Nogales Unified Principals

Cesar MirandaCesar Miranda
Principal, Nogales High School

Mr. Miranda was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and his master’s degree from Northern Arizona University. Mr. Miranda taught for eight years before becoming assistant principal of Nogales High School (NHS) for two years. He then became principal of Coatimundi Middle School in Rio Rico for two years. One of his greatest accomplishments as an administrator was being a part of Coatimundi’s A+ School of Excellence award in 2015. He is excited and honored to return to NHS as principal. Mr. Miranda is married to his high school sweetheart. They have one energetic, loving son together.

As principal of Nogales High School, Mr. Miranda’s main goal is to maintain a safe learning environment for all students and staff. He understands the importance of collaboration and open communication when working with peers, students, and community members. Mr. Miranda has a very positive outlook on life and tries to instill that positive energy to everyone around him. Parents/legal guardians entrust NHS with their most prized possessions every day. It is the responsibility of the educational institution to give children the best education possible. He understands that responsibility and takes his job very seriously.

Joel KramerJoel Kramer
Principal, Pierson Vocational High School

Joel Kramer is proud to serve as the principal of Pierson Vocational High School. According to Mr. Kramer, “PVHS is a place that is focused on technology and real life experiences. The staff and teachers have truly worked on creating the idea of family with the students. The PVHS staff believes that young adults can reach their full potential through hard work, creativity, and differentiated instruction.” This year, PVHS is offering more computer-based activities and lessons during school and after school that will challenge students. Through the use of positive computer instruction plans and 21st century skill building activities, the PVHS staff will continue their efforts to improve academics, school climate, and job and college opportunities for students. Mr. Kramer supports, facilitates, and takes responsibility for this focus and determination!

As the principal of PVHS, Mr. Kramer is serving his 20th year in the Nogales Unified School District. Prior to becoming the principal at PVHS, he was an administrator and athletic director at Nogales High School for eight years and served as a co-director of adult education for two years. Before becoming an administrator, he spent nine years teaching at the Alternative High School, which was part of NHS, and coached baseball and golf. He also spent a year riding horses with Vision Quest from Billings, Montana to Elfrida, Arizona and to Evanston, Wyoming where he worked as a teacher/principal.

Mr. Kramer received his B.S. in education from the University of North Dakota in 1987 and a masters degree in educational administration. His administrative credentials were earned at the University of Phoenix in 1995. In addition to his principalship at PVHS, Mr. Kramer also served as a school board member in the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District in Rio Rico through December 31, 2008.

SolteroDr. Roman Soltero
Principal, Wade Carpenter Middle School

Dr. Roman Soltero has dedicated his career to community service. He has experience as an elementary and middle school teacher. In addition, he has served as an elementary and middle school administrator in the Tucson Unified School District. He served as an educator in the Tucson area for 18 years. As principal at Wade Carpenter Middle School, Dr. Soltero is part of a great team focused on collaboration, optimum student achievement, building strong community partnerships, and making every decision based on what is best for students. 

Dr. Soltero was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. He had the opportunity to serve as council member for the City of South Tucson from 1998 to 2007, and completed internships with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, D.C. and with the Pima County Board of Supervisors under the direction of retired Supervisor Dan Eckstrom. He received his B.A. in General Studies/Business Administration from Northern Arizona University in 1994, and M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University in 2000. He completed his Ed. D. in Educational Leadership with a Law Minor from the University of Arizona in 2009. The title of his dissertation was The Superintendent’s Role in Promoting Relationships with Selected Stakeholders Groups in a Large Southwest Urban School District.

Joan MoleraDr. Joan Molera
Principal, Desert Shadows Middle School

Dr. Joan Molera is the principal at Desert Shadows Middle School. Her duties at Desert Shadows include curriculum, instruction, supervision, evaluation, staff development, budget, correspondences, retention / promotion, parental involvement, community relations, co-curricular activities, library services, and health services. Dr. Molera's focus is student achievement in reading, writing, math, science, and character education. Committees meet regularly to review data and refine instructional practices based on these goals. 

