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9-R Announces Principal of Needham Elementary

Due to reductions of staff in the CIA department, as well as resignations this summer, there was a critical need to select a leader to work with current Executive Director, Dr. Dylan Connell.


Riley began his teaching career in Aztec, NM in 2011. He began teaching in 9-R in 2013 as a 4th-grade teacher at Riverview.  There he enjoyed focusing on project-based learning methodologies with students and designing interactive lessons aligned to standards, while also supporting student character development.  While earning his masters in Teacher Leadership at Fort Lewis College, Riley conducted graduate research on supporting development in shared leadership practices and technology implementation for communication. Most recently Riley served as the assistant principal for Needham Elementary.  In that role, Riley tapped into his knowledge around staff professional development and coaching, while also guiding school-wide data review initiatives, to increase student outcomes and teacher success.

"I am excited and humbled to have been chosen as the next leader of Needham Elementary School,” says Alderton. “My goal is to make each day challenging, exciting, and worth showing up for. I believe in keeping students engaged, and meeting them where they are at academically and socially. I have been involved in the formation and continuation of the instructional work and overall vision at Needham during my time as Assistant Principal, and am passionate about continuing this work. I feel an urgency to reach all of our students, including our most at-risk and traditionally underserved, and am grateful for the opportunity to make an impact in the role of Principal."

Riley has continued to hone his passion for supporting success for all students by integrating resources to ensure teachers and staff have access to leadership development and coaching opportunities. With an equal passion, he also helps students find success through interdisciplinary studies and by supporting diverse and fluid classroom environments that focus on each individual student's growth and needs.

“Riley is a great fit for the Needham school community as he has already been serving the school, supporting its continued development of a positive and successful culture and learning environment, ” says Superintendent Dr. Karen Cheser. “This allows the current momentum and the vision-making for the school to continue with little interruption. We are confident that the experience and expertise that Riley possesses will inevitably support the ongoing goals of the school community to create a safe and supportive learning environment, find academic success for all students, and to foster a collaborative team climate.”

Riley’s academic recognitions are reflective of his passions in education. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Fort Lewis College in Elementary Education, with an endorsement in Linguistically Diverse Education. He continued his education during his professional career eventually earning Master’s Degrees in both Teacher Leadership and School Administration.