CAMP VERDE - Marie Zawel has learned a great deal of things since she became the principal at South Verde High School.
"You don't have to be the number one figurehead to be a leader," said Zawel, who will step down as principal at the Camp Verde school at the end of the school year.
Last week, Cottonwood Elementary School principal Jason Douvikas also resigned his position, also effective the end of the school year.
But Douvikas, with experience in non-traditional schools back in his previous home of North Carolina, was Camp Verde Unified School District's top choice to replace Zawel, who will continue to teach English to her students.
Steve King spent the past eight years as South Verde's principal. King, now COCSD assistant superintendent, says that Douvikas is "kid-oriented, which must always be the focus."
"Nothing would make me happier than to have [Douvikas] find great success with the kids at South Verde," King says.
CVUSD Superintendent Dr. Dennis Goodwin said Tuesday that out of the three candidates he considered, Douvikas was the right person for the job.
"We were really impressed with his background. The demeanor he has fits South Verde very well," Dr. Goodwin said. "And his ability to work with them in math was also very positive. South Verde has a lot of gifted students who are struggling to find their niche. And Jason is someone who can help them find what they want to be in life."
Zawel, who participated in the interview process that led to the CVUSD board unanimously supporting Dr. Goodwin's choice of Douvikas, said her replacement has a "very strong, yet pleasant and affable" personality.
"It seemed as though he could appreciate the background of the students and the challenges they face," Zawel said.
Though several attempts to reach Douvikas for comment have gone unanswered, Dr. Goodwin said that the school's new principal is already looking to buy a home in Camp Verde.
Also Tuesday, the CVUSD board unanimously supported Dr. Goodwin's suggestion to hire Douvikas' wife Vickie as Elementary Title I Teacher. Both hires are effective July 1.