The first day of school for students, Aug. 16, is right around the corner, while DeAnda is gearing up for his own first day. A longtime educator for Lovington Municipal Schools, he brings 34 years of education experience to the table. LMS Superintendent LeAnne Gandy selected him earlier this summer to replace former principal Michael Michaleson, who held the position since mid-2015 and now has a similar position in Tulia, Texas.
“I’ve been in Lovington for most of my life,” DeAnda said Friday. “I believe in the Lovington kids. I believe in the community and I’m proud to be part of that and I want to continue a good, strong tradition that they’ve had here at our high school. That we have quality kids, we have quality teachers and I want to make sure that continues for our kids.”
DeAnda said he’s here to serve community and that many parents know his track record.
“I know what their expectations are and I want the best possible education for each child that comes through this building to our schools,” he said. “Especially, now I’m at the high school. Whatever building I’m in, I want to go in and leave it better than I was when I first got there.”
A Los Lunas native, DeAnda attended Western New Mexico University and later got his first teaching job in Artesia. At Lovington, he served 11 years as bilingual director and three years as federal programs director. His LMS career includes 12 years as principal of Yarbro Elementary, 10 years as principal at Jefferson Elementary and worked mostly recently as Taylor Middle School principal. DeAnda has also coached 8th grade football and track for the Wildcats.
“It’s all about kids. It’s about kids,” DeAnda added. “I’m still in the business because I believe that we have a ministry to help these kids move forward and be successful.”
Gandy described DeAnda as organized, saying he sets “clear expectations” for adults and students. New assistant principal Bill Stockton, who moves from the same position at Alamogordo High School, will join DeAnda at LHS this year.
“We’re very excited about our administrative team at the high school. We think it’s going to be a great learning environment for our students,” Gandy said. “Both of these principals have coaching experience and many years of administrative experience, so we think we have a great team in place to provide an optimum learning environment for our students.”
Board Vice President Paul Campos added that he thought DeAnda is a “great fit” for the position with lots of experience, while board president Greg Maxie said he possesses a “good skill set” and knowledge of public education.
“As a board member, we supported the decision of the superintendent to place him there,” Maxie said. “And we think with his years of experience and being a member of the community, he’s going to provide some stability and bring the staff together for the sake of increasing student achievement.”
Kelly Farrell can be reached at 391-5437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.