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TMS brings in new principal

National Assistant Principal of the Year to take over at TMS

TALENT – The 2022 National Assistant Principal of the Year will be the next principal of Talent Middle School.

Former Ashland Middle School associate principal Katherine Holden, who earned the top state and national award for assistant principals this year, has been hired to take over for TMS principal Kent Vallier, who will move to Phoenix High School to become the assistant principal there.

Holden’s first official day at TMS will be Aug. 1.

“It’s hard to overstate how big of a win this is for Talent Middle School and the Phoenix-Talent School District,” Phoenix-Talent Superintendent Brent Barry said. “Katherine’s national recognition and everything she did to earn that honor speaks volumes about who she is as an educator. I believe her innovative approach will have a major impact at TMS and we are very fortunate to have her.”

Holden has been the associate principal – a step up from assistant principal in terms of responsibility – at Ashland Middle School since 2015. At AMS, she spearheaded the school’s groundbreaking shift toward a standards-based proficiency grading and reporting system, which led to her national recognition by the National Association of Secondary School Administrators.

Holden also served as the AMS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Professional Development Facilitator, the Special Education Administrator and the Studio to School Grant Project Lead.

A former teacher who served as Ashland High School’s Wilderness Charter School teacher and co-director from 2000 through 2010, Holden said her focus is always on helping students succeed.

“My leadership style is very much one to support and serve teachers so they can be the best for their students, and that might be with resources, it might be with clear communication, or with strong structure,” she said. “As well, I want to be in service to our families and students so that they can successfully engage with the learning process.”

Holden has also worked as an art focus program coordinator for John Muir Magnet School, a teacher and Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) at AMS and coordinated Ashland School District’s Schooling Through COVID effort.

“I’m excited to use my skill set and my drive to improve teaching and learning to support Talent Middle School,” she said, “and this opportunity presented itself at a time when I was inspired to take on a new challenge.”