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DPS announces new principal for Manual High School

Nick Dawkins, currently the principal at Hamilton Middle School in Denver, will take the reins of Manual High School starting next school year.

Dawkins was one of two finalists for the job who met with community members last month.

Don Roy, who replaced former principal Brian Dale a year ago January, will lead Manual through the end of the 2014-15 school year.

This is the latest in a series of changes at Manual, a school with a storied history that has fallen on hard times in the past two decades. Manual has been the focus of several failed attempts at school improvement efforts by DPS.

DPS officials announced early this school year that they were searching for a new principal to lead the school. The news came as the district abandoned a tentative plan to merge Manual with nearby East High School.

District officials told board members last December that finding a new principal for the school was part of an effort to address a recent decline in academic performance and rapid staff turnover at Manual. Officials also highlighted a partnership with City Year and announced the introduction of a new career and technical education program funded by Kaiser Permanente.

In a letter to Manual students and parents, Chief Schools Officer Susana Cordova and Assistant Superintendent Greta Martinez wrote that “Mr. Dawkins has deep roots in the Manual community and he has a track record of success as an instructional leader at the middle and high school level.”

Dawkins will be introduced to Manual’s students on Feb. 11. There is a community reception at the school later this month.

Chalkbeat investigated principal turnover in Denver Public Schools earlier last fall, and the rocky history of school improvement efforts at Manual in early 2014.

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