Durango 9-R hires Needham Elementary principal, COO

Vacancies come from promotion, retirement

Durango School District 9-R has hired a new chief operations officer and a new principal from Idaho for Needham Elementary School, the district announced Monday in a news release.

Long-time Board of Education member and current board President Andy Burns will take over as chief operations officer when Victor Figueroa retires at the end of the school year, according to the release.

Burns will resign from his board position at the end of June.

“My last board meeting will be June 23. The board will encourage citizens from my district, District E, to apply for the position,” he said. District E comprises the area north of downtown and east of the Animas River.

The board will discuss getting word out to the community about the open position at its next meeting, according to Burns.

Burns, director of admissions at Fort Lewis College, said the opportunity to work as the district’s new COO is bittersweet.

“I am appreciative of Fort Lewis, but at the same time, with my kids in the district, I am excited that I can give back to the local community,” he said.

The COO oversees all operational aspects of the district, including finance, human resources, technology and communications, among other departments.

The district also will welcome a new principal to Needham Elementary, as principal David Tanaka transitions to his new role as the district’s director of culture and equity, according to the release.

“We are always looking at how we can evolve to support students ... We are excited to have David’s expertise around best practices and programming to ... close the achievement gap,” 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger said in the release.

Jenny McKenna will fill the role of Needham Elementary principal. She is joining the district from Salmon, Idaho, where she is principal at Salmon Junior-Senior High School. McKenna has more than 16 years of teaching experience, according to the release.


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