The Minneapolis School District is reaching into the ranks of South High School parents to fill a long-open principal post at the school.

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson announced Friday the appointment of Ray Aponte, who is a South parent two times over as well as an experienced elementary and middle school principal in several district schools.

The appointment was made about a month after the district's previously announced timetable, in part because additional candidates were interviewed.

The appointment fills the second major hole in the district's principal ranks. Rhonda Dean was named principal of Washburn High School last month. The district still has 10 other principal jobs it needs to fill, several of them vacancies created recently by promoting principals to district administrative posts.

Aponte has been principal at Northrop Environmental Learning Center, a pre-K-5 school cited for its academic record this school year by the Minnesota Department of Education. He spent 10 years at Jefferson, pre-K-8, and also has been a principal at Andersen, pre-K-8, and Waite Park, pre-K-5, schools. He has also been assistant principal at Northeast Middle School and Sheridan, which is pre-K-5.

Aponte has a son who just graduated from the high school and a daughter who will be a junior. He has a reputation as a principal who interacts easily with students. According to the district, he was named volunteer of the year by the city's park system in 2003.

The district created the South vacancy by elevating former principal, Cecilia Saddler, to associate superintendent. Willarene Beasley served as South's interim principal.

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