From the Principal

Welcome to University Park Elementary!


June 2018

Hello UPark Families, Staff, and Friends,

I am so excited to be University Park’s next principal. My journey to becoming your principal has taken me through several schools, in two different states over 18 years. I’d like to take a few moments to share with you a little about myself and how I got here.

My wife Lisa and I are the proud parents of two little ones. Sophie is our red headed four-year old, who loves ponies, princesses, and Johnny Cash. Hunter is our two-year old who can break into any cabinet in the house and has developed very strong opinions about just about everything at a very young age. I absolutely love being a dad! There’s a lot of laughing, singing, and playing at our house.

As for me, I was born and raised in the small town of Douglas, Arizona on the Arizona – Mexico border. I lived there until the age of 15, when my family moved to Phoenix. From there, I attended college at Northern Arizona University (NAU) earning a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in 1997. After volunteering in my mom’s classroom on my days off from my first journalism job, I realized that teaching was my true calling. So, I went back to school.

My first year of teaching was spent trying my best to educate 20 kindergartners. They kept me on my toes to say the least. The next nine years, I truly found my home in fifth grade with a couple of years teaching sixth grade sprinkled in to keep things interesting. I graduated with my master’s degree in educational leadership from NAU in 2010. I took my first assistant principal job in 2012.

We moved to Colorado in 2015, deciding to set up our own family roots right between my hometown of Phoenix and Lisa’s hometown of St. Louis. Amazingly, Denver is a twelve-and-a-half-hour drive from both cities. Our road trips to see family in either direction are always fun, but the drive home is even better. We absolutely love Colorado!

I’ve been the assistant principal at Swansea Elementary School for the past three years, learning and growing alongside some truly amazing DPS teachers and leaders. During my time at Swansea I led to empower students to become leaders and to develop self-agency in their learning. I plan to continue that work as UPark’s next principal, leading to engage and empower our community of mighty thinkers and doers.

I am looking forward to meeting all of our wonderful UPark students, staff, and families in the coming weeks and months. Feel free to email me anytime if you have any questions or would just like to say hello. I am excited to begin our work together!

Eric Atonna, Principal at University Park