FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MCESA Announces 12 Semifinalists for Rodel Exemplary Principals





Laurie King, Director of Communication and Learning Systems


MCESA Announces 12 Semifinalists for Rodel Exemplary Principals

Finalists to be named in February 2017


Of the 1,861 principals in Arizona, 12 have been named as 2017 Rodel Exemplary Principal semifinalists. Finalists will be selected as Rodel Exemplary Principals in early February, joining a network of similarly qualified leaders to mentor Aspiring Principals over a two year period.


Rodel Exemplary Principal eligibility is based on selection criteria including serving a minimum of three years as principal at a school with currently 50 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced-price free lunch, a documented history of high student achievement, a safe campus environment, and an active engagement of parents and community. The 12 semifinalists stood out from the 45 principals eligible for the Rodel Exemplary Principal program based on their exceptional leadership work and strong recommendations from their district superintendents.


“These 12 principals are outstanding educational leaders,” said Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donald D. Covey, “and take on the challenge each day of creating a safe and engaging environment for all students to succeed.”


This year’s Rodel Exemplary Principal semifinalists are:

  • Wayne Deffenbaugh, principal at Desert Thunder Elementary School, Avondale Elementary School District
  • David Franks, principal at Sunset Canyon Elementary School, Paradise Valley Unified School District
  • Amalia Garcia, principal at Luke Elementary School, Dysart Unified School District
  • Kevin Hall, principal at Nikolaus Homestead Elementary School, Show Low Unified School District
  • Kristi Langley-Wells, principal at Sunset Elementary School, Cartwright Elementary School District
  • Troy McReynolds, principal at Bonnie Brennan Elementary School, Winslow Unified School District
  • Brian Moore, principal at Taylor Hicks Elementary School, Prescott Unified School District
  • Hillary O’Brien, principal at Madison Camelview Elementary School, Madison Elementary School District
  • Denis Parcells, principal at William C. Jack School, Glendale Elementary School District
  • Etta Reneé Parker, principal at Sirrine Elementary School, Mesa Public Schools
  • Jan Stevens, principal at Indian Bend Elementary School, Paradise Valley Unified School District
  • Tim Thomas, principal at Rogers Ranch School, Laveen Elementary School District
  • Tonja Yalung, principal at Kyrene de los Ninos Elementary, Kyrene School District


MCESA will conduct interviews and school visits with the 12 Rodel Exemplary Principal semifinalists in the coming months to determine the final selection.


The Rodel Foundation of Arizona began the Rodel Exemplary Principal program in 2008. Since that time, sixty-four outstanding school leaders have been recognized. In the summer of 2016, Rodel chose MCESA to administer the program state-wide.


For more information about the Rodel Exemplary Principals program, visit or contact MCESA Director of Communication and Learning Systems Laurie King at or 602-689-0581.

Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA), under the direction of Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, is dedicated to ensuring that all school-age children in the county graduate college- and career-ready. MCESA builds alliance partnerships that provide leadership, services and programs in the areas of Educational Innovation, Economic Management and Executive Leadership.