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Helmut Schmidt, Published April 07 2012

West Fargo schools hire two new principals

WEST FARGO – The West Fargo School District has hired two new elementary principals.

Paula Henry will take over as principal at Eastwood Elementary School. She replaces Jeff Johnson, who will be principal of Freedom Elementary, which opens this fall south of Interstate 94.

Manix Zepeda will take over as principal at L.E. Berger Elementary School. He takes over from Dennis Howitz, who is retiring in June with the end of the instructional year.

Henry comes from the St. Cloud (Minn.) School District, where she has been principal of Madison Elementary and Annual Yearly Progress instructional leader since 2004.

She grew to love the Fargo-Moorhead area on visits the past four years to watch her son, who played football at Concordia College.

“I developed a lot of friendships in the Moorhead-Fargo area. I fell in love with the area. Most importantly, the people are so friendly,” she said.

Henry has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction with a focus on reading licensure from St. Cloud State University.

She has a doctorate in educational leadership from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis.

She also has principal and superintendent certification gained through St. Cloud State.

Zepeda is now the principal of Bennett Elementary School in the Fargo School District.

He has been a principal at Fargo schools since 2004, also working at Horace Mann and Lincoln elementary schools. ‘

He taught at Lincoln Elementary in Fargo from 1997 to 2001, and was an administrative intern for a year at two other schools. He also taught at Carl Ben Eielson Elementary for a year.

“Continuing a quality education for all students would be a goal of mine,” Zepeda said.

He said he’s glad for the experiences he had working in Fargo Public Schools.

“I owe them a great big thank you,” he said.

Zepeda has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Valley City (N.D.) State University, with minors in Spanish and early childhood education.

He has a master’s degree in educational administration from North Dakota State University.

Henry and Zepeda begin their jobs July 1.

Zepeda’s departure leaves Fargo with a principalship to fill at Bennett, said Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Nancy Jordheim.

Fargo must also choose a new principal for Davies High School. The current principal, Jeff Schatz, was named the district’s next superintendent.

Schatz is to take over that position July 1.


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Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583