FARMINGTON — Familiar faces will fill the principal, assistant principal and athletic director roles at Piedra Vista High School.
Dave Golden, previously the assistant principal, will take over as principal, replacing Ann Gattis. Former Athletic Director Kelly Thur will step into the assistant principal position vacated by Golden.
Frank Whalen, the former assistant football and assistant softball coach, will become Piedra Vista's new athletic director.
Gattis retired at the end of school year after 28 years with the Farmington Municipal School District, including eight years as the principal at Piedra Vista.
Golden is finishing up his sixth year at Piedra Vista as assistant principal and his 25th year with the district.
"I wanted to be able to step into that role and provide the same visions (Gattis) has had for several years," Golden said. "It's a new opportunity to work with people in a new capacity with dedicated educators that got the same vision."
District Superintendent Janel Ryan said she was eager to work with Golden. She praised him for wanting to continue the school's success.
Thur will fill the spot Golden held. After five years as athletic director for Piedra Vista, Thur resigned in early April.
Golden sought out Thur for the assistant principal position, Ryan said. That's when Thur rescinded his resignation.
"I had resigned and was looking for other career opportunities — trying to move forward and looking for new challenges," Thur said.
Thur was a teacher for 12 years in Shiprock and Aztec, teaching high school math. He said he is ready to become more involved in the curriculum and wants to get to know students and staff more.
"I want to keep the ship in the direction we're moving in," Thur said.
Whalen has taught and been an assistant football coach at Piedra Vista since the school opened in 1998. He also was an assistant coach on the softball team that has won the last nine Class 4A state championships.
Whalen said moving into an administration role as an athletic director was something he'd been considering for a while.
"It's just the right time to make that jump," he said. "I just want to do what I can to help the coaches and programs succeed."
Whalen said he will miss the camaraderie that coaching brought and the relationships that developed with the student-athletes, but he feels that experience will help him in his new role at the school.
"I'm definitely familiar with the cultures and the needs of the school, and it's one of the reasons I wanted to step up into this position," he said.
Ryan said she's looking forward to what the new leadership accomplishes and how they work with the other high schools in Farmington.
"The other thing I'm hoping is we can build that bridge and community between the two high schools, because all the kids in Farmington are our kids," Ryan said. "I think we got great leadership in all three high schools (Farmington, Piedra Vista and Rocinante), and we all need to be working together to build that importance of academics in our district, so that's the direction, and I'm open to their suggestions."