principal, Gromek says in a prepared statement.
Kiva, 6911 E. McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley, is the next SUSD school to be rebuilt with voter-approved 2016 bond funds. Initial work on the new school, which had 500 students this year, is scheduled to begin this summer.
Gromek has been a key participant in the planning process, adds the release.
“His passion for students and the Kiva staff and community is very apparent. His collaborative approach will invite stakeholders to provide input and feedback during the school rebuild process. I am confident that he will lead Kiva to new levels,” says Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Dr. Ibi Haghighat of Gromek.
Gromek received his bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2005 from John Carroll University, University Heights, OH, and a master’s degree in Administration Leadership from University of Phoenix, Tempe, in 2015.