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New Sonora Principal No Stranger

Sonora, CA — Another administrator is heading up the management ladder in the Sonora Union High School district.

The news came at last night’s district school board meeting that Associate Principal Ben Howell will fill the shoes of former principal, now District Superintendent Pat Chabot, who was recently tapped for the position Dr. Mike McCoy vacated June 30.

According to Dr. Rob Lyons, president of the school district’s board of trustees, the open position was posted for approximately three weeks and extended an extra week, in order to expand the field to three applicants. Interviews for the hiring, he says, were led by Superintendent Chabot and Chief Financial Officer Kim Burr, with assistance by several others.

“We found last night, at the board meeting, that the decision to choose Howell as the best candidate was unanimous,” states Lyons. Much enthused by the move, he adds, “Speaking for the board, we are completely happy…thrilled to have Ben Howell in sort of a send up to the position after being the associate principal. He’s just a great guy all around…smart…handled all of the associate principal’s duties so well in the few years that he did it…showed such promise, that it was clear that he was going to become the principal, at some point.”

Howell, who in 2013 earned an MA in Educational Leadership and Administration from California State University-Stanislaus, graduated in 2004 with a BA in English from the University of Nevada-Reno. In addition to serving one year as associate principal, Howell has also spent time as a teacher at the school. He additionally taught previously at Columbia Elementary, Hume Lake and Sierra charter schools. Currently on vacation, he was contacted by email for comment but had not replied by press time.

In other board news, Lyons reports the district moved forward with the another bond sale in preparation of additional Measure J Bond projects, notably the upcoming cafeteria and track and field improvements. There is not a timeline for construction. The current Humanities building renovation is expected to be completed next month.  The district is still waiting to hear back from the judge in relation to the lawsuit objecting to the aquatics center.