At a recent Governing Board Meeting, the Cave Creek Unified School District’s Governing Board approved Mrs. Sarah Barela as Cactus Shadows High School’s new principal.

Mrs. Barela just finished her twentieth year in education, all of which have transpired within the Arizona public school system. Graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2000, she began her career as a high school English teacher at Sunrise Mountain High School where she also coached the spirit line and was a student government class sponsor. While teaching, she also attended Northern Arizona University and earned her master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She says that the 13 years in the classroom and two years as an instructional coach were very formative in her growth as an educator as it provided a solid foundation of quality leadership, curriculum, instruction, and decision-making. In 2016, she accepted a job as the Assistant Principal at Saguaro High School. She spent a year at Saguaro over special education, 504s, student activities, and testing. In 2017, she was promoted to the Assistant Principal over Educational Services at Chaparral High School. She has spent the last four years as a Firebird over seniors, AP, the guidance department, graduation, and master scheduling.
“I am honored to become a member of the Falcon community at Cactus Shadows,” Mrs. Barela says. “In the interactions I have had with faculty, staff, and students it is clear that Cactus Shadows is a great place to be and the sense of community is strong. I look forward to continuing to make connections with all of you as we move through this next school year.”

On a personal note, Mrs. Barela shares that she enjoys spending time with her husband and family. Her oldest daughter will start her journey as a Wildcat at the University of Arizona this fall. Her other daughter will be a sophomore in high school and her son will be a third grader.

“My focus is to build relationships with the Cactus Shadows learning community,” she says. “You will find me out in the mornings, during passing periods, and at lunch. You will see me at school and community events cheering on our Falcons. Our job is to educate our future. I will work diligently with our team of teachers, support staff, and district administration to ensure that students leave Cactus Shadows with the education and tools to be successful wherever their dreams and goals take them.”