Timothy ColgateTim Colgate

Principal, Nogales High School

It is with great pride and excitement that Mr. Tim Colgate takes over the reins as the newly appointed principal of Nogales High 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 26 years, the past four as the principal at Robert M. Bracker Elementary School.  Prior to becoming the Bracker principal in 2015, he had been the athletic director at Nogales High School, starting in 2002.

Mr. Colgate said he and the Nogales High School staff would work hard to continue the legacy of success established at NHS by building strong relationships with parents, students, staff, and community partners. He added that NHS would focus on success in all areas; with high expectations for all students, faculty, and programs.

“During the course of the year, we will work together to provide the students of Nogales High School the best possible opportunities in preparing them to be successful now and in their future,” Mr. Colgate said. “I welcome everyone to come in and be a part of the great things that will be happening at Nogales High School so please feel free to stop by and visit.”


Kristi Beach

Kristi Beach
Assistant Principal, Nogales High School 

Ms. Beach graduated from Nogales High School in 1989. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Western New Mexico University in 1994. Then began working in Las Cruces, NM. She worked at a preschool and then went on to teach 6-8th-grade bilingual education at a local middle school. She decided to return to WNMU to pursue her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership which she received in 2000.

She returned to Nogales and taught at the elementary level for four years at Coronado and Challenger Elementary Schools. She also sponsored clubs and activities while at the elementary level. In 2002 she was given the opportunity to move to the middle school to teach and coach. She has coached from one to four sports a year in each of the sixteen years she has been at Desert Shadows Middle School, as well as been the school’s Athletic Director and was the Assistant Principal for three years. She is so excited to have the opportunity to work with high school students and to be a Nogales Apache again! Go Apaches!


Ms De la OssaElizabeth De La Ossa
Assistant Principal, Nogales High School

Ms. Elizabeth De La Ossa is very honored and excited to serve Nogales High School as Assistant Principal. She strongly believes it takes a team to provide students with a safe and positive environment, where learning can take place. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Arizona in 1998, she received her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University in 2021.

Ms. De La Ossa has been in education for 11 years, most recently, as a teacher in the Sahuarita Unified School District. She also served new teachers as an instructional coach and quickly developed a passion for leadership during this experience. 


Eric Sowle
Athletic Director, Nogales High School

Mr. Sowle graduated from The University of Nevada – Las Vegas in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Athletic Training. Afterwards, he began providing Athletic Training services through Azalea Orthopedics in Tyler, Texas and Sports Medicine instruction at Palestine-Westwood in Palestine, Texas. He served as the Head Athletic Trainer and Sports Medicine Instructor at Westwood ISD for 2 years. During that time, Mr. Sowle earned his NSCA Strength & Conditioning Specialist and AHA BLS/First Aid/AED Instructor Certifications. In 2017, Mr. Sowle moved to Tucson, AZ and accepted a position with Arizona Sports Care, LLC. As an Athletic Trainer with Arizona Sports Care, Mr. Sowle provided Athletic Training services for various schools and events in Southern Arizona, including Nogales High School Athletics.

Mr. Sowle quickly became the Nogales High School Full-Time Athletic Trainer and Sports Medicine Instructor in January of 2018. In August of 2019, Mr. Sowle served an additional role as the school’s Athletic Coordinator before becoming the school’s full-time Athletic Director the following year.
Mr. Sowle recently finished obtaining his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University in March of 2021.

Ms Bernal Lillian Bernal
Lead Teacher, Pierson High School

Hello, My name is Lillian Bernal and I am proud to serve as Pierson High School’s Lead Teacher. I am a graduate of Nogales High School. My educational background includes a Bachelor in Arts in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Arizona and a School Counseling Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix. I began my career at NUSD#1 working at Wade Carpenter and Lincoln Elementary Schools, and this will be my fifth year working at Pierson High School.

PHS strives to create educational opportunities that will enhance student learning and provide a safe and social-emotional learning environment for all students. Pierson High School provides quality alternative education by having qualified teachers in each content area to support the academic needs of our students. PHS prides itself by offering “Excellence in Alternative Education”..

Frank Gilvin

Frank Gilvin

Principal, Wade Carpenter Middle School

Frank Gilvin is excited to be the principal of Wade Carpenter Middle School.  Mr. Gilvin received his undergraduate degree from Morehead State University in 1996 and his graduate degree from the University of Phoenix in 2009.  He has a passion for student learning and believes in all students.  As principal, Mr. Gilvin will strive to meet the educational, social, and emotional needs of the students at Wade Carpenter.
Mr. Gilvin has been in education for the last fifteen years having taught physical education, and science courses.  He began administrative work at a charter school in Tucson.  He has served in administrative roles including athletic director and principal.  In his last position, Mr. Gilvin was a curriculum service provider for the Tucson Unified School District.  Being able to assist and serve as an instructional coach for teachers has helped shape his leadership style as he believes in building teacher leaders.  

