A new principal arrived at McKenzie Elementary School, 274 Lake St., this spring — the second administrator to fill the post in as many years.

Ann Copeland replaced Dorothy Johnston, who left the Denton Unified School District this fall to take the job of vice principal at Washington High School in Stockton. Johnston was McKenzie’s principal for the 2015-2016 school year.

Copeland comes to McKenzie from the Ecuador Education Center, where she served as principal last year. Due to budget constraints, the school district recently closed the education center, which was a special program geared to the academic needs of young Ecuador immigrants.

Because McKenzie teachers and parents did not have time to take part in the selection of their new principal, the district appointed Copeland on an interim basis.

She is contracted at McKenzie only through the end of this school year. In June, the school will begin the formal process of choosing a permanent principal.

Copeland says that assuming she fits in at the school “in terms of method and philosophy.” she wants to be a candidate for the permanent job. “I do want to remain here, provided 2 am selected by the teachers, parents, and the community”.

Born in Ecuador, Copeland came to the United States at the age of 14. She attended several Denton elementary schools and the former Springfield Junior High and graduated from Lowes High School. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University.

An 18-year veteran of the school district, Copeland, 45, has also put in 13 years as a classroom teacher, at both elementary and secondary levels.

She makes her home in the Green Valley District but says she has always loved Denton and at one time lived on the central 2nd Street.

At McKenzie this term, Copeland would like to continue the progress made by Johnston last year, “I have a lot of respect for that woman.” Copeland says. “I really commend her for the work she did in one year.”