LOS LUNAS — Los Lunas High School is welcoming a new “tiger” to their ranks after announcing previous Los Lunas Elementary principal Eric Tiger as the new principal.

“Mr. Tiger is highly regarded in the Los Lunas Schools. His ability to create a collaborative culture of high expectations has resulted in improved student learning and employee satisfaction at LLE,” said Interim LLS Superintendent Deborah Elder in a letter posted on the district’s Facebook page.

Eric Tiger
New Los Lunas High School principal

Working at LLE was Tiger’s first role within the district. He says leaving the family built within the LLE community of parents, students and staff is what he’ll miss most, but he hopes to bring that same sense of family to LLHS.

“My five years here at Los Lunas have been at LLE, so you develop relationships over that time,” said Tiger. “If you had to ask me what one of my strengths are, it’s building relationships and nurturing a positive culture and that’s what I really hope to do at the high school.”

Tiger was born and raised in Oklahoma and began his career there as a K-12 physical education teacher. Later, he became an assistant principal and counselor at an alternative secondary school in Arkansas. Prior to working at LLE, he was an elementary principal and counselor in Bernalillo.

Looking back, Tiger says working at the elementary level was a valuable experience because it taught him a lot about the basics needed at the secondary level.

Serving as the LLE principal since 2019, Tiger feels like he was at a place in his career where he felt comfortable with taking that next step.

“I don’t feel like being an elementary principal is a lower step, but being the principal of LLHS is a step in a bigger school,” said Tiger. “I really love this district, and I’ve always liked helping, leading and supporting people, and really feel like that’s the role of an administrator.

“When the (LLHS principal) opportunity became available, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I had a shot, but I saw it as an opportunity to make a difference.”

Tiger is looking forward to creating a sense of community at LLHS and is particularly excited about all the activities and programs the high school boasts.

“I hear about all these different clubs doing so well like robotics, Future Health Professionals, band — the list goes on and on,” said Tiger. “At the elementary level, you don’t have as many activities like they do at the high school, so I’m really looking forward to encouraging and supporting the students and seeing them grow in those areas.”

Tiger emphasizes parent involvement in student education and was renowned at LLE for creating innovative ways to engage families.

For example, Tiger worked with the LLE school resource officer to create T.I.G.E.R. Dads this past school year. This is a program where dads can volunteer to help provide security at school events.

“It’s based on an organization created several years ago in Arkansas called Watchdog Dads. A lot of the father figures and male role models are looking for ways to get involved but don’t really know how, so this gives them a way to do that,” said Tiger. “I think that’s a program that works really well at an elementary level, but I would like to find additional ways to get families engaged in what we’re doing at the high school level.”

Tiger also experimented with podcasting at LLE to keep parents informed about school activities and happenings.

“That’s definitely one thing I would like to continue as I go to LLHS because I want to highlight the great things going on at the high school level while keeping families in the loop.”

At LLHS, Tiger says one of his goals is to collaborate with parents on family engagement and what they would like to see there.

“I want to make sure all our families have this sense that they are a part of LLHS, that they do have a voice and place,” said Tiger. “I just want to be able to give everybody opportunities to be able to participate in what we’re doing and get them engaged in their students’ education.”

In addition, Tiger says he hopes to have an effect on the overall culture of LLHS and have it be a place where students and staff like to be.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Tiger. “I know there’s going to be some challenges, but overall I’m super excited about going up there and being a part of that community.”

According to LLS media liaison Sidney Olivas, previous LLHS principal Paul Carder will be moving to Valencia High School as an assistant principal. Carder could not be reached for comment.

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Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.