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April 24, 2014

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Greenspun Junior High has familiar face as new principal

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Nicky Fuchs / Special to the Home News

Warren McKay, who was named principal of Greenspun Middle School after the former principal was promoted to a district position, discusses the itinerary for the month with his assistant, Cheryl Bace, in his office.

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Warren McKay, the newly promoted principal of Greenspun Middle School, stops to speak with Dior DeSormeau, left, and Kayla Auyong, both seventh graders, during his rounds during lunch.

Barbara and Hank Greenspun Junior High School recently, and unexpectedly, welcomed a new principal.

Only three weeks before winter break was to begin, Warren McKay, former assistant principal at the school, was appointed as principal to replace Elizabeth Howe. Though her exit was a surprise, it was for good reason. Howe was promoted to executive director of student support services.

Since then, McKay has been breaking into his new duties. He said he expects it to take three years for him to feel like he fully understands the job.

"I like to take it slow and steady, but I'm always willing to invest the time," he said. "I have to feel like I'm doing a good job."

McKay has been at Greenspun since 2000, his first two years as dean and remainder as assistant principal. Before that, he spent seven years teaching math at Durango High School.

After his initial appointment to Greenspun, McKay said it was easy to stay.

"It was right at my back door," he said. "I fell in love with the teachers and the students right away."

After his daughter moved on to high school last year, McKay began looking for a change, he said. Howe indicated she was interested in the student services position and, after it was advertised the second time, decided to apply. Three weeks later, her promotion was announced and the search for a new principal began.

"I'd hoped I would get the position (of principal), but of course you never know," McKay said.

Once he was appointed at the end of November, his transition to principal happened within a week.

It helped that he was already familiar with the school, he said. That has also made it easier on the students, most of whom have seemed genuinely happy for him, he said.

McKay is eager to see what awaits him. He has an experienced but new-to-Greenspun assistant principal to assist him, Lenny DePiazza. DePiazza was at Miller for a few years as assistant principal, and then moved to Thurman White Middle School at the end of last year. Because of budget cuts, he had to make another transition, and McKay was happy to pick him up, he said.

With teachers, administrators and support staff members he's already fond of, McKay is looking forward to further improving the educational environment at Greenspun.

Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].

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