Four Finalists Vie For Payson High School Principal


The principal selection committee has settled on four candidates to interview to fill Kathe Ketchem’s spot as principal of Payson High School (PHS).

The committee, made up of administrators, teachers and parents, winnowed numerous applications down to four finalists. The committee will make its final recommendation to the school board May 14.

The four candidates are:

James (Brian) Mabb, assistant principal at Queen Creek High School in Queen Creek. Mabb won the 2012 National Association of Secondary School Principals State Assistant Principals of the Year award. He has worked in Queen Creek since 2006.

Michelle Poppin is the principal at the Academy of Tucson Elementary School in Tucson. Poppin has been the principal at the college preparatory school for the past two years. Before working as a principal in Tucson, she worked as a vice principal in the Marana school district.

Anna Van Zile, is currently the assistant principal at PHS. Van Zile became an administrator after previously running the English department at the high school. She has been an administrator for two years.

Karin Ward is currently the superintendent/principal for Beaver Creek Elementary School District in Rimrock. She started her career as a second-grade teacher, then moved into administration. She has worked at Beaver Creek for the past eight years.

Ward applied for the PUSD superintendent position, but the school board hired Ron Hitchcock.


Judi Lance 4 years, 8 months ago

Historically, male Principals of High Schools are more successful. Though the female candidates may be very qualified, males are more respected, feared when needed, and positive.


Dillon Walker 4 years, 8 months ago

Anna VanZile has been made PHS Principle! This is a great move for Payson High School!!


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