16 Instructional Staff and Leader Changes for the New School Year
September 17, 2019 – West Ada School District welcomes 11 instructional staff and five principals into new positions this school year. Read more about many of these instructional leaders in the following profiles.
Instructional Staff and Leaders in New Roles:
- Debbie Aholt, Principal Meridian Elementary
- Sarah Appleton, Intern Peregrine Elementary
- Kylee Bendorf, Curriculum Coordinator AVID, Advanced Opportunities, Teacher
- Jolene Bernal, Principal Lowell Scott Middle School
- Derek Bub, Principal Centennial High School
- Beau Dahlgren, Assistant Principal Heritage Middle School
- Michelle Farrell, Assistant Principal Mountain View High School
- Jamie Giebler, Behavior Intervention Specialist for South/East Regions
- Eian Harm, Assistant Principal Star Middle School
- Bret Heller, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
- Raven Meinen, Intern Meridian Elementary
- Marcus Myers, Director for East Region
- Tyler Pence, Principal Star Middle School
- Jennifer Tachell, Behavior Intervention Specialist for North/West Regions
- Jacque Wilson, Principal Seven Oaks Elementary
- Leslie Yingling, Assistant Principal at Victory Middle School
Debbie Aholt is the new principal at Meridian Elementary School, where she served as instructional coach for six years. Previously, Aholt taught for eight years at Hunter Elementary and one year at Eagle Elementary in West Ada School District. She taught for nine years in Nampa, Idaho and three years in Winifield, Kansas.
“The collective teacher efficacy at Meridian Elementary is stronger than it has ever been, and the staff believes together they can ensure all students achieve beyond proficiency. This year, the goal is for the students to lead Meridian Elementary through the process of becoming a Level 4 High-Reliability School,” Aholt explained. “We are asking our students to take ownership of their learning. Students from preschool to 5th-grade will be able to answer the following questions: ‘My learning goal is…I am learning…because…I will know I have learned it when…’”
Derek Bub is the new principal at Centennial High following a couple years as assistant principal at Mountain View High School. Before moving to Idaho, Bub served as principal, assistant principal, athletic director and math teacher at high schools in California for 11 years.
“There is always an excitement in the air for students and staff and the reacquaint themselves and tell stories of their summertime adventures. This year, for me, it is especially exciting as I get to meet my new Centennial family,” Bub shared. “Being able to be a small part of the incredible tradition that Centennial has earned over the years is both an honor and a privilege and I am ecstatic to get the year started.”
Beau Dahlgren is excitedly taking on the role of assistant principal at Heritage Middle School this year. He has previously served as a PBI teacher for five years and Title I assistant for one year at Frontier Elementary, and as an extended resource room aide for one year at Joplin Elementary.
“I am looking forward to meeting my new students and starting the middle school journey. I will be working with 6th-graders so we will do a lot of learning together,” Dahlgren said. “I look forward to supporting high levels of learning for all students. This requires an all hands on deck with open minds and hearts.”
Jamie is supporting teachers and teams as a behavior intervention specialist for the south and east regions of West Ada School District this school year. She previously taught for eight years at Desert Sage Elementary in a 2nd- and 3rd-grade combination classroom, in 3rd-grade and in kindergarten.
“My goal is to empower teachers to handle behavior challenges in their classroom with confidence so they have better quality learning environments,” Giebler explained. “Patrons can help support this goal by re-committing to best practices and helping teachers find solutions to behavior challenges so they can continue to do the amazing work they do each day.”
Raven Meinen is an administrative intern at Meridian Elementary this year. She was a Title I reading teacher and English language arts lead in North Carolina and Virginia. She was an instructional coach at Lake Hazel Elementary and Peregrine Elementary last year. She also served 13 years as a classroom teacher in Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and Idaho including Star and Willow Creek elementary schools.
“I believe in a coach-approach to school leadership, and I am most excited to serve staff, students, and families in the roles of instructional coach and administrator,” Meinen shared. “My goal for staff, students, and families this year is to strengthen our collective by creating safe and welcoming spaces for all to ensure the best outcomes for our students.”
Marcus Myers is taking on the new role of east region director this school year. He previously served as principal of Meridian Elementary for nine years, following an administrative internship at Hunter Elementary and teaching at River Valley and Ustick elementary schools. Myers completed his student teaching and taught in the Boise School District prior to working in West Ada School District. Before moving to Idaho and earning his teaching certification, Myers was a breakfast reading tutor and Title I paraprofessional in Nevada.
“A goal I have for staff, students and families this year is together we share a relentless pursuit of all learners finding college and career success,” Myers explained. “Learning is center pointe to strong communities; this includes the communities that extend beyond the walls of our schools. Our patrons can help accomplish this goal by celebrating successes, highlighting achievement and actively seeking the potential in all learners.”
Tyler Pence is principal at Star Middle School after serving as interim principal and vice principal at the school. Pence has also served as summer school principal for six years and counting. He previously served as assistant principal at Eagle Middle for three years, night school principal for three years, and spent three years as an administrative intern and Pepper Ridge and Paramount elementary schools. He taught for 13 years at Meridian Middle, Heritage Middle and Centennial High.
“My goal for staff is to have them see the vision of the FIT Model and use components of it to make their instruction more effective. For students, it is to feel safe and welcomed to the Star Middle School family. I want them to know that we will celebrate their success and we will hold them accountable if they fall short,” Pence said. “My main challenge will be helping staff navigate through larger class sizes. Staying positive will be key and I am going to do my best to communicate that I am here to support them.”
Jennifer Tachell, alongside colleague Jamie Giebler, is tackling the new role of behavior intervention specialist with enthusiasm for supporting teachers. She will serve the north and west regions in her role. Tachell comes to West Ada School District with 16 years of experience as a counselor in Boise School District’s Taft, White Pine, Riverside and Whitney elementary schools. She also worked for two years at Boise State University in their College of Education’s Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies – Idaho Positive Behavior Network as the statewide lead tier I PBIS coordinator.
“My goal for this year is to help the schools that I work with better understand how implementing school wide supports benefits everyone, from the teachers who get instructional time back, to administrators who will not have as many behavior referrals to deal with, to students who will feel safe enough to engage in learning,” Tachell explained.
Leslie Yingling is a new assistant principal at Victory Middle School this year. She spent the previous two years as an assistant principal in the Vallivue School District, and before that was a special education teacher at Meridian High School for nine years and paraprofessional at Mountain View High School for one year.
"I look forward to and am excited to be a part of the Kodiak family," Yingling exclaims. "Building trusting relationships with students is so critical and will take time, so I look forward to that challenge this year."