Darian Jaramillo named principal at Valencia High

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Valencia High School students and staff may be familiar with the new energetic principal, Darian Jaramillo, because she started in May.

Jaramillo has been in education since 1991, starting as a language arts teacher. She was the principal of Alamogordo High School for three years, and the assistant principal for three years before that. Last year she taught in Albuquerque.

Deborah Fox-News-Bulletin photo: Alamogordo native Darian Jaramillo is the new principal of Valencia High School.

Originally, Jaramillo heard about the principal’s position from Wilson Holland, the Los Lunas Schools’ director of athletics.

She and Holland are old friends because they went to school together growing up in Alamogordo.

Both Jaramillo and her husband, Tony, applied for positions in the district because they wanted to move north, she said. In a twist of fate, both were hired.

Her husband will teach math and is the new defensive football coach at Los Lunas High School.

“That’s why I just think God meant for this to be because it all worked out so well,” Jaramillo said. “Everybody in the whole district has been very welcoming to us. Central office, at the high school — they’ve just been super welcoming and nice to us.”

The goals Jaramillo has set for the high school include increasing the graduation rate as well as improving math and reading scores.

“It comes from instruction, making sure that we have good teachers that are doing the best practices in their classrooms,” the principal said.

In addition to the administrative leadership, Jaramillo plans to build another team of the most effective teachers and train them in best practices to train other teachers.

The school is going back to a block schedule this year, and the leadership team will help teachers readjust, she said.

“Teaching in a 50-minute period versus an 85- to 90-minute period is a little bit different,” said Jaramillo. “So, we’re going to be training them on teaching to the block.”

Similar to software updates, teachers need to keep learning new things with changing times.

“As a teacher, you are a student of the game,” Jaramillo said. “You want to be learning new strategies all the time.”

Most of the school’s teachers did well in the new evaluations, and Jaramillo wants to help them advance to the next level, she said.

“If we are building instructional coaches in our building, those teachers can go to the next level,” she said. “Your highly-effective teachers that are doing great things can train our other (teachers) and help them get to that next level.”

The leadership team will function as instructional coaches, she said, and help teachers build resource kits they can share in their classrooms.

Jaramillo said she recognizes that high school students are becoming more independent, but a parent’s involvement in their teen’s education is crucial.

“I think it’s important that parents still be involved with their kids in high school, coming to parent-teachers conferences, coming to open house,” Jaramillo said.

“There are so many activities — there’s band concerts, award assemblies, the awards banquet at the end, athletic events — any of those things, and parents of new freshman can help them with time management and organization.”

Parents are welcome to visit Jaramillo any time, she said, and there is the online parent portal that can help them keep up with their student’s progress.

To use the portal, parents must fill out a form to get a password. The forms are available at the office, and once the form is on file, it does not have to be renewed each year.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.