By Anne Gibson

Eighty preschool through eighth grade new-to-Vail teachers gathered at the Vail Education Center for an Orientation led by Vail

Tara Dezso

Director of Professional Development Megan Cloud to prepare for the school year. A week later an orientation program was held for thirty new Vail high school teachers who welcomed students on July 19th.

I am so glad to get to spend this time with them and excited to welcome them as part of our Vail family. The sessions were filled with information on our culture and expectations in Vail, said Mrs. Cloud. As teachers were training, eight new principals and assistants to the principal were preparing for the 2019-2020 school year.  “All of these leaders have had a track record of great success in the various roles they have served in Vail. We look forward to having them successfully serve their schools and the community in a new capacity,” said Kevin Carney, Vail associate superintendent.

Jason Camp

Jason Campos will serve as principal of Acacia Elementary School replacing Terri Brook who retired at the end of last school year. Campos came to Acacia after serving two years as assistant to the principal at Desert Willow Elementary. He did his student teaching at the district’s Old Vail Middle School with well-known educators Danny Crain and Lamar Hunter.  “I like to think of myself as home grown in the district,” Campos said. He is excited to continue the Acacia legacy of building relationships with students, parents, staff and community. His top priority is to continue community involvement, high expectations, and quality education that parents, staff, and students are accustomed. Matt Emory will continue his fourth year as assistant to the principal.

Matthew Beem

Matthew Beem enters his 19th year in Vail as assistant to the principal at Desert Willow Elementary. Beem is from Tucson, graduated from Sahuaro High School, and attended Northern Arizona University. He was hired by the Vail School District in 2001 as a resource teacher at Desert Willow before becoming the school’s student achievement teacher. After five years, Beem moved to Acacia Elementary where he was a resource teacher, inclusion specialist, behavioral specialist, and student service coordinator for eight years. He moved to Esmond Station where he was dean of students for five years before returning to Desert Willow.

Lainie and Paul Kitzmiller with children, Amelia, age six, and Jake, age ten.

Lainie Kitzmiller began teaching at Desert Sky middle school in July of 2004. She was hired as assistant principal at Empire High School in July of 2011. This year she was recognized by the Arizona School Administrators as Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year and went on to be one of four finalists in the National Association of Secondary Principals Secondary Assistant Principals of the Year. Mrs. Kitzmiller now assumes the position of principal at Esmond Station K-8 School.

Georgia Johnson will serve as Mrs. Kitzmiller’s assistant to the principal. Mrs. Johnson has been Tara Dezso is the new assistant to the principal at Empire High School. She fills the vacancy left

Georgia Johnson

by Lainie Kitzmiller. Tara Dezso came to the Vail School District in 2012 as a behavior specialist in special education at Empire High School. She also served as the special education coordinator, a coordinator with Beyond Textbooks, and returned to Empire to serve as the college and career advisor for the past three years. She is beginning her 16th year in education and couldn’t be more excited to do so as the new assistant principal at Empire.

Nemer Hassey

Nemer Hassey was hired in 2001 to serve as a math teacher, math instructional team leader, athletic director, head football coach, and track coach. He soon advanced to the position of assistant principal.  In 2014, Hassey became the principal of Cienega High School.  In 2019 after serving on the planning committee for Vail’s fifth high school, Hassey was tapped to serve as the principal for the new school recently named Mica Mountain High School.

Kim Middleton moved to the position of principal at Cienega High School after serving as assistant

Students pose upon the news Cienega has received an “A” grade from the State of Arizona. Standing (left to right) newly appointed Cienega Principal Kim Middleton and Stephanie Magnuson newly appointed assistant principal. (Photo from Kim Middleton)

principal on Cienega’s campus for four years. Prior to that, she taught senior English at Cienega from October 2012 to June 2015. She has been in education since 1999, across three different states and six different districts. She has taught everything from public speaking to all high school levels of English and serving in other types of leadership roles, including dance team coach.

Stephanie Magnuson has been a part of the Vail family for 13 years beginning as a fourth-grade teacher at Sycamore Elementary. Five years later, she moved to Cottonwood Elementary where she served as the student achievement teacher for seven years. Last year she “took a leap of faith and headed to high school,” joining Cienega as an instruction support teacher. Stephanie Magnuson will serve as assistant principal at Vail’s largest high school filling the slot vacated by Kim Middleton.

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Anne Gibson