From the Principal

Mascot in the classroom

Welcome to University Park Elementary!

Hello UPark Families, Staff, and Friends,

I am so excited about the upcoming school year and look forward to working with our amazing staff, students, and community. I’d like to take a few moments to share with you a little bit about me, my family, and my educational journey.

My wife Lisa and I are the proud parents of two little ones. Sophie is our red-haired five-year old, who loves Johnny Cash, unicorns, and creating some very unique desserts for us all by herself. Hunter is our three-year old who loves trains, pretending to drive my 67 Mustang, and spends much of the day pretending to be a dog. I absolutely love being a dad! There’s a lot of laughing, singing, and playing at our house.

Principal Atonna headshot

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 to get my teaching degree in 2000.

I spent the next eleven years teaching kindergarten, fifth grade and sixth grade before becoming an assistant principal in 2012. I joined Team DPS in 2015 as the Assistant Principal at Swansea Elementary School and we moved our family to Colorado that summer.

At UPark we seek to empower each student to be an active participant on a personal journey towards success. That empowerment was highlighted in a very special way for me last school year as I had my first chance to listen to a group of our kindergartners share their dreams for the future during kinder bridging. That same week each of our fifth graders delivered a continuation speech telling teachers and parents about their UPark journey and sharing their dreams for the future. Listening to students at both ends of the UPark educational journey highlighted for me just how much students grow as learners and as people during their journey with us. 

The UPark journey is one that will guide future success for each of our learners. We will continue to empower every UPark student each and every year to be an active participant on a personal journey towards success. As our vision states, we seek to understand ourselves and work together to impact our community and the world! Our teachers not only prepare our students for the jobs of the future, but to create the jobs of the future. I am so thrilled to lead our community of mighty thinkers and doers!

Eric Atonna, Principal at University Park