Garza named Woodbury Elementary School principal

Anel Garza de Sandoval is returning home.

Garza, of Perry, was named Woodbury Elementary School principal effective July 1.

Before being named associate principal at Perry Elementary School in 2012, Garza worked at Woodbury as a second grade teacher for nine years and kindergarten teacher for one year.

Garza will succeed Sarah Johnson, who resigned to take a position in Ottumwa.

“I’m very happy that I’m coming back to Marshalltown, especially to Woodbury. It’s my first home, my first love,” she said.

Woodbury manages a dual language program teaching students both English and Spanish.

Garza said a goal will be to maintain the program’s success and explore methods to make it even more successful.

She said her strengths of English as a second language, bilingual education and reading will be a good fit for Woodbury.

She is the third principal hired for Woodbury in four years.

Johnson had served three years and replaced Jack Shepherd, who resigned after one year to return to Illinois.

Shepherd succeeded Dr. Tom Renze, who retired after serving as Woodbury principal for 15 years.

Garza said Renze was her first principal and mentor.

“He encouraged me to pursue an advanced degree in administration,” she said. “He expressed a lot of confidence in me beginning in my first year at Woodbury, which I am grateful.”

Garza also acknowledged Johnson’s influence as principal.

“Sarah Johnson played a huge role in my development as an educator,” she said. “She was a tremendous influence, and I give her much credit for helping me gain the necessary skills to serve as an associate and, now, a principal.”

Garza received her Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education with an endorsement in English language learning from the University of Northern Iowa, where she also earned her Master of Arts degree in educational leadership.