East High’s new Associate Principals


Beverly Gillard

It’s possible that you saw them pacing East High School’s hallways. Keeping tabs on you, serving and encouraging excellence at East. Even though you have never met them, you can tell they have some sort of authority. They may not be familiar to you right now, but they will be shortly. Meet Derek Schultz, and Mary Salazar. These two people are the new associate principals at East High School.

What does an associate principal do?
A day in the life of an associate principal is never the same. They interact with students and teachers throughout the day. They can be seen guiding students in getting to class in the hallways. An associate principal is the instructional leader for a teacher; they provide teachers with the greatest resources so they can employ the most successful strategies for motivating students to succeed. They want to build relationships with students and guide them in addition to being an educational leader. They want to encourage students to assume leadership roles now and when they complete high school and begin their careers.

Mary Salazar
Can you tell us about your own education?
Salazar earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education from the University of Iowa. She graduated from Buena Vista University with a master’s in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. At Viterbo University, she completed her coursework in educational administration.

Can you tell us about your family?
Salazar and her husband have a 13-year-old daughter who is involved in band and sports at her school. She is close with her three older sisters as well. Despite being dispersed across the country, they try to meet at least once a year.

What do you like to do in your free time?
“Most of my free time is spent shuttling my 13-year-old to her sports and other events. When I do have some time to myself, I like to read or craft,” Salazar said.

Where are you from and how did that shape you?
Salazar is from Clinton, in Eastern Iowa along the Mississippi River. Her community, and her family, was made up of hard-working people who would lend a hand to anyone in need. She got her first job at 13 so she could have spending money. “Growing up where I did made me value hard work,” Salazar said.

What made you want to come to East High School?
“The feeling of community at East is what made me excited to work here. East is a huge place, but there is this feeling of community that radiates everywhere,” Salazar said.

What do you believe are East’s biggest challenges, and what ideas do you have to address these challenges?
“Being new to East, I am still learning about what challenges exist and what things are in place to work on them. Although not the biggest issue we face, getting students to class on time is something I think would have a positive impact for everyone. If students are in class on time, they don’t miss instruction. That can positively impact grades. Having students where they are supposed to be also makes East a safer place. That’s why you’ll keep seeing my smiling face in the hallways encouraging everyone to get to class,” Salazar said.

Derek Schultz
Can you tell us about your own education?
Schultz was raised in a small town in Iowa and attended William Penn University, which has a widely diverse group of students. He had his first opportunity to meet diversity there. Morningside University awarded him a master’s degree in special education.

Tell us about your family.
His wife works for Des Moines Public Schools even though she graduated from Johnston. She’s a success case manager at South Union Elementary School. They are kept busy by their two boys, William, who is two, and Hudson, who will be five in February. They also have a dog named Elliot.

What made you want to come to East High School?
“What made me want to work at East was the sense of pride the community has; I worked at Weeks Middle School previously, and Weeks Middle School students can transfer to Lincoln or East. I already had relationships with students who are now juniors and some who are now sophomores and freshmen; as a result, having already built relationships with students and coming to a building such as East that has a big sense of pride is what really drove me to come here,” Schultz said.

What do you believe are East’s biggest challenges and how will you address them?
“I believe that East is much like any other school in this city in that it faces similar challenges regarding attendance, which may be caused by various barriers like transportation and motivation. As a result, I want to help close the attendance gap by ensuring that teachers employ strategies to have engaging classrooms and make them enjoyable for students,” Schultz said.

What do you like to do in your free time?
He enjoys working out a lot, which kind of gets him going in the morning, so he gets up early at four. He likes playing golf, watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, and Saturdays. Being the family cook and someone who loves to cook, he enjoys experimenting with new foods.