Midway Independent School District named Woodgate Intermediate School Principal Aaron Peña as its new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, the district announced Tuesday.

Peña has worked for Midway since 2011, first as principal of Woodway Elementary School, according to a press release. He became principal of Woodgate Intermediate School in 2017.

“Dr. Aaron Peña is diligent in his practice and committed to the profession,” Midway Superintendent George Kazanas said in the press release. “What stands out most is his work ethic and passion for students and teachers.”

Peña’s 20 years of teaching and leadership experience include “an impressive track record of service at the elementary and secondary levels in both urban and suburban school settings,” the press release states.

“He has a particular talent for transforming academic performance of campuses,” Kazanas wrote. “I’m excited to see how his ability to impact a campus can be amplified across the district.”

Peña received his bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University and his master’s in education management from the University of Houston Clear Lake. He earned his doctoral degree and superintendent certification from the University of Texas at Austin.

Peña has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the H-E-B Excellence in Education Texas Principal of the Year in 2015 and the Texas Association of School Administrators’ Johnny Veselka Award in 2016. He was also honored as a “top finalist” for the 2019 National Distinguished Principal award by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association.

“In addition to exceptional leadership qualities, Dr. Peña is bilingual, a dedicated family man, and a lifelong learner,” Kazanas wrote.

Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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