Desert Mesa's first principal retires

She opened the school in 1998

Mrs Baumgarner retires

YUMA, Ariz. - In tonight, "Making a Difference," we are highlighting a woman who has spent almost half a century educating and caring for kids in Yuma county. Her name is Mrs. Eula Baumgarner and she is the principal at Desert Mesa elementary school. She has made a difference in the lives of children and teachers all over Yuma and now it's time to honor her as she gets ready to retire.  

"I am the only principal desert mesa has ever had."

That is true as Eula Baumgarner opened Desert Mesa elementary school in Yuma in 1998 and after 20 years with the school and decades of teaching in Yuma county, she is retiring this June.

"Mrs. Baumgarner started it from the ground up. I mean we walked through when it was just metal studs around the building," said Charlene Roche, Desert Mesa Kindergarten Teacher. 

Being a native of Yuma, teaching has always been in her family.

'You know I cant remember ever not wanting to be a teacher. My mother was a teacher and that's just what I wanted to do," said Baumgarner.

With her trusty sidekick, Grace by her side, she walks the halls of Desert Mesa knowing every students name.

"She's always so nice and kind and comforting. You can always go talk to her about anything and give her a hug and she'll always know your name, whenever you're walking down the hall. I've known her for so long, it's like she is in my family," said 5th grade student Abraham Ochoa. 

Part of the reason, Mrs. Baumgarner connects with her kids so much is because of her involvement in their lives. Whenever it's a students birthday or a student does a good deed, Mrs. Baumgarner offers to have lunch with them, entitled "Lunch with the Queen" and she doesn't shy away from dressing the part. 

" 'Lunch with the Queen' is when they earn it with doing good deeds throughout the school and they may choose eating with her and getting a warm chocolate chip cookie or they can pick a prize," said Roche.

In April, in honor of her work, Desert Mesa will be throwing a retirement celebration for her. 

On April 25th, we hope that all of our past parents and students from Desert Mesa will come and help us celebrate. Mrs. Baumgarner is going to retire after 48 years with district one," said Roche. 

When asked what Desert Mesa means to her, this is what Principal Baumgarner had to say.

This is my home. My family. I come here at seven o'clock in the morning and go home at seven o'clock at night. These students are not just students, they're like my kids. 

The retirement celebration for Mrs. Baumgarner will take place from 5 to 7pm at the Post Auditorium (400 W 5th St, Yuma, AZ 85364)  on April 25th. If you want to be apart of the festivities, please visit their Facebook page at "Eula Baumgarner's Retirement Celebration" and you can also email:

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