A fresh school year brings new experiences, new classes and new faces. And not just in the classroom — four Maricopa campuses welcomed new deans this month.
Three of them said they’re ready to hit the ground running with new perspectives, goals and values that fit well in our cozy but quickly growing little city.
Angele Blick is entering her 13th year in education as she takes the reins at Desert Sunrise High School.
After moving from Texas to Tempe, Blick said she was drawn to Maricopa’s tight-knit feel.
“I am a big fan of smaller communities, loved that Maricopa was growing and felt connected to the community quickly,” she said.
She hopes to emulate that sentiment in the classroom.
Blick said her philosophy is grounded in safety, relationship building, and supporting her students inside and outside the classroom.
“I believe that in any position, we should truly know the students we are serving,” she said.
As the city and district continue to grow, Blick said she looks forward to watching her students gain new experiences, partake in career and technical programs, and snag internship opportunities.
She said she intends to be a backbone for her students and help them work toward success, even in the face of bumps in the road.
“When those bumps do come, my hope is that we can learn how to process and work through it so we can continue to be better versions of ourselves,” Blick said.
Desert Wind Middle School ushered in a new era of leadership when it welcomed Richelle Myers at the start of the school year.
With a nine-year education background, she said she hopes to bring empathy, compassion and trustworthiness to her new role.
“I care for the students,” Myers said, “and want the same education and environment that I want for my own children.”
Myers said she has already fostered a close relationship with the student body, memorizing names while dishing out high-fives and fist bumps.
She wants the best for her students, she said. As a new leader on campus, Myers promised to advocate for her students and treat every situation with care, remembering that “each child is unique.”
“Before you can ever bring negative behaviors to a student’s attention, it’s important to get to know who they are as an individual,” she said.
With her decade of experience in education, Maria Duran recently took the helm at Maricopa High Schools.
Duran encourages constant and open communication with an open-door policy to create a safe space for her Rams.
“The goal is to make sure they know that safety and stability at the school is my goal for every student,” she said.
As she navigates her new position, Duran said she hopes to instill district- and school-wide values of responsibility, accountability, mutual respect and safety.
She said she envisions a future filled with students who are empowered to make responsible decisions but also have fun while learning.
Jeckson Quinones, the new dean at Maricopa Wells Middle School, was unwilling to be interviewed for this story.