Dr. Molera has been committed to NUSD #1 for over 25 years as a teacher, curriculum leader, coach, and administrator. After earning a bachelor's degree from Cornell College in Iowa, Dr. Molera moved to Nogales in 1987. She earned a Masters in English from the University of Arizona in 1992 and earned her principal certification from Northern Arizona University in 1999. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Arizona in 2015. Her dissertation was titled Intended and Received Language Arts Curricula in a Standardized Era: Misalignments and Negotiations in Border Community Schools

Lucina RomeroDr. Lucina A. Romero
Principal, Lincoln Elementary School

Dr. Lucina A. Romero recently began as principal at Lincoln Elementary School in the Nogales Unified School District. As the new principal, Dr. Romero is charged with keeping kids as the focus of every decision and being the key change agent to ensure that changes are introduced and sustained in an effort to raise the academic achievement levels for all students at Lincoln Elementary. Lucina is in charge of the administration of all affairs of the school within district policy and procedures including: implementation and evaluation of instructional and operational programs, budgeting and fiscal responsibilities, personnel, student and staff supervision, listening to the stakeholders, providing opportunities for staff to make the transitions during the time of change, facilitating parent involvement, and creating positive community relations.

Dr. Romero has dedicated 30 years of services to the community of Nogales in various capacities. She is a true Nogalian, born and raised in the community along with eight brothers and sisters in a Mexican-American household that valued hard work, education, and most of all, family. Lucina is a product of the Nogales school system and after earning a Bachelors of Science in early education at the University of Arizona in 1979, she started her career as a teacher at A.J. Mitchell Elementary School. In 1982, she earned a masters of arts in education degree with a concentration in special education from the University of Arizona. Throughout the years, Dr. Romero advanced to the position of assistant principal at the elementary level for six years, to principal for eight years, assistant superintendent of Nogales Unified School District for two years, and now principal at Lincoln Elementary. She earned her doctorate from Northern Arizona University in 2006.

Aissa BonillasAissa Celeste Bonillas
Principal, Mary Welty Elementary School

Aissa Bonillas was born in Nogales, AZ. She attended Mary L. Welty Elementary, Wade Carpenter Middle School, and Nogales High School. Ms. Bonillas graduated from NHS in 1999. She went on to continue her education at the University of Arizona, graduating in 2003 with a double major in Political Science and Secondary Education and a minor in Spanish. Ms. Bonillas began working at Nogales High School in August of 2003, teaching Spanish for five years and AP Government for one year. While teaching at Nogales High School, she also coached the dance team from 2003 to 2005. Ms. Bonillas received a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership - Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix in 2007. She also served as the Honors Coordinator from 2007 to 2009, overseeing the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate program. Ms. Bonillas then became the Assistant Principal at Nogales High School in 2009.


Wil AriasWil Arias
Principal, Challenger Elementary School

Mr. Wil Arias has an extensive background in education. He has served as an instructional assistant, classroom teacher, and administrator in Tucson area schools for 17 years. As instructional assistant, Wil worked with a literacy team focused on interventions for struggling readers. Upon receiving his teaching degree, Wil taught history, social studies, and health at the high school and middle school level. In addition to teaching, he coached middle school wrestling and cross- country. Mr. Arias’ administrative experience includes having served as a middle school assistant principal, middle school principal, and director of transportation for Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona.

Mr. Arias thoroughly enjoyed his time working with students and families and, as a result, joined the University of Arizona in 2011 to further his work in education, youth, and families. Wil served in the capacity of curriculum specialist for the Arizona Center for Research and Outreach in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He supported research projects focused on employing best practices for engaging students in learning. In addition, he collaborated with his colleagues to create professional development resources focused on positive youth development.

Mr. Arias received his bachelor of arts degree in secondary education from the University of Arizona and earned his master's of education in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. Mr. Arias is currently a member of the doctoral program at the University of Arizona, majoring in educational leadership with a minor in higher education. His studies focus on strategies that support teachers with instruction by providing a format for reflection and introspection. His areas of expertise are establishing and maintaining a professional learning community based on collaborative planning and examination of student work. Wil firmly believes that quality instruction will assist students in their journey to higher education, career, and life.

