Sat, Feb

Safety focus for new Dean

Education News

The new assistant principal and dean of students at Mingus Union High School plans to do whatever it takes to make the school a safe, secure environment for students.

“I want the students to feel safe and want to be here. The focus, no matter what it is, is on our students. When they feel safe and secure they learn better,” Allen Mitchell said, citing that he will work with teachers in the classroom, as well as walked the halls, the parking lot or even off campus.
Mitchell and his wife, Donna, the school’s new transportation secretary, are in transition moving to Cottonwood from north of Tucson. Along with them they brought their beta fish, which is in Mitchell’s office, and a Yorkipoo named CJ.

Mitchell was an athletic trainer and teacher of sports medicine and health at Marana High School. For the last two years at Marana, he was also the administrator on call.

“If one of the administrators was out, I would fill in until they returned,” Mitchell said.

Five years prior to Marana, Mitchell taught at Sinagua High School in Flagstaff.

He came to Mingus to fulfill one of his career goals — to be an assistant principal. It was the position he wanted next in his career path.

“I applied at several schools, and Mingus turned out to be a great fit. I’m thrilled to be here. It’s a terrific school and staff,” he said. “I plan to stay until I retire, which will be several years from now.”

The Mitchells are “RVing” at a park in the Bridgeport area as they await the sale of their Tucson home. As soon as the deal is complete there, they will look for a home in Cottonwood.

“We get wake-up calls from the roosters and the donkeys,” Mitchell said and laughed.

He is an avid fisherman having lived in the San Diego area while attending San Diego State University. He enjoyed deep sea fishing for tuna.

“Here I’m looking for some great freshwater fishing spots,” Mitchell said.
In the meantime, Mingus is his top priority dealing with the day-to-day discipline and attendance issues. His door is always open to teachers, students and parents, and his phone is always available.

“I appreciate calls from people to let me know what they think and how they think I can improve the school,” he said.

Mitchell was one of only two applicants Superintendent Tim Foist had come back for further interviews.

“He has a background of working with students in a different way than administrative that is very effective in his position,” Foist said.

He said Mitchell’s communication skills, particularly in the area of discipline, are very good when talking with students and their parents.
“By Allen’s track record here, I think he’s going to be very successful,” Foist said.

Mitchell can be reached at 634-7531.

Lu Stitt can be reached at 634-8551 or e-mail lu@larsonnewspapers.com