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Jaime Festa-Daigle named Director of Personnel and Technology

A very familiar name – Jamie Festa-Daigle – assistant principal at Lake Havasu High School is moving on, but staying put. Her appointment as the district’s director of personnel and technology was approved by the governing board Thursday.

With 18 years in teaching and administration, Festa-Daigle takes over for Denise Miner, who is finishing out 27 years as an educator that includes 14 years as an elementary school teacher at Oro Grande and five years as principal at the high school.

Festa-Daigle has had a host of job descriptions that includes an English Second Language instructor, middle school language arts teacher, and high school civics, AP government, economics, dual enrollment government, macroeconomics, high school marketing and a student government advisor.

In 2013, Festa-Daigle became an assistant principal at the high school where she has assisted in recruiting and hiring new staff, evaluating classified and certified staff and handling student and staff discipline and attendance.

The jump into district administration continues her journey to make the school district the best it can be.

“I am committed to Lake Havasu and having the best staff for all of our students,” Festa-Daigle said. “Working in personnel is a natural fit.”

Knowing better than most, Festa-Daigle realizes how hard it is to recruit and retain staff in Lake Havasu.

Although the 2016 passage of the 15 percent budget override provided staff with a bump in pay that has helped in that goal, Festa-Daigle said there is still more that needs to be done.

“There are lots of good reasons to come to Havasu,” she added. “It’s all about marketing what those reasons are.”

Tops on the list is the personal connections teachers, staff and administrators develop, something you don’t get in large metropolitan school districts.

“It’s also about finding out why our great teachers are staying,” Festa-Daigle said. “We know we are coming to a point where our salaries are more attractive than they were before and we know our working conditions are more attractive.”

The one stumbling block on remaining in Havasu often mentioned by new teachers, Festa-Daigle said, is the high cost of housing.

“When I moved here I started at $30,000 and bought a $100,000 house,” she said. “Realizing the high cost of living is a reality for new teachers it’s about being creative and marketing ourselves for young educators.”

In a time when people complain what is wrong with our schools, Festa-Daigle is a great example of everything that the district is doing right.

Along with being a National Board Certified Teacher and Arizona Master Teacher, Festa-Daigle was selected to receive the American Civic Education Teacher Award in 2012 conducting a LHHS civics class.

The honor is awarded by the Center for Civic Education, the Center on Congress at Indiana University, and the National Education Association. The award recognizes only three teachers nationally per year.

The three recipients were all teachers that demonstrate a special expertise in the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress, and public policy at the state and local level; and prepare young people to become informed and engaged citizens.

Festa-Daigle is described by community members and colleagues as an influential citizen with an “innovative” and “creative” mind, said school Superintendent Diana Asseier.

“Mrs. Festa-Daigle has demonstrated ethical and innovative leadership as an administrator in the last five years,” Asseier said. “Her willingness to learn, her passion for our district and for education, and her commitment to the success of our students, staff, and community make her the ideal candidate for the director of personnel and technology.

 

by David Louis, Today's News-Herald : May 25, 2018

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