Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2014

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Assistant superintendent taking post as elementary principal

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Lucy Keaton

Lucy Keaton, the first assistant superintendent of the Clark County School District’s English Language-learner program, is stepping down from her position to become principal of an elementary school, district officials announced Friday.

Keaton was assistant superintendent for just over a year.

Last February, the School District created an administrative position overseeing the district’s 53,000 non-English-speaking students and 14 “Zoom” schools. Former Superintendent Dwight Jones named Keaton — the well-regarded former principal of Hewetson Elementary School — to the new position.

Keaton will take the helm of Fyfe Elementary School. The school’s former principal, Monica Lang, was appointed to Findlay Middle School last fall.

Keaton is a 20-year veteran in the district who started as a bilingual kindergarten teacher to become a nationally recognized educator.

“Lucy has a proven track record as a successful elementary school principal and will be a wonderful leader for students and staff there,” the district’s chief spokeswoman, Kirsten Searer, said in an email.

The School District will search for a new English-language learner superintendent soon, Searer said. Academic Manager Brenda Larsen-Mitchell will head the English-language learner department in the interim, she said.

Searer did not give a reason for the administrative change, saying she could not discuss personnel decisions.

Keaton could not be immediately reached for comment.

Born in Mexico City, Keaton is a former ELL student who overcame learning difficulties to become one of the most successful principals in Las Vegas.

The district has pointed to Keaton’s Hewetson Elementary School as a model five-star school for other elementary schools to emulate.

District officials repeatedly cite Keaton’s work there as proof that students can achieve great results, regardless of their backgrounds. All of the students at Hewetson receive free or reduced-price lunches, and 61 percent are considered limited English-proficient.

During her eight years at Hewetson, Keaton transformed the central valley school into a “high-achieving, exemplary turnaround school,” according to the federal government. Last year, 90 percent of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders were proficient in math, 78 percent were proficient in reading and 63 percent of fifth-graders were proficient in writing — all higher than the district average.

In September 2010, Keaton was named a national distinguished principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and was inducted into the Nevada Education Hall of Fame in 2011.

While Keaton was principal, Hewetson was also named a National Title 1 Distinguished School, an Exemplary Reward School and was on the National Honor Roll of High Performing Urban Schools.

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