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Crystal Lopez

Submitted photo Crystal Lopez

For the third time in its brief history, American Canyon High School will be getting a principal from outside the school district.

Crystal Lopez, 36, an assistant principal at California High School in San Ramon, will take over as principal of ACHS on July 1, succeeding Damon Wright.

Wright, 44, was selected in April to become executive director of secondary education for the Napa Valley Unified School District.

The NVUSD Board of Education approved Lopez’s hiring Thursday night.

Superintendent Patrick Sweeney said Lopez has “outstanding experience as a high school administrator in diverse settings.”

“She is committed to our community and will be a terrific asset to American Canyon High School,” said Sweeney.

For Lopez, ACHS will represent her first opportunity to serve as principal. Her three years at California High School were spent as assistant principal. Before that she was vice principal at John Swett High School in Crockett.

Lopez will oversee a staff of 130 and a budget of about $9.2 million. The school currently serves about 1,500 students in grades 9 through 12.

“I look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that American Canyon High School has been establishing over the past seven years,” Lopez said in a press release. “I am excited to join such a motivated community, and I plan to work together to build upon our values of relationships, relevance and achievement.”

She earned her bachelor’s degree at Pitzer College, her teaching credential from Chapman University and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from CSU East Bay.

Lopez will be ACHS’s third principal in its seven years of operation.

The school’s first administrator, Mark Brewer, came from Colorado, where he served as a high school principal. He left in 2015 to become assistant superintendent of secondary instruction at the Pajaro Valley Unified School District in Watsonville.

Wright took over for Brewer after serving as principal of Benicia High School for three years.

In contrast, NVUSD’s other two high schools, Vintage and Napa High, have been helmed by long-time district employees.

Vintage’s principal, Mike Pearson, attended Vintage in the early 1980s as a student, and has spent most of his career with NVUSD. He was principal of Redwood Middle School before taking over at Vintage in 2012.

Annie Petrie, principal of Napa High since 2015, has been with the school since 2004. She served as assistant principal for eight years before succeeding principal Barbara Franco, who retired.

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