Originally Published: April 2, 2013 11:06 p.m.
The Prescott Unified School District Governing Board approved Stephanie Hillig as the new principal of Prescott High School at its meeting Tuesday night.
The search for a new principal began when Totsy McCraley, current PHS principal, said she would retire at the end of this school year.
"Mrs. Stephanie Hillig has done an outstanding job at Granite Mountain Middle School," Superintendent Dave Smucker said. "Her strengths are in curriculum, instruction, developing relationships and moving schools forward."
The vote was 3-1 with Board President Maureen Erickson the only nay vote.
"Congratulations, Mrs. Hillig on becoming the new principal of the high school," Erickson said. "I sincerely wish you much success as you collaborate with the school administration, the teachers and the students moving Prescott High School from a good school to a great school."
At the end of the meeting, principals Brian Moore, Teresa Bruso, Jeff Lane, Jim Wells and Rosemary Agneessens, Smucker, and Assistant Superintendent Joe Howard congratulated Hillig.
"We've got your back," Washington Traditional School Principal Harold Tenney said.
Then Facilities Director Jay Collier gave Hillig a hug.
"I'm very excited to start," Hillig said. "The first thing we're going to be looking at is technology. It's huge for me, and something I'm pretty passionate about."
Whether it's a school-provided device or the students' own devices, they need to know how to use that technology before they go on to junior college, university or the workforce, Hillig said.
"It's so important we teach them how to appropriately use technology now and etiquette, or that could become a problem for them, even while they're in a part-time job in high school," Hillig said.
Hillig said she's started looking at necessary software and hardware and is working on policies with Technology Director Chris Igel.
"I think we have an excellent jump on it, and we're going down to Paradise Valley on Thursday to learn more," Hillig said.
Hillig, Igel and Smucker will learn more about how Paradise Valley Unified School District's bond committee developed technology priorities, and used proceeds from a successful bond election.
"Everywhere we go, technology is the big issue," Smucker said.
Many people ask if Hillig is ready to make the jump from middle school to high school, but few in Prescott know of her experience at the high school level in Marana, Ariz., before becoming principal at Granite Mountain Middle School seven years ago.
"That's where I started my career," Hillig said. "My degree is in secondary math, so I taught high school math for years, coached at the high school level and was the high school student council advisor. When I went into administration, in Marana that was also at the secondary level."
Hillig said she'll meet department chairs at the high school with McCraley on Wednesday.
"Totsy's making this transition just great," Hillig said. "I already met some student groups yesterday, and I'm going to continue to do that. Teachers are emailing me, so we have communication already going on with the staff."
Hillig said she knows many Prescott High School students because of her work and her children being active in local sports and clubs.
In a March 22 announcement, Smucker announced that Hillig was his choice to succeed McCraley, noting at the time the appointment would have to be approved by the board.