John Youngquist, East High School principal, resigns to take DPS principal development job

East High School's principal is leaving -- though under less dubious circumstances than the principal at West High, who suddenly resigned earlier this year.

In an e-mail to parents, East principal John Youngquist announced that he's accepted a job to become Denver Public Schools's Director of Principal Talent Development.

Assistant principal Andy Mendelsberg will take over as interim principal for the rest of the school year. This spring, East will conduct a search for a permanent new leader.

Youngquist -- known to some of the ladies around East as Principal Yummy for his good looks -- is out of town on a pre-scheduled trip, but here's an excerpt from his letter about his new job, which was made possible by a $12 million grant from the Wallace Foundation.

My time as an East Angel has truly been one of the most meaningful and memorable times of my life and career. My passion as East's principal and the spirit of our amazing school was truly the catalyst that prompted me to pursue this tremendous opportunity. As you know, East High School has produced some of the country's most amazing and talented young people. Through my new position, I hope to inspire and facilitate strong leaders at schools across the district with the hope of spreading the same culture of success that is a part of our East High School experience.

DPS was awarded the $12 million, five-year Wallace Foundation grant in August. In addition to funding Youngquist's position, the money will be used toward two principal training programs: the Ritchie Program for School Leaders at the University of Denver and the Get Smart Schools Fellowship Program, which President George W. Bush was recently in town to tout. Get Smart Schools is receiving networking (but not financial) support through the George W. Bush Institute's Alliance to Reform Educational Leadership.

More from our Education archives: "Santiago Grado, former West High principal, says leadership differences caused resignation."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar

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