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Why Rancho High School is looking for a new principal

Rancho High School is looking for a new principal after its top leader retired just two months following the fatal group beating of a student near campus.

Rancho’s School Organizational Team held a town hall forum Tuesday to get community input on what characteristics they’d like to see in a new leader.

Principal Darlin Delgado retired Jan. 12, according to materials for Thursday’s Clark County School Board meeting that list employee separations. She began working for the Clark County School District in 1995.

Delgado retired with “very short notice,” Abraham Camejo, a community member representative on Rancho’s SOT, said Wednesday.

In a letter posted on the school’s website, Delgado wrote that serving the students, staff and families at Rancho over four years was “one of the greatest privileges of my professional career.”

“After much consideration and many heart-to-heart conversations with my family, I have decided to retire to spend more time with them and dedicate more quality time to my loved ones,” she wrote.

In November, according to police, 17-year-old Rancho student Jonathan Lewis Jr. was beaten by a group of about 10 teenagers during a fight in an alleyway near the school. He died a week later as a result of his injuries.

“The school is still recovering from the incident that happened,” said Camejo, a 2001 Rancho alumnus.

Holding a community input meeting during a principal search process isn’t standard practice in the school district.

Rancho’s SOT is the first that has organized such a town hall meeting, Camejo said.

“Hopefully now other schools and other parents can say, ‘We should have a town meeting. We should get public input,’” he said.

The school district didn’t respond to a request for comment by deadline Thursday.

A 2017 reorganization law gives schools within the district more control over their operations in areas like budgeting and staffing.

Under state law, the school district interviews qualified candidates for a principal vacancy and gives a list of three to five names to the organizational team.

The SOT will recommend one person for the position. The superintendent makes the final decision.

Town hall meeting

The purpose of the town hall meeting Tuesday in the school’s cafeteria was to get input from the community on what they would like to see in a new principal and to be transparent, Camejo said.

The organizational team submitted feedback it received to the school district.

“We have the responsibility of being part of the hiring process of our principal,” Camejo said.

A number of people mentioned wanting a principal who has a “real open door policy,” he said.

Other feedback included wanting a team player, someone with strong people skills, a good communicator, someone who is understanding and someone who is a mother or father figure at the school.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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