Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) today announced that Alice Braden, principal of Desert Sage Academy, SFPS’ online school, has resigned effective February 18th. Ms. Braden has led Desert Sage since its transformation to an online learning school in July 2020, providing new and reimagined learning opportunities for students. Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez named Michael Granado, associate principal for the Senior Class of 2022 at Santa Fe High School (SFHS), to serve as principal for the remainder of the school year.
“We greatly thank Principal Braden for her leadership and creativity in nurturing Desert Sage Academy during a period of significant growth. The school has prospered under her leadership, serving over 400 students in grades K-12. Through it all, she has maintained a small school setting that allows staff to build strong relationships with students and better identify and support individual student needs,” said Superintendent Chavez.
Of Granado’s appointment, Superintendent Chavez said, “Mr. Granado brings critical expertise in systems, communication, structure and building relationships that is essential as Desert Sage’s enrollment continues to grow.” The school’s enrollment has grown rapidly in the 2021-2022 school year and now stands at 433. He added that over his career, Mr. Granado has had extensive experience in school leadership, having held four principal positions in Texas and New Mexico.
Granado said, “I've always had a dual career as a soldier and public school educator and have dedicated my life to serving others in both fields for over 30 years. I am grateful to the district leadership for providing me the privileged opportunity to serve our students, parents and teachers here in beautiful Santa Fe! And now I once again thank them for allowing me to serve as the principal of Desert Sage Academy where I can provide students and families a smaller community environment from which to learn!"
Known as “Mr. G” by his students, Granado joined the SFHS administrative team in 2016 as the ninth-grade associate principal. His experience includes serving in multiple administrative positions, including four principalships, teaching middle school and creating and operating an alternative learning program to reduce middle school student expulsions.
Granado was recognized by the Tarrant County Council in Fort Worth as a Hispanic of the 90's for his sustained work with Hispanics and students of various underrepresented communities and by Congresswoman Kay Granger for his work with middle school youth. For his work with Hurst Euless Bedford Consolidated schools in Texas he received the Partners in Education Award for helping elementary students create mini-libraries at two apartment complexes. He was also recognized by the State of Texas for work with at-risk communities and youth, receiving a flag of Texas that flew over the Texas Capitol.
He served two one-year combat tours in Afghanistan, where he trained the Afghanistan National Army and helped secure the country's first free elections. He also served as a military advisor and contractor in Iraq, providing safety and security defense for soldier and civilian bases throughout the country.
At SFHS, he oversaw the underclassmen classes and re-ignited the Summer Bridge Orientation program designed to welcome and help incoming freshmen adjust to high school and created two leadership programs at SFHS: the Student Leadership & Advisory Council and the Senior Mentorship Program. Both were recognized by the County of Santa Fe last year for helping build positive and connective relationships with struggling students.
Granado graduated summa cum laude from Texas Southmost College (now the University of Texas) in Brownsville, where he was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, and holds an associate degree in liberal arts from Texas Southmost College and a criminal justice degree from the University of Texas, Arlington. He is a graduate of the Texas Women's University Educational Leadership Program and U.S. Sergeants Major Academy in El Paso.
Granado is married to Borislava Granado, who is from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They have a daughter, Dora Granado, who is a 9th grade student at SFHS.