Mr. Gilvin is committed to providing a safe and rigorous learning environment that enables students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.  These are skills necessary for students to transition to high school and beyond.  He is proud to be part of the Nogales Unified School District and to serve at Wade Carpenter Middle School.

Mariebeth Silva

Mariebeth Silva
Assistant Principal, Wade Carpenter Middle School 
Mariebeth Silva is the assistant principal at Wade Carpenter Middle School Born and raised in Nogales, Mrs. Silva is a proud product of the Nogales Unified School District as she attended A. J. Mitchell, Mary L. Welty, Wade Carpenter Jr. High, and Nogales High School. After graduating from NHS, she attended the University of Arizona and graduated with a BA in Psychology in 2008. She immediately began her teaching career at Wade Carpenter Middle School where her father taught for over 20 years. 

Mrs. Silva began her career in education knowing she had big shoes to fill but met the challenge with enthusiasm and passion. She encouraged, nurtured, and taught seventh graders to appreciate learning as a significant step to achieving academic and social success. While teaching, she also completed her master's degree in Secondary Education in 2011 and obtained her Administration certificate in 2013 from the University of Arizona. 

In 2013, Mrs. Silva accepted her position at Wade Carpenter as Assistant Principal. It is a beautiful thing when a career and passion come together. She continually strives to work as a team to develop, inspire, and model the effective leadership skills required to lead students, teachers, and staff towards excellence.

Christopher MirandaChristopher Miranda

Principal, Desert Shadows Middle School

Mr. Christopher Miranda is the proud principal of Desert Shadows Middle School. Mr. Miranda has served NUSD #1 for 15 years in several educational roles. He began his career in 2004 as a computer technician for Desert Shadows Middle School. For eight years he taught Computer Maintenance, Network Technologies, Business Management, and Administrative Services as Career Technical Education (CTE) at Pierson Vocational High School. Additionally, he taught Computer Information Systems (CIS), and Business (BUS) courses at Cochise College. In the summer of 2015 he returned to Desert Shadows as an assistant principal; a position he held for 4 years.

Mr. Miranda earned a Bachelor of Science in 2007 in Information Technology and a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Technology Management (MBA/TM) in 2010 from the University of Phoenix. He pursued further studies in education, as he enrolled at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University and completed the Educational Leadership program in 2014.

Mr. Miranda believes that all students can and must be academically successful.  To fulfill this goal the school must provide quality learning opportunities, excellent educators, and thoroughly active parental involvement.  He strives to provide a safe learning environment so all students learn to their fullest potential. His mission is to lead Desert Shadow Middle School to be recognized as an “A” school.

Joshua PayneJoshua Payne
Assistant Principal, Desert Shadows Middle School

Mr. Joshua Payne is honored and excited to be the new Assistant Principal at Desert Shadows Middle School (DSMS). Mr. Payne brings energy and a passion for academic excellence to the school community.  
Mr. Payne was born at Little Company of Mary in Torrance California, and was raised in San Diego, California. In 1992 he came to the Old Pueblo (Tucson, Arizona) where he has lived happily ever since. He graduated from the newly constructed Catalina Foothills High School in 1997, and immediately became a passionate Spanish language major at the University of Arizona.

After graduation Mr. Payne began his teaching career in 2003 working for Sunnyside Unified School District. His passion for learning and growing have earned him multiple degrees. He graduated from Pima Community College in Secondary Education, from Rio Salado with degrees in Public Assistance, and Special Education Cross Categorical, Master of Arts degree in Education from Plymouth State University, and earned a Principal Certification from Lamar University. 

Mr. Payne has also worked in the Tucson Unified School District as a Spanish teacher, Language Arts Teacher, Special Education Coordinator, Athletics Coach, Learning Supports Coordinator, Summer Hub Coordinator, Intern Special Education Director, and Multi-Tiered Supports Facilitator at several district schools. 

His most current position was as an Assistant Principal at a Self-Contained Program (The Menta Group) in Casa Grande where he served for the last two years. 

Mr. Payne is a father of three (3) wonderful children ages five (5), eight (8), and seventeen (17), and his wife is a bilingual, Science teacher.  His interests include traveling, and attending University of Arizona Wildcat events-Bear Down! Mr. Payne looks forward to collaborating with all stakeholders as he embarks on his new career with Nogales Unified School District and the DSMS community.


Paul Carlson

Paul E. Carlson
Principal, Lincoln Elementary School

Mr. Paul E. Carlson is very excited about being chosen as the new principal of Lincoln Elementary School in the Nogales Unified School District. Mr. Carlson believes in creating and maintaining a positive school culture, in which every member of the school community knows that they are valued and everyone is expected to contribute their best efforts toward continuous improvement. Having been an enthusiastic educator since 1986, he is well-acquainted and fascinated with the teaching and learning processes and understands how to move these forward.

Mr. Carlson holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of South Dakota, a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in Special Education-Gifted from Northern Arizona University, and principal certification from the Arizona Department of Education. He started as a teacher at Lincoln Elementary and continued to teach for 17 years. Since 2003, he has worked as a literacy specialist/coordinator, a position which has involved working closely with teachers to help them improve their teaching skill and understanding of curriculum and assessment as well.

