Three school principals leaving their positions in MVUSD

Murrieta Valley Unified School District has announced three vacancies of school principal positions for the 2021-22 school year. Leaving t...

Murrieta Valley Unified School District has announced three vacancies of school principal positions for the 2021-22 school year.

Leaving their current positions at the end of the school year are Dr. Mark Pettengill of Murrieta Valley High School; Mick Wager of Vista Murrieta High School; and Kerry Cody of Thompson Middle School.

Applications will be taken and interviews conducted in April, with the superintendent’s recommendations to the MVUSD school board to take place in May, according to a news release.

Pettengill has announced his retirement from Murrieta Valley USD after 38 years in education. He came to the district 14 years ago and has been at MVHS for 10 of those years.

“It is with great sadness that I leave my Murrieta family and my Nighthawk family,” Pettengill said. “My retirement date will be June 11. I count so many of you as friends. We have accomplished so much together on this campus for students. I have been honored to work with some of the most selfless and driven people that I know.”

Superintendent Patrick Kelley has high praise for Pettengill.

“In these 14 years that I have known Dr. P., I can say there is not a more talented leader I have worked alongside,” Kelley said. “He has been incredible in every role and I wish him the best in his retirement.”

During Pettengill’s tenure, MVHS was named a California Distinguished School, earned a four-year comprehensive high school full accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and expanded specialty programs for students such as International Baccalaureate (IB), JROTC-Marines, Virtual Enterprise, and several award winning athletic and co-curriculars. He continuously focused on student learning and was instrumental in bringing Riverside County’s first and only Fire Science Pathway for students interested in Career Technical Education (CTE).

After serving 19 years as a secondary administrator for MVUSD, Wager will be taking an opportunity to serve all students, TK-12 in another district role. Under his leadership, VMHS completed a six-year high school accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges; added a Career Technical and Education (CTE) building, increased course participation in AP and Dual Enrollment, and strengthened Vista’s reputation as one of America’s Most Spirited High Schools.

“Being a Bronco is not just a job, it is a way of life,” Wager said. “It certainly has been for me, having proudly watched all three of my children graduate from VMHS. I have made lifelong friends who I love, and I have enjoyed getting to know each of you. I am excited to jump into my new role and serve our district students.”

“Mick has been an excellent administrator for students in grades 6-12 for 19 years,” Kelley said. “His compassionate leadership has made Vista one of the most accomplished high schools in Riverside County. Mick is passionate about students. His experience in prioritizing students and addressing the needs of diverse student bodies will be an asset to all students in Murrieta.”

Cody has decided to return to her first love in education, the classroom. She will be vacating her position as principal at the end of the school year.

Cody joined MVUSD in 2016 as the assistant principal for Thompson Middle School, then was promoted to principal. In her roles, she has excelled as a versatile leader focused on motivating teachers to implement effective and engaging instructional strategies which lead to increased student support and achievement.

“Kerry is a phenomenal educator,” Kelley said. “Her ability to switch roles at Thompson from an administrator to a teacher in the classroom speaks volumes about her passion for the community she serves. Ms. Cody is a true professional and I look forward to her return as an administrator in Murrieta when she is ready.”

“After much prayer and reflection, I have decided to step away from administration and resign from my position as the Principal of Thompson Middle School at the end of the year and to return the classroom for the 21/22 school year,” Cody said. “This was not an easy decision for me for so many reasons, but it is one that I am confident is the right choice for me and my family at this time.”

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