SUSD Governing Board

SUSD hires new principals at Arcadia, Pima


The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board approved two new principals at Arcadia High School and Pima Traditional School for the 2020-21 school year.

Dr. Cain Jagodzinski is Arcadia’s new principal while Christopher Hodo will take over at Pima. The SUSD Governing Board approved the selections at its May 19 meeting, after a collaborative selection process that included feedback from Arcadia and Pima parents, teachers, staff and the community.

Dr. Jagodzinski, who will officially begin as the leader of Arcadia High School’s 1,784 students on July 1, comes to SUSD from the Fountain Hills Unified School District, where he has served as principal of Fountain Hills High School for the past four years, according to a press release.

During his time there, he has overseen improvement in the school’s state letter grade from a C to an A and has implemented new, signature programs for students, such as College Board’s Advanced Placement Capstone and AVID. He began his career in public education as a social studies and science teacher at Payson High School in 1999.

“I am excited to begin meeting and collaborating with the students, staff and families of Arcadia High School,” Dr. Jagodzinski said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to working with the community and building partnerships that support our students.”

Dr. Jagodzinski earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in biology from Northern Arizona University in 1999, followed with a Master’s Degree in Leadership in School Administration from Arizona State University in 2007. He completed his Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2018 through NAU, from which he graduated with distinction.

SUSD Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Dr. Milissa Sackos says the input of Arcadia community stakeholders was key in Dr. Jagodzinski’s selection.

“I am confident that Dr. Jagodzinski will bring a level of principal experience to Arcadia High School that will continue to promote excellence and honor the traditions of the Arcadia community,” she said in a prepared statement.

Prior to his Fountain Hills post, Jagodzinski held positions in the Paradise Valley Unified School District from 2008-16. There, he served as an assistant principal, teacher and department chair at Sunrise Middle School, assistant principal at Shea Middle School and dean of students and teacher at Shadow Mountain High School.

He taught social studies and science at Fountain Hills Middle School from 2001 to 2006. At all of his posts, Dr. Jagodzinski has been instrumental in the building of positive learning and work cultures for students, teachers and staff, a release claims.
Five miles to the east in Scottsdale, Hodo will take the helm at Pima also on July 1.

Mr. Hodo has spent the past year as principal and chief executive officer of Create Academy, a grades K – 6 public charter school in central Phoenix. There, he was responsible for the development of a positive school culture of instructional and academic rigor for students and teachers.

Mr. Hodo’s previous experience comes from Iowa, where he served as assistant principal at Leeds Elementary School in Sioux City from 2014-19.

At Leeds, he helped improve the school’s academic performance from “needs improvement” to “high performing,” oversaw the school’s daily operations and student attendance, and communicated with parents and stakeholders on student performance.

He also led and facilitated professional development and professional learning opportunities for the Leeds staff. Prior to that, Hodo taught and headed up the English department at East High School in Des Moines from 2006-14.

Mr. Hodo says he is excited to join the Pima Traditional School community.

“Pima is a special place with a longstanding tradition of excellence in academic scholarship and having a family-like atmosphere,” he said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to continuing Pima’s prestigious legacy.”

Mr. Hodo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English from Iowa State University in 2003 and a Master of Science degree in Effective Teaching and Learning in 2008 from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Four years later, he earned a Specialist in Education degree in Educational Leadership, also from Drake.

SUSD Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Dr. Ibi Haghighat says she is proud that SUSD attracts high-caliber candidates, like Mr. Hodo, to its ranks.

“On behalf of an esteemed team of principals and support administrators, I want to welcome Mr. Chris Hodo to Pima Traditional School and the District,” she said in a prepared statement.

“His leadership and experience will bring a new dimension to help enhance all of the wonderful things happening at Pima, while offering new opportunities to ensure Pima remains a special place for learning and development.”