JimenezSandra Licet Jimenez
Principal, Coronado Elementary School

Sandra Licet Jimenez is the principal at Francisco Vasquez de Coronado Elementary School. Mrs. Jimenez believes in providing quality instruction while at the same time creating a positive school climate and culture for all students.

Mrs. Jimenez holds a bachelors of arts in elementary education with a minor in sociology from Prescott College, a masters of business administration from the University of Phoenix, and a masters of education in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. She started her teaching career at NUSD #1 in the year 2000. Prior to her leadership role as principal of Coronado, she was a reading specialist for 10 years, and classroom teacher for five years.

Among her many leadership roles throughout her teaching career, Mrs. Jimenez has collaborated as school improvement coordinator, structured English immersion specialist, and assessment coordinator. She was also the driving force behind Coronado’s successful National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence application submission. She believes that teamwork is the ultimate way a school can be successful in reaching the goal of helping students attain their full potential. She has two young sons with her husband of 12 years.

Michelle OlquinMichelle Olguin
Principal, AJ Mitchell Elementary School

Michelle Olguin is the principal at A.J. Mitchell Elementary School. Ms. Olguin strongly believes that every child has the ability to learn and grow. As principal, she ensures students experience a nurturing environment so that they can grow academically, socially, and emotionally. She knows that teachers and school staff are the key to having a successful school, and does whatever she can to support their miraculous daily efforts. Working with parents as partners in the education of A.J. Mitchell students is a large part of how she supports her teachers and students.

Ms. Olguin earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1990. She began her career immediately after graduation at Nogales Unified School District as a student teacher at A.J. Mitchell Elementary School, under the leadership of current Lincoln Principal, Dr. Lucina Romero. She worked at A.J. Mitchell for eight years as a primary grade teacher in the bilingual programs from August 1991 through June 1999 and received the top teacher recognition as 1996-1997 Teacher of the Year. She went on to obtain a Masters degree in administration and supervision from the University of Phoenix in 1998. She transferred to Robert M. Bracker in 1999, where she worked as a second grade teacher and reading specialist until 2003. Michelle was also selected as Bracker Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for School Year 2001-2002 and won the district-level Teacher of the Year that same year. In the fall of 2003, she became the district coordinator for the highly successful Reading First program. Michelle worked with principals, teachers, and students at four Reading First elementary schools. She previously served as principal at Robert M. Bracker Elementary School for nine years. She is very proud of the impressive accomplishments of her staff and students. In 2007, the school received the prestigious federal recognition of Blue Ribbon School, based on the tremendous academic growth of the students over a five-year period.

Timothy ColgateTimothy Colgate
Principal, RM Bracker Elementary School - TBA

It is with great pride and excitement that Mr. Colgate takes over the reigns as the newly appointed principal of Robert M. Bracker Elementary School. Mr. Colgate received his undergraduate degree from Chadron State College in 1993 and his master’s degree from Grand Canyon University in 2013. He has been in education for 22 years, the past 15 years with the Nogales Unified School District. He began his NUSD tenure, right here at Bracker as a physical education teacher in 2001, under then principal Dr. Lucina Romero. Mr. Colgate left Bracker in 2002 and started working at Nogales High School as the athletics director and held that position until taking on this fantastic opportunity. 

Along with the Dolphin staff, he said they will work hard to continue the legacy of success established at Bracker by building strong relationships with parents, students, staff, and community partners. Mr. Colgate states that Bracker will focus on character education initiatives, 21st Century skills, fostering a nurturing safe environment for children, use of data to inform instruction, consistent implementation of newly adopted direct instruction strategies to increase students’ achievement, and provide exciting and challenging enrichment opportunities for all students.

During the course of the year, it is his hope that everyone will work together to provide the students of Bracker the best possible opportunities in preparing them to be successful now and in their future. As principal, his door is always open and hopes that you will come in and introduce yourself. Please feel free to stop in, or call to make an appointment, to get to know him personally, discuss any concerns, suggestions, or ideas to help make Bracker as successful as possible.