Mr. Carlson feels honored to have the opportunity to continue working with Lincoln School’s wonderful staff, students, and families in the capacity of principal. Please feel free to come by the school to meet him or if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas to help Lincoln be the best school it can be.

Aissa Bonillas

Aissa 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.

Christina Valdez

Christina Valdez
Principal, Challenger Elementary School

Ms. Christina Valdez is the newly appointed principal at Challenger Elementary School and has dedicated her career to the life of service to others.  As a leader, she strives to bring out the best in students, teachers, and staff and create leaders among leaders.  Ms. Valdez believes in providing high-quality education while building meaningful relationships with students, staff, and students' hearts before you can capture their mind.

Ms. Valdez holds a bachelor of arts in journalism with a minor in business from the University of Arizona, a master's in elementary education from the University of Phoenix and principal certificate from Northern Arizona.  Ms. Valdez began her career as a reporter for the Tucson Citizen newspaper and USA Today in Virginia.  Wanting to make a difference in the lives of youth, Ms. Valdez changed careers and became an elementary teacher with a focus on educating second language learners.  As a teacher and administrator in Tucson for the past 14 years, she has worked in turnaround schools and as part of the leadership team has been successful in students reaching high academic success.  Ms. Valdez is excited about her new role as principal and believes that the Challenger community is a special place that has amazing parent and community support.  She is enthusiastic about continuing the rich traditions of Challenger including that of becoming a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence once again! 


Sandra 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 the 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.


Gabriel WongGabriel Wong
Principal, A.J. Mitchell Elementary School

Mr. Gabriel Wong is the proud incoming principal of AJ Mitchell Elementary School. He is very honored to have the opportunity to serve as principal and excited to continue the work and carry the torch forward. Mr. Wong believes in visionary-servant leadership and leading with the needs of the team and the communities we serve as the driving principle coupled with ethical and caring behavior providing the team’s moral compass. He believes in creating positive relationships, fostering collaboration, respecting diversity and culture, and believes that all students deserve safe schools that provide high quality instruction and great opportunities for future success.

He was born and raised in Yuma, Arizona to a humble migrant farming family and graduated from Yuma High School. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and moved to Tucson in 2004 to attend the University of Arizona with concentrations in Political Science and Business Administration. During his time at the University of Arizona he took two yearlong leaves of absence for active-duty military service and overseas deployment. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in August 2009.

Mr. Wong began his career in education nearly thirteen years ago in Tucson at Nosotros Academy where he taught from 2009-2012. He earned a Master of Educational Leadership in Higher Education & Community College from Northern Arizona University in May of 2012. He began working for Tucson Unified in 2012 and served in various teaching and leadership roles until 2019.  During his tenure at Tucson Unified, Mr. Wong earned his graduate certificate in Principalship from Northern Arizona University. In 2019, Mr. Wong accepted the role of assistant principal at Mountain Rose Academy Charter High School, where he worked hard with the administrative team to restructure and implement accountability, academic goals, with positive results: increasing enrollment, and decreasing dropout rate. Most recently, Mr. Wong served as assistant principal at McCartney Ranch Elementary where he helped lead the school through an unprecedented pandemic year while supporting continuity of service for students and families, serving as the school’s testing coordinator, EL coordinator, 504 coordinator, and instructional technology lead.

Mr. Wong has three young boys with his wife of 14 years, who is a fellow educator. His personal interests include science, technology, history, gastronomy, and to travel to Mexico to visit family and learn more about its rich and diverse culture.

Joanne Vigilant
Principal, RM Bracker Elementary School

Born in the US Virgin Islands, Ms. Joanne Vigilant is a strong believer in education and what it can do.  As the newly appointed principal of Robert M. Bracker Elementary School, Ms. Vigilant is eager and excited to be part of an innovative team.  She is deeply committed to making a positive difference in the lives of students and our community. Ms. Vigilant’s leadership strengths are:

-Setting and maintaining high academic expectations for herself, students, staff and teachers  
-Providing supportive systems to assure academic goals are met
-Ensuring that timely, consistent and effective communication is established with parents, students, and all stakeholders
-Building strong teams around the common mission and goals of the district 

After she graduated from Prescott College in 2001 with a BA in education, Ms. Vigilant went on to earn Masters degrees in Psychology (Prescott College, 2005), and Educational Leadership (Northern Arizona University, 2012). Ms. Vigilant started her career in education at a very young age and has worn many hats throughout her career. She taught fifth grade at Tucson Unified School District, and her most recent appointment was serving as a high school principal at a charter school in Tucson, Arizona. On her off time, Ms. Vigilant enjoys time with her dog, spending time with her loving companion, and singing karaoke. 
Ms. Vigilant strives to provide a safe, positive, intellectual learning environment that will empower students to become creative problem solvers, critical thinkers, and inspired learners prepared for life in today's world. She is eager to continue the strong legacy and reputation that Bracker Elementary School has worked hard to establish. 


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