By Jennifer Ortiz
HOWELL — Dheranie Suarez has been appointed as the principal of the Land O’ Pines School for the 2016-17 school year. Suarez was named principal in a 9-0 vote of the Howell Board of Education during a recent meeting.
She will succeed Sandy DeYonker as principal of the elementary school. DeYonker retired at the end of the 2015-16 school year.
Suarez was serving as the vice principal at Howell Middle School South. She previously served as vice principal at Howell Memorial Middle School. Suarez has been employed in Howell for 12 years.
She said her diverse educational background is an asset to her work with children in the primary and early elementary grades.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in biological science, a master’s in education, curriculum and instruction, and a master’s in educational leadership,” Suarez said. “I am eager to join another amazing staff and I am excited to round out my experiences to become a stronger educator.”
Suarez spent time at the end of the 2015-16 school year working with her colleagues to prepare for her first year as principal at Land O’ Pines.
“The Howell community is incredible and the Land O’ Pines families have made me feel so welcome already. I have worked with leaders from whom I have learned so much and I hope to bring my best traits to the (Land O’ Pines) Pirates,” she said.
Suarez said she is looking forward to leading a strong group of educators who share a vision of ensuring success for all students.
“Land O’ Pines has a rich and beautiful history that I would like to continue to grow. My goal is to provide our children a safe place to learn and thrive,” she said.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph Isola said Suarez’s experience in Howell speaks for itself.
“Dheranie has been with us for a dozen years, so her work in the district is well known and her passion for educating kids is on display every day,” he said.
Isola said the board members knew Suarez was a viable candidate for the principal’s position at Land O’ Pines because of her background.
“Throughout the process, she kept rising as the person we felt was best suited to lead Land O’Pines,” he said. “We think she is certainly going to take great respect for the foundation that has been there for so many years, but also be able to build on that and bring it to new heights.”
Board President Tim O’Brien said, “On behalf of the board, I would like to congratulate Mrs. Suarez and thank her for her years of service. We look forward to many, many more years where she will be bringing her tremendous leadership skills to Land O’ Pines. We are very lucky to have her.”
Suarez said she is delighted to start her maiden voyage on the Land O’ Pines Pirate ship alongside its strong crew.
“It’s going to be an exciting adventure!” she said.