Don Lorett will serve as first principal of a new high school where students can earn college credits

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FARMINGTON — The organizers of a planned early college high school have hired Don Lorett — Farmington High School assistant principal and athletic director — as the school’s principal.

The Four Corners Educational Council for Student Success announced Lorett’s hiring in a press release Thursday afternoon.

Representatives from the Aztec, Bloomfield and Farmington school districts along with San Juan College formed the council to develop a school where students can earn a high school diploma and two years of college credit in four years. The ninth through 12th grade high school is scheduled to open next year for the 2016-2017 school year.

Lorett said he had a desire to take on a new leadership role and is looking forward to creating an environment for student success.

“What I see is an opportunity to bring the county together on a project,” Lorett said.

He has been an educator for most of the past 31 years and has been an assistant principal at Farmington high for six years.

Aztec Superintendent Kirk Carpenter said the council received about 14 applications for the position from across the country. After applications were reviewed, four local candidates were interviewed.

Carpenter said Lorett had the leadership qualities the council required.

“He has some strong community ties and a great passion for education,” Carpenter said.

College President Toni Pendergrass said Lorett is genuinely committed and passionate about the early college high school concept.

"He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in both teaching and administration," Pendergrass said. "He also has experience creating partnerships with the business community."

Lorett believes his long-standing career in Farmington and the relationships he has developed in the community will help him develop a school that will rely on connections with businesses.

The council has been working to find industry and business representatives to provide students opportunities to participate in work place training.

Lorett’s first day as principal was Thursday and he will continue to work at Farmington high as he transitions into the new position.

He said he is eager for the unique challenges of establishing a school that works with multiple school districts and a community college.

The next step for Lorett is to hire the remaining three members of the development team including a counselor, administrative assistant and San Juan College liaison.

“There is a lot of work to be done in setting up the structure and policies and facilities and personnel to be able to open in August,” Lorett said.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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