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Newport-Mesa Announces new Staff
Posted 7/15/21


Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) is pleased to announce the selection of Ms. Elke Day and Ms. Carolyn Hunter as Coordinators of Special Education; Ms. Samantha Payne as Principal of Ensign Intermediate; and Mr. Todd Hatfield as Director of Nutrition Services.

Elke Day

Ms. Elke Day, Coordinator, Special Education

Ms. Elke Day was selected as a Coordinator, Special Education and joined NMUSD on July 2, 2021. Ms. Elke Day has more than 22 years of experience in special education.

Ms. Day joins us from the Garden Grove Unified School District where she served as a program supervisor supporting programs in elementary, middle, and secondary schools before taking on the role of program supervisor of their preschool assessment center. 

The work with the preschool assessment center focused on creating the assessment system supporting children, birth to five years in age. Through this work, she provided leadership, guidance and fostered district-wide collaboration among assessment teams that included school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, education specialists, interpreters, and school nurses.

Ms. Day’s teaching experience spans preschool through second grade. She is described as reliable, hardworking, knowledgeable, and dedicated to supporting all students. 

Ms. Day obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from George Washington University, and Master of Arts in Science in Education from Western Oregon University. 

Carol Hunter

Ms. Carolyn Hunter, Coordinator, Special Education

Ms. Carolyn Hunter was also selected as a Coordinator, Special Education, starting July 14, 2021. Ms. Hunter has more than 15 years of experience in education. 

Most recently serving the Westminster School District as director of student services for the past seven years. In this role, Ms. Hunter’s responsibilities included the coordination and guidance of the special education services throughout the district. She participated in due process hearings; mediation and monitored student placement procedures; assisted in developing and formulating district policy; coordinated and led parent training; managed staff professional development activities. 

Prior to her current administration role, Ms. Hunter served as a school psychologist for several years. She is recognized as well organized, approachable, and a strong communicator.

Ms. Hunter obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach, and Master of Arts in School Psychology from Alliant International University, Irvine. 

“We are thrilled to have Ms. Day and Ms. Hunter join our team” said Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Dr. Sara Jocham. “Their collaborative leadership dedicated to supporting students with special needs, their families, and school sites through their work in special education will serve our communities well,” she said.

Samantha Payne

Ms. Samantha Payne, Ensign Intermediate Principal

Ms. Payne has been with NMUSD for almost 20 years, serving as a teacher at the middle school level for 14 years, and for the past 4 years as assistant principal at Corona del Mar High School (CdMHS), as well as one year as assistant principal of Ensign Intermediate.

As assistant principal of CdMHS, Ms. Payne supported students beyond the educational program and fostered positive school culture, and implemented sustainable programs, such as Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports and restorative practices, the Challenge Success program, and academic interventions and supports for students.

Ms. Payne not only understands the middle school child, she also has a strong instructional background. She has spearheaded staff professional development, overseen testing and curriculum, and served as an instructional coach and formal mentor for many teachers. Supporting the middle school and high school level for many years, Ms. Payne also recognizes the importance of school activities. She served as the coordinator of the Performing Arts and Multimedia Academy (PAMA) at CdMHS for five years.  

“Ms. Payne’s knowledge of the community and district, her belief in the importance of the middle school years, and her ability to listen and problem-solve to connect with students, staff, and parents will provide strong leadership for the Ensign community,” said Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education, Ms. Kerrie Torres. 

Ms. Payne received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Arizona State University and her Masters of Science in Administration from Pepperdine University. 

Dr. Jennifer Fox, Interim Ensign principal will be moving to the high school level and will serve as an assistant principal at Newport Harbor High School. Ms. Bonnie Hinton will continue in the role of assistant principal at Ensign.

Todd Hatfield

Mr. Todd Hatfield, Director of Nutrition Services

Mr. Todd Hatfield has been with NMUSD for nearly 20 years, serving as an accounting supervisor and for the past eight years as coordinator of nutrition services. 

As coordinator of nutrition services, Mr. Hatfield was responsible for supervising and managing the elementary school cafeterias, central kitchen and nutrition services warehouse, and summer meal programs. He is very knowledgeable in compliance with local, state and federal regulations and  has provided leadership and guidance in the planning and development of menus and recipes to ensure compliance while also incorporating the desires of district students and families.

Additionally, Mr. Hatfield was instrumental in supporting the nutrition services department throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that meals continued to be provided for all students. Mr. Hatfield is known as a responsive, collaborative and supportive leader who is dedicated to the students and families of NMUSD.

“We are excited to have Mr. Hatfield in this role,” said Assistant Superintendent of Elementary, John Drake. “He is a proven leader that values collaboration and systems that focus on the best outcomes for the Newport-Mesa community,” he said.

Mr. Hatfield received his Bachelor of Science and his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Long Beach.