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District Announces New Leadership at Mandela International Magnet School and Acequia Madre Elementary

By SFPS Press

Santa Fe, NM: Today, Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) announces new leadership assignments at Mandela International Magnet School and Acequia Madre Elementary. Ahlum Scarola will transition from Acequia Madre Elementary School to serve as principal of Mandela International Magnet School. This is a permanent move. Sherry Coopwood will serve as the interim principal at Acequia Madre Elementary through the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year. SFPS will conduct a principal search for Acequia Madre Elementary in the Spring of 2018 when there is a larger pool of highly qualified principal candidates.

Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, Superintendent of Schools, stated, “Mr. Scarola is a proven leader who will work with the teachers to continue to provide our community the International Baccalaureate educational option while ensuring the fidelity and success of the program.”

Ahlum Scarola has taught in both public and private schools, was the assistant principal at Agua Fria (now El Camino Real Academy), and has been the principal at Acequia Madre Elementary for the last three plus years.  Mr. Scarola was born in 1974 in upstate New York, but grew up in Eugene, Oregon.  His path to becoming an educator began by attending an International Baccalaureate High School.  He eventually received a Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) from the Graduate School of Education at Lewis and Clark College.  After teaching in Oregon for several years, Ahlum and his wife relocated to Santa Fe – where they have remained for the past 10 years.  He is married and has two children (ages 6 and 10.)

Mr. Scarola stated, “I am excited to join the Mandela team, and I feel fortunate for the opportunity to be part of the next phase in the school’s growth.”

Dr. Garcia added, “I thank Mr. Scarola for his work at Acequia Madre, and I am confident Sherry Coopwood will be able to ensure the school moves forward with the same level of success.  She has several years of experience as a principal and knows the community well. Additionally, in a similar situation last year at Cesar Chavez Elementary, she successfully steered the ship. I thank her for bringing her wealth of knowledge and experience to SFPS.”

Sherry Coopwood began her career in education teaching home economics in Dallas, Texas. She also served as a counselor at the Santa Fe Indian School, an assistant principal at Santa Fe High, and a principal at Alameda Middle School during a lengthy career. Additionally, she served as the interim principal at Cesar Chavez Elementary School during the Spring of 2017.  Ms. Coopwood earned her Home Economics B.S. at the Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX, her M.Ed. in Counseling at the University of Houston in Houston, TX, and her Administrative Licensure at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. She has two daughters who are graduates of SFPS and the University of New Mexico, as well as four grandsons who live, study, and run in Phoenix, AZ.

Ms. Coopwood stated, “I am delighted to serve the Acequia Madre community for the next semester. Together with students, staff, and parents we will maintain the high quality of education and plan for the next year. I thank SFPS and Dr. Garcia for giving me this opportunity.”

The district will host an open house at Mandela International Magnet School for families to meet Mr. Scarola on Monday, December 11, 2017 at 5:00 PM. The district will also host an open house at Acequia Madre Elementary for families to meet Mrs. Coopwood on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 4:15 PM.

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