By Dana Trumbull
At the March 27, 2018, Apache Junction Unified School District Board meeting, Four Peaks Elementary School Interim Principal Chad Cantrell was approved as the new Four Peaks principal for the 2018-19 school year. The unanimous vote was met with cheers and loud applause by a sizable contingent of Four Peaks teachers and staff who were in attendance.
“I am super excited for Mr. Cantrell and excited to have him continue to grow and act in that capacity,” stated AJUSD Board President Jodi Ehrlich.
Cantrell replied with an impromptu response, “I really appreciate this opportunity, now and through this past year. I know there were some unfortunate circumstances, but I appreciate the confidence that was shown in me. I appreciate that you gave me a chance to earn this position and to be successful. I have a fantastic staff; I’m super proud of every single one of them.”
Cantrell was appointed to serve as interim principal in early September, 2017, after the previous principal, Karl Waggoner, was arrested on charges of luring a minor for sexual exploitation. Events leading to his arrest did not involve students from AJUSD. Waggoner had been with the district for less than two months.
Upon confirming Cantrell’s appointment as interim principal in September, AJUSD Superintendent Dr. Krista Anderson told the Board, “When we were facing this, we knew that we would have to have a strong leader. We really wanted someone the community knows; someone who has been in our district and in our community for a number of years. In the short time that I have known Chad, he has demonstrated very strong leadership skills and those characteristics and qualities that we want in our school administrators.” Cantrell previously was the assistant principal at Cactus Canyon Junior High and athletic director for the district.
Cantrell was interviewed as one of several candidates for the permanent position by principals and parents, as well as Superintendent Anderson and Assistant Superintendent/Human Resources Director Dr. Jennifer Cruz.
“We’re very proud of Mr. Cantrell,” shared Anderson, “and we believe that he will do wonderful, great things.”
Community and staff are invited to a reception for Mr. Cantrell at the AJUSD district office on April 10, at 5:30 p.m., prior to the Governing Board meeting, for cookies and punch.