Chad Christensen – Principal, Hayesville Elementary
Chad Christensen will be the new principal at Hayesville Elementary School and is excited to join the team to build positive, supportive relationships with students, families, staff, and the community. Christensen started his teaching career in Las Vegas in 1997, then taught in Japan and Lake Oswego before joining Salem-Keizer in 2012 as an instructional coach at Whiteaker Middle School. Since then, Christensen served as assistant principal at Straub Middle School and Claggett Creek Middle School before switching roles to become the data coordinator for the district in 2021.
Joni Pruett – Principal, Lamb Elementary
Joni Pruett has been an educator for 15 years. She started as an elementary instructional assistant and joined SKPS in 2010 as a bilingual teacher. Pruett has served elementary schools as a program associate for Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. Most recently she has served as assistant principal at Chavez and Keizer Elementary schools. She is convinced that there is nothing that cannot be accomplished for our students when educators come together in support of one another.
Hugo Valdez Jimenez – Principal, Four Corners Elementary
Hugo Valdez Jimenez started his teaching career in Mexico in 2004. After being a classroom teacher in his home country, Hugo decided to participate in the International Visiting Teachers program in 2009 and began teaching in Salem-Keizer Public Schools with the Migrant Summer School program. After that, Valdez Jimenez became a bilingual teacher at Swegle Elementary School. In 2018, Valdez Jimenez joined the Elementary Curriculum Department as the literacy program associate. Most recently, Hugo has been serving as assistant principal at the EDGE Elementary program and Highland Elementary School. His experiences from two cultures bring a diverse perspective to anything he does to support students, teachers, and families.
Samantha Miley – Principal, Richmond Elementary
Samantha Miley has been an educator and administrator in the district for nine years. Most recently, Samantha has been in the role of assistant principal at Richmond and Keizer elementary. Throughout her career, Miley has been an advocate for early childhood education and helping students feel safe and welcomed in their schools. She understands the importance of family and community involvement within the school system to ensure student success.
Geoffrey Wetherell – Principal, Englewood Elementary
Geoff Wetherell has been an educator for over 20 years, with the last 12 years serving as an elementary school principal. Wetherell has worked at schools in Beaverton, Coos Bay, and Coquille during his career, with several years serving as a director of special education as well. He believes that all children have a right to experience growth and success. Wetherell values a team approach to building a strong school community where all people can feel supported while striving to achieve their goals.
Risa James – Principal, Salem Heights Elementary
Risa James has been an educator for more than 20 years. Most recently, James has been in the role of an instructional mentor at Weddle Elementary School. Throughout her career, James has been an advocate for making students feel welcome and valued while maintaining high expectations for all students. She understands and believes in the power of collective efficacy within a school community.
Erin Hanson – Principal, Gubser Elementary
Erin Hanson grew up in the Willamette Valley and began her teaching career 18 years ago on the north Oregon Coast. Hanson is coming to Salem from the Klamath County School District, where she has served as vice principal at Henley Elementary for the last six years. Hanson is passionate about working with children and forming meaningful relationships with students, staff, and families.
Cherice Cochrane – Principal, Keizer Elementary
Cherice Cochrane has been the principal at Lamb Elementary School for the past five years. Before becoming a principal, Cochrane taught at Myers Elementary in the Dual Language program. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in education through the University of Oregon. Cochrane is thrilled to join the Keizer team and is excited to begin building relationships throughout the community.
Tom Charboneau – Principal, Scott Elementary
Dr. Thomas Charboneau has been a principal with SKPS for six years and was an assistant principal for four years prior in Southern California. Throughout his career and his research, Charboneau has been focused on early literacy skill acquisition and improving instruction. Charboneau is excited to bring his strengths as he joins the Scott community.
Miranda Pickner – Principal, Kennedy Elementary
Miranda Pickner has worked as an elementary teacher and administrator for the past 23 years in a variety of diverse educational settings. During the first part of her career, she taught students in Head Start up to 6th grade. After teaching, Pickner spent nine years as a K-8 school principal within the Silver Falls School District. Most recently, she has served as the assistant principal at Scott Elementary School. She is passionate about supporting the educational journey of staff and students.
Kristi Auvinen – Assistant Principal, Chavez Elementary
Kristi Auvinen has been with Salem-Keizer Public Schools for 21 years. She spent 17 years teaching at Clear Lake, Lamb, and Keizer, and is currently the behavior specialist at Washington Elementary School. As an assistant principal, Auvinen is committed to supporting a positive staff culture and building relationships to improve the mental well-being and academic progress of the students she serves.
Maribel Peña – Assistant Principal, Keizer Elementary
Maribel Peña was born, raised, and completed most of her schooling and education in Mexico City. Peña began her career in Salem-Keizer in 2004 and graduated from the Bilingual Teacher Pathway at Portland State University. She has served students in various capacities, including bilingual reading specialist at Chavez Elementary School. Peña is a proud member of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators and believes that the key role of education is to elevate students’ voices, offer rigorous opportunities for meaningful participation, and make decisions that provide equitable outcomes for students.
Jazmin Garcia – Assistant Principal, Scott Elementary
Jazmin Garcia started her teaching career with Salem-Keizer Public Schools and is currently pursuing her EdH at George Fox University. She was a bilingual classroom teacher at Auburn Elementary and later transitioned to Chavez Elementary, where she has been a bilingual and clinical teacher. She has a strong passion for bilingual education, building a strong school community, and is an advocate for all students.
Karisa Legg – Assistant Principal, Highland/Richmond Elementary Schools
Karissa Legg has been an educator for nine years, most recently in the role of an instructional mentor and reading specialist at Miller Elementary School. Legg is passionate about literacy instruction and the power/access it provides to students. She believes that school is meant to be a safe place and a home for all students and staff and is dedicated to providing the necessary support in order to make that a reality.
Amanda Johnson – Assistant Principal, Auburn Elementary
Amanda Johnson initiated her teaching career in Salem-Keizer Public Schools 19 years ago. She began as a bilingual instructional assistant at Lamb Elementary School and later became a bilingual teacher as well as a district instructional mentor. Johnson is passionate about bringing out each student’s greatest potential. Some of her strengths are to work diligently, creatively, and efficiently. She always maintains a safe and welcoming environment for all, while maintaining high academic standards for all students.
Erin Rodriguez – Assistant Principal, EDGE
Erin Rodriguez has been serving as the assistant principal at Straub Middle School. She will be moving to EDGE to support the administrative team as an assistant principal. She is passionate about bilingual education, instructional technology, and her experience in TAG, testing and student success coordination, instructional coaching, and AVID, will be a great support to the EDGE staff.