LOS LUNAS — Matthew Pendrak, previously the assistant principal of Los Lunas Elementary, is passionate about LLE and leading the school as its new principal.

Matthew Pendrak
New Los Lunas Elementary principal

Pendrak found something special when he became a part of LLE and says the tight-knit community feels like family.

“It’s a very positive culture,”said Pendrak about LLE. “We’ve got our problems, like every school does, but I really feel like we have something special going on here.”

Before joining the Los Lunas Schools district, Pendrak was a music teacher in Amherst, N.Y., specializing in string instruments. He taught there for 21 years and served as director of orchestral activities and music department chairman.

“I started doing some administrative stuff during my teaching career and I always loved it, so I decided to do an online (administration) program through the University of Kansas and that’s where it really took off,” said Pendrak of his interest in school administration.

Pendrak replaces previous LLE principal Eric Tiger, who is now the principal of Los Lunas High School. He said learning he got the role of principal was probably one of the top moments in his life.

“I really, really wanted this and really felt like I could do a good job,” said Pendrak. “I can honestly say this is the best job I’ve ever had.”

Pendrak said going into the new year, he is looking forward to working with students and staff to advance the mission of Los Lunas Elementary.

Photo courtesy of Los Lunas Elementary
Los Lunas Elementary unveiled the new inflatable Tiger Tunnel July 27 at the open house. The Tiger Tunnel was purchased using funds raised by the annual Color Run event. Principal Pendrak welcomed families and students to the school.

“We have a very strong vision here of what we want for our kids, and I’m excited to lead us into that to make school an experience that not only makes students smarter, but turns them into the people they never thought they could be, but all of us as teachers, parents and administrators always knew they were capable of.”

Pendrak says he is thankful to everyone involved for the opportunity to lead LLE.

Deborah Elder, the district’s chief academic officer of instruction, accountability and innovation, says Pendrak has established himself as a competent and foresighted leader in his time at LLE.

“His communication and follow-through are appreciated by staff, students, families and colleagues,” said Elder. “I am confident that Mr. Pendrak will be an excellent leader for LLE.”

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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.