Cave Creek Unified School District hires three principals

Cave Creek Unified School District has announced three new principals for the 2019-20 school year.

At the March 11 business meeting, the Governing Board approved the hiring of Jim Swetter as principal at Cactus Shadows High School, Patty Jensen as principal at Lone Mountain Elementary School and Aaron Pettinato as principal at Horseshoe Trails Elementary School.

Jim Swetter

Mr. Swetter is serving as the interim principal at Cactus Shadows. Previously, he was the assistant principal for operations and athletics at Cactus Shadows and prior to that, he was the dean of students.

He came to CSHS as a social studies teacher and served as the varsity wrestling coach. In 2010, Mr. Swetter moved to the Valley from Ohio where taught social studies in the Woodridge Local Schools and coached football, wrestling, and track and field, according to a press release.

Mr. Swetter earned his Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University, where he was a four-year letterman on the wrestling team. He has earned a Master of Arts in education; Administration and Supervision and a Master of Arts in education; curriculum and instruction (2008); both from the University of Phoenix.

Patty Jensen

Dr. Jensen is coming to CCUSD from Texas where she has served as an elementary school principal for the past seven years. She earned a Ph.D. in educational administration and foundations in 2011 from Illinois State University.

Her research focuses on how to implement successful two-way dual language programs at the elementary school level. She has received a number of awards throughout her career, including a six-star distinction for her school by the State of Texas in 2017-18.

She also believes the purpose of elementary education is to ensure all students have access to an exceptional learning environment that recognizes their strengths, builds on them and, thus, prepares them for the future, a release states.

Aaron Pettinato

Mr. Pettinato is serving as the interim principal for Horseshoe Trails Elementary School. He has been a CCUSD employee since 2006, beginning his educator career as a student teacher in a fourth/fifth grade combination classroom at Horseshoe Trails.

He was hired as a teacher at HTES that year and taught fifth and sixth grades for 10 years. He was promoted to dean of students at Cactus Shadows in 2016.

Mr. Pettinato has two MA degrees from Arizona State University, one in elementary education and a second in educational leadership. He is a graduate of the 2014-15 CCUSD Aspiring Administrators Academy and has been a coach, trainer and valued member of many site and district committees.

He is among the first group of educators to travel to China to help launch the Chinese Immersion program at HTES. He received the District’s highest recognition as a recipient of the Helping Us Grow Award in 2010.

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