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A school bus outside Denver's Manual High School.

A school bus outside Denver’s Manual High School.

Marc Piscotty

Three candidates are vying to become principal of Denver’s Manual High School

Three candidates are in the running to become principal of Denver’s Manual High, a storied school that has struggled academically and had high turnover at the top.

The last principal resigned in March, and school district officials recently concluded he violated the district’s policy against harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, according to a document obtained by Chalkbeat.

The three principal candidates include two who currently work for Denver Public Schools and one who works in the neighboring Adams 14 School District in Commerce City.

Here’s a bit about them, according to their resumes (which you can read in full below).

Jason Maclin is an assistant principal at Denver’s biggest and most-requested high school, East High School. Maclin served as interim principal at East for a few months last year.

Before working at East, Maclin was an assistant principal at Noel Community Arts School in the far northeast part of Denver. He started his career as a teacher in Chicago.

Maclin was also in the running this year to become principal at Denver’s George Washington High School. He was the students’ top pick, but district officials chose another candidate.

Julio Contreras is the principal resident at John Amesse Elementary School in far northeast Denver, a low-performing school that will be restarted in the fall. Principal residents spend a year working under a mentor principal.

Contreras came to Denver in 2017 from Louisiana, where he was an award-winning secondary school principal. He is bilingual in English and Spanish. Half of Manual students are Hispanic and a third are English language learners.

Cynthia Trinidad Sheahan is the director of educator effectiveness for Adams 14. She is also bilingual in English and Spanish, and previously worked for the Boulder Valley School District overseeing district programs for English language learners.

Before working in Boulder, Trinidad Sheahan was an assistant principal at Aurora Central High School. Like Manual, Aurora Central serves a high population of students from low-income families. Trinidad Sheahan started her career as a teacher in Brighton.

An interim principal has been filling in at Manual since former principal Nick Dawkins resigned in early March. Dawkins said he resigned after learning the district had received complaints of a hostile working environment at the school.

Manual students, parents, and community members will have the chance to meet the principal candidates and ask questions at a forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the school.

District officials said they will consider public comments when recommending finalists. Denver Superintendent Tom Boasberg will make the final hiring decision.