As Santa Fe High School Principal David Vincent prepared for his last day as principal Jan. 11, former El Camino Real Academy Principal Jack Lain returned from his retirement to shadow Vincent on the job.
Lain will take over as interim principal at the 127-acre Midtown school, managing about 1,600 students and more than 80 teachers until the district hires a permanent replacement.
“I’m excited,” Lain tells SFR of his return. “I missed being a principal, and I’m glad I’m able to offer help to Santa Fe High School at this time.”
Shortly after returning from winter break, the district announced Vincent would depart after working at the high school for 13 months.
“We appreciate all the work he’s done at Santa Fe High in the past year and a half, and we wish him the best,” SFPS spokesperson Cody Dynarski says of Vincent.
Vincent tells SFR he left the district because it was “time for a change,” noting he wants to continue working in education.
Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez issued a statement commending his efforts to support teachers and advance student learning.
“We have started our search for a new principal and anticipate a smooth transition in leadership over the next 30 days,” Chavez added.
Although Lain’s return to the district was somewhat anticipated—his announcement to retire from June 2022 stated he hoped to return to SFPS in another capacity after a year of travel—Lain does not plan to stay in the principal position permanently.
“One thing I do like about retirement is the flexibility of travel,” Lain says. “But, I like this opportunity to be a principal again. I see myself as the bridge from Mr. Vincent to whoever they hire, which I suspect will be in a month or two.”
Lain’s experience in the district stretches back to 2004, working his way up from bilingual teaching positions at EJ Martinez and Sweeney elementary schools to becoming assistant principal at Capital High School and then principal of El Camino Real.
During his years at Capital, Lain says he often partnered with administrators at SFHS, but his familiarity with the school has come to him in a new way this year.
“I’ve been knowing [SFHS] as a parent this year, because I have a visiting student from Spain who goes there,” he says. “I’ve gotten to know it better this year in that role.”
In his statement, Chavez also recognized Lain’s previous work in the district, noting his time as El Camino Real’s principal distinguished the school as a “multicultural, multi-literate community of respectful, kind, responsible and creative learners striving for excellence,” and that Lain was named Administrator of the Year by the New Mexico Music Educators Association in 2019.
Lain says his commitment to serving the schools and the wider Santa Fe community has remained.
“The heart of why I’m doing this is, this is something I feel like I can contribute… and I had the time available to do so,” Lain says. “My mission at Santa Fe High School is to assure a smooth transition from one principal to the other. I really do want people to know I think Santa Fe High School is in a good place, even during this transition, and we’ll have someone more permanent on board shortly.”
Editor’s Note: Santa Fe Public Schools spokesman Cody Dynarski characterized Vincent’s departure as a retirement in an interview, but this story has been edited to reflect Vincent tells SFR he resigned his post and plans to seek another education job.