A Matter of Principals

Diana Whittle, our education reporter, takes a look at Kelly Alexander, retiring principal of Pueblo Middle School; and Dr. Kyle Ross, the new principal of the school.

Kelly Alexander, retiring from Pueblo Middle School, and Dr. Kyle Ross, the new principal of Pueblo.

By Diana Whittle

Kelly Alexander: Reflections of three decades at Kyrene

For nearly thirty years, Kelly Alexander has been a familiar face to families in the Kyrene District. Most recently, she served as the principal of Pueblo Middle School.

In preparing to retire, she is reflective upon her career and the people who she met

“As I look back on my years of service to the Kyrene School District, the highlight of those years will always be the many relationships that I was able to build with colleagues, students, and members of the community,” said Alexander.

“I also really enjoyed working directly with students, teachers and families to provide the best education possible.”

Her entire career has been spent in the district–first as a teacher, then as a principal at Kyrene Akimel A-al Middle School; and, serving for a time at the district level where she was the Director of Community Education and Outreach Services. “I enjoyed my time at the district office and being able to create and offer programs that families desired for their children, such as before and after-school programs, and those held during the summer.” She feels that the area residents are very supportive of the Kyrene District. “I believe that our community is incredibly proud of the Kyrene school district.

“Our community wants to support our young people and provide them with the best educational opportunities for their future. The members of the community that I speak to are thankful for the many program options and committed staff members of the district,” said Alexander.

Alexander has been an Arizona resident for over 40 years. “I live in Chandler with my husband, Lonnie, and our two children, Brad and Kate.

“I have both an undergraduate and graduate degree from Arizona State University in the field of Education.  I am also a diehard Sun Devils fan. In my leisure time I enjoy gardening, travel and spending time with my two Labrador Retrievers.”

In retirement she also hopes to continue helping the community.

“I plan to support the community by working on many community service projects and serving as a member of the Kyrene Rotary.”

Kyle Ross: Exploring the arts brings excitement to new role

As of Aug. 3, students returning to Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School are being greeted by Dr. Kyle Ross, the new principal who district officials describe as a longtime, respected educator with a notable track record. And that’s just for openers.

He is new to the district and waxes enthusiastically about the learning process at Pueblo. “This is such a fantastic place,” said Ross.

“One doesn’t have to be on this campus very long to see a healthy learning environment, where students feel safe and loved by their teachers. I most look forward to seeing the students shine in their environment, whether that’s in the classroom, on stage, or on the athletic field.”

Pueblo already is known as an A+ School of Excellence, so it’s obvious that the school’s staff has laid a foundation of high achievement, which adds to Ross’s passion for his new role.

“I don’t expect to make major changes at the school, but we’ll have a renewed focus. Kyrene del Pueblo has been on a journey to become an arts integration school, and we’ll continue that journey strongly,” said Ross.

“Arts integration is not a sacrifice of core academics but an approach to teaching in which students make connections between the core content and the myriad art forms that we’re lucky enough to enjoy in life,” he said.

“In every way, Pueblo provides students with the complete middle-school experience including academics, activities and athletics, along with the added bonus of being able to explore the arts,” he adds.

To his new leadership position, Ross brings 18 years of varied experiences as a classroom teacher, assistant principal and district program director. He says he personally likes to gather data before making changes and to observe his team to discover their strengths.

“When working with a team, my leadership style is to seek what everyone’s work strengths are and use them to their fullest potential. As long as we have a shared vision and mission, everyone can work within their own strengths to help us achieve our goals,” said Ross.

Education, it would seem, is the Ross family business. His father was a public school teacher. His wife is the assistant principal at Kyrene de la Paloma Elementary School, next door to Pueblo. In addition to being Kyrene educators, they are parents of a two-and-a-half year-old son.

Ross grew up in Indiana and moved to Arizona in 1994 to attend ASU.

“I studied secondary education and English, and worked as an English teacher at Desert Mountain High School. Then, I completed my masters through NAU in Education Leadership, which allowed me to work as an assistant principal at Chaparral High School,” said Ross.

With aspirations of becoming a principal, Ross went onto earn a doctoral degree in educational administration and supervision from ASU.

He wants to stay in touch with Kyrene families, so he has created social media accounts. “On Facebook and Twitter I have professional accounts @DocRossPueblo, and welcome the community to follow me for school updates and celebrations.”