PORTLAND, Maine — Portland public schools last week announced the appointments of Terrance Young as principal of Longfellow Elementary School and Suellyn Santiago as principal of Lincoln Middle School.

Both administrators will start work in July.

Young, 46, has served for the past eight years as principal of the C.K. Burns School, a Saco school for grades three through five. He previously served as an assistant principal in the Auburn public schools and taught in the classroom for 10 years.

The Massachusetts native studied political science at the University of Massachusetts and earned a master’s degree in teaching from Boston University.

Young, who will replace Dawn Carrigan, said he is looking forward to returning to a K-5 school with a smaller student body, and working in Portland, where he lives. And despite Longfellow’s strong reputation — it received an A grade from the state the past two years — he said every school has room for improvement.

“Schools are living, breathing organizations, and they always need to change and adapt and grow and improve,” Young said. “There may be some areas where Longfellow can grow that haven’t been explored.”

Santiago, 38, is completing a one-year stint as assistant principal at Hall Elementary School. Prior to that, she worked at Lincoln Middle School for 16 years — five as assistant principal and 11 as a teacher. She studied psychology at Mount Holyoke College and holds a master’s degree in school administration from the University of Southern Maine. She will replace Steve Nolan.

Santiago said her familiarity with Lincoln’s faculty, staff and student body will be an asset in her first job as a principal. The Portland High School graduate said she will try to boost parent involvement and increase opportunities for service learning. Most importantly, Santiago said, she wants to focus on student achievement, and math, in particular, where Lincoln students have struggled.

In interviews this week, both Young and Santiago stressed the need for their schools to engage students in ways beyond traditional lectures.

“While we’re still working toward common core standards, we want to make learning meaningful and not completely textbook-driven, or isolated to just the classroom walls,” Santiago said.

“These two transformational leaders bring a wealth of talent and expertise to their new positions,” Superintendent of Schools Emmanuel Caulk said in a news release. “They will work in partnership with teachers, parents and students to provide the best possible education for our children.”