A former administrator at Hutchins Elementary has been named the new head of El Campo Middle School, district leaders announced Tuesday, filling a position that has been vacant since August.

Kyle Poenitzsch, who served as Hutchins’ assistant principal for almost six years, was selected for the ECMS principal position against 21 other applicants. District leaders stopped accepting applications for the position on Oct. 28, with interviews running Nov. 9 through Nov. 13 before Superintendent Bob Callaghan recommended Poenitzsch to the board Tuesday.

The board voted unanimously to accept Callaghan’s recommendation.

“I have seen lots of things happen in this school district, and I intend to make some great things happen at our middle school,” Poenitzsch said Tuesday. “I’m excited for that opportunity … I’m excited for the opportunity to work with my peers, who have played a big part of my development.”

Poenitzsch will begin his new role Nov. 30, taking over for interim principal and El Campo ISD Director of Federal Programs Alicia Stary. Stary served in the role for about four months during the 2020-2021 school year.

She “stepped up and provided the leadership that we knew she would … I think our middle school is better for the time that she’s been there,” Board President James Russell said Tuesday.

Poenitzsch has worked for ECISD for about 20 years. Before working at Hutchins, he was an assistant principal at Northside Elementary, a baseball coach and a sports writer for the Leader-News. He wrote many articles for the newspaper in 2017 and 2018, providing coverage of district and community sports events.

ECISD football coach and special education behavior teacher Gary Figirova most recently served as ECMS principal, stepping down from his post at the end of July. Prior to Figirova, ECISD Transportation Director Mark Freeman was principal until 2019.

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