Five new principals join Gilroy for 2019-20 year

New GUSD administrators, pictured from left to right: Eliot Elementary School principal Maricela Rivera, Ascencion Solorsano Middle School principal Hilda Keller, Gilroy High School principal Martin Enriquez, South Valley Middle School principal Guillermo Ramos, and GUSD Superintendent, Dr. Deborah A. Flores, PhD.

A quintet of new administrators will welcome students and families at their respective schools at the onset of the 2019-20 school year in Gilroy Unified School District, filling all leadership vacancies.

District staff announced the new hires at the May 9 school board meeting.

“I am so excited for the latest additions to our administrative team,” said Gilroy Superintendent Deborah Flores, who was part of the hiring team. “Each of the new principals brings strong credentials and high praise to our district. I am looking forward to seeing how they integrate into their new school sites and the opportunities they’ll present to our staff and students.”

Replacing longtime Gilroy High School principal Marco Sanchez, who left after 10 years for an athletics administration post with the Central Coast Section, is Martin Enriquez.

Enriquez, originally from Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from New Mexico State University, joins the GHS staff after serving as an assistant principal at North Monterey County High School. He has more than 17 years of educational administration experience and has extensive experience in career technical education, college and career guidance and counseling and multi-tiered systems of support programs, according to the district’s May 10 press release.

Coming all the way from Belleville, Ill., principal Michael Kelly will take the helm at Luigi Aprea Elementary School after working as a special education teacher, school improvement Instructional coach and as an administrator at his current site in Illinois.

Kelly—a musician with the US Marine Corp—holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the State University of New York and advanced degrees in education from George Mason University. He will step in for current principal Tami Espinosa, who has decided to return to the classroom as a fourth-grade teacher at Rucker Elementary.

At Ascencion Solorsano Middle School, Morgan Hill resident Hilda Keller—a San Jose native—is set to lead the staff with more than 23 years in public education, including 20 in the Evergreen School District. She takes over for the retiring Maria Walker, who spent more than 30 years as an administrator.

Keller comes to Gilroy from LeyVa Middle School in San Jose, where she was assistant principal. She holds degrees from both National Hispanic University and San Jose State University.

Eliot Elementary School’s new principal, Maricela Rivera, is in her 20th year of public education. She returns to GUSD after a year at Echo Valley Elementary in Salinas where she is currently an assistant principal. Previously, she taught at Solorsano Middle School and Glen View Elementary. Rivera will replace the departing Patricia Pelino, who is thec new director of special education for the Redwood City School District. The new principal holds degrees from Santa Clara University, CSU Monterey Bay and National University.

Over at South Valley Middle School, outgoing Patricia Mondragon will be succeeded by new principal Guillermo Ramos, who is completing his 11th year as a principal at John J. Montgomery Elementary in San Jose, a K-6 school in the Evergreen School District. He  has more than 22 years of teaching and administrative work in Watsonville.

Ramos, a Gilroy resident whose two daughters attend Gilroy schools, earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from San Jose State University. He began his teaching career as an elementary school teacher for migrant students, and in Watsonville’s bilingual education program.