Five campuses in the Gilbert Public Schools district will be starting the 2020-21 school year with new principals.
Here’s a look at who they are.
Rod Huston is the interim principal of Mesquite High School. He has worked for Gilbert Public Schools since 2000, starting as a special education teacher and coach at Gilbert High School.
He has been an administrator for the past 15 years as an assistant principal at Desert Ridge, Highland and, most recently, Mesquite high schools. His wife Lori teaches third grade at Settlers Point Elementary School and their children – Colton and Brenlie – both attended Gilbert Public Schools from kindergarten through high school graduation.
Before entering education, Huston was a U.S. Army paratrooper and ran youth sports programs, health and fitness programs as well as teen and family programs for the YMCA.
He has twice been named the region athletic director of the year and is currently finishing a term as the president of the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
His family has served Gilbert Public Schools continuously for over 50 years. His father Paul Huston, was once the principal of Gilbert High School.
“He is extremely excited to be the new interim principal of Mesquite High School,” the district said in a release.
Brian Winter “is both honored and humbled to serve as the principal at Gilbert High and to be part of a culture built on rich tradition as well as academic excellence,” district spokeswoman Dawn Antestenis said.
Gilbert High School has been serving the town community for over 100 years and was named an A+ School of Excellence in 2017.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Winter is beginning his 34th year as an educator. He taught for 18 years before moving into administration and served in a variety of different administrative roles during the past 15 years.
He is married and has three adult children.
“Brian Winter is passionate about equity, fairness and opportunity for all students and looks forward to working with the Gilbert High faculty, staff and administration to provide a quality learning experience for all students,” Antestenis said.
Boulder Creek Elementary
For the past six years, Jim Leeper has been the proud principal of Meridian Elementary in Gilbert Public Schools.
Prior to Meridian, he worked in the Mesa school district for 20 years as a teacher, dean of students and assistant principal. Leeper grew up in Mesa, went to Arizona State University and took his first job in education teaching junior high PE.
He coached track for 13 years, freshman tennis for seven years and high school cross country for two seasons. He is married and lives in Gilbert with his wife and kids.
“Mr. Leeper is very much looking forward to working with the Boulder Creek families and community,” Astestenis said.
South Valley Junior High
Tyler Dumas says he is excited for the opportunity to lead and serve as the South Valley Junior High School.
The majority of his 22-year career as an educator has been spent as a classroom teacher and coach. Most recently, he was an assistant principal in academics at Campo Verde High School and “quickly fell in love with the community in which he lives,” Astestenis said.
His four children have been educated in Gilbert Public Schools.
Before transitioning to Gilbert Public Schools, Dumas spent three years in a leadership role at Dobson High School as an assistant principal. He also was a classroom teacher and coach for 20 years in the Dobson community at the elementary, junior high and high school levels.
Before relocating to Arizona, he taught at the junior high and coached high school basketball for two years in Kansas.
His “primary focus is serving students and the community while empowering student success,” Astestenis said. “He is looking forward to working alongside the South Valley staff and with the entire community in continuing the tradition of excellence and the culture of student success.”
Christopher Stroud “is excited to be coming to such a proud community and one so involved in the success of their community school,” Astestinis said.
For the past eight years, he has been the principal of Gilbert High and prior to that, was a high school assistant principal and a junior high school social studies teacher.
Stroud is a “proud Army brat,” having been raised by a career Army officer and aviator.
“He is incredibly excited to learn from the existing Meridian faculty, staff and families as he makes this move and is looking forward to meeting everyone and serving the entire campus and community,” Astestinis said.