Two weeks into his new post as principal of Ector Middle School, Charles Quintela is building relationships and trust with students and staff. And he’s optimistic that the campus will come off of the improvement required list under state accountability standards.

A native of Alpine, Quintela earned a pre-engineering degree from Sul Ross State University and a master of science in interdisciplinary studies from Southwest Texas State, now Texas State University. He started his career in Monahans as a principal and coach and spent a year as a coach and teacher at a middle school in Weslaco.

He said he has been with ECISD for 16 years serving at the Career Center, Odessa High School and the Alternative Education Center before coming to Ector.

Former Ector Middle School Principal Kendra Herrera was arrested Feb. 1 on a charge of misdemeanor Class A theft following an investigation by the Ector County Independent School District Police Department, Superintendent Tom Crowe has said.

Herrera was officially put on paid administrative leave Jan. 16 because of the allegation against her, but Crowe has said her resignation letter cited personal reasons.

Ector County Attorney Dusty Gallivan said he believes Herrera will have an arraignment March 7.

Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Roy Garcia filled in as principal at Ector until Quintela moved there and now splits his time between Ector and his administrative job.

Garcia said Quintela’s experience as an interim principal, associate principal and assistant principal at OHS, in Monahans and as principal of the Alternative Education Center made him a good fit for Ector Middle School.

Garcia added that Quintela changed the culture of the Alternative Education Center.

“He’s transferring that to Ector,” Garcia said. “He’s big on building relationships. That’s a significant part of what we need in terms of building a relationship with the community, the teachers and the students.”

Garcia said he thinks Quintela has had an impact at Ector from day one. He has already met with many of his roughly 150 teachers and Garcia said he plans to meet with every instructor so they can voice their concerns.

He’s also making it possible for students to learn more about each assistant principal and administrator so they can get to know them as real people. He noted that many of them struggled and went through things to get where they are.

“It’s going to be such a difference maker,” Garcia said. “Those kinds of things help the instruction happen.”

Help also has come from Permian Principal Danny Gex who has let one of his assistant principals come to Ector every day to help. Quintela said that’s the kind of leadership he believes in.

“For us to have an extra hand on deck all the time, guess what, it’s huge,” Quintela said.

It was in that spirit that Quintela said he came to Ector to help out and continue investing in the community.

Ector, Noel and Zavala elementary schools are in their fifth year of improvement required status under state accountability standards. If they do not come off the list, the campuses will face closure or the Texas Education Commissioner will appoint a board of managers over the whole district.

The main thing Quintela said he has to tackle right now at Ector is being consistent so the teachers can continue delivering the instruction that will lead the campus out of improvement required status.

Quintela said he feels there has been a lot of growth at Ector and everyone there has to have the mindset of doing what’s best for students. He also wants to instill in students that school is important.

Growing up, Quintela said, he didn’t particularly enjoy school. In high school, his counselor discouraged him from furthering his education and told him he should go into the military. He said he’s heard that story too often from people in his generation.

In contrast, he said his parents, especially his father, stressed going to college. His father fought in the Korean conflict and earned a degree later in life.

“I wasn’t the first-generation to go to college, my dad was. But he always infused the fact that having the degree was a common denominator for all kids, regardless of what color, race, origin whatever you were, it was a common denominator for making things equal,” Quintela said.

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