Amador parents, staff, students create wish list for new principal | April 19, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - April 19, 2013

Amador parents, staff, students create wish list for new principal

District looks to hire three to replace departing principals

by Glenn Wohltmann

Parents of Amador Valley High School students want a principal who can balance being an administrator and still be personable with students.

And someone who'll stick around, too.

Those were a few of the comments at an April 11 meeting with parents as the district looks to find a replacement for Principal Jim Hansen, who's retiring at the end of the school year.

Among the other comments from the handful of parents who showed up was that they want someone who has experience with the struggles of high school students.

"I think the challenges of a high school principal are very different than middle school," one woman said, pointing out that students in upper grades have to deal more with issues that include drugs and suicide.

Parents also want a principal who will work more collaboratively with the community -- and with the district's other high school. Foothill High's Principal John Dwyer is leaving at the end of the year, too, to take a job as principal at Lynbrook High in west San Jose.

The parents at the meeting also want a principal who'll be supportive of programs like band and boosters.

"I would just like them to look past the dollar amount that they take," one mom said. She said her son, a band member, would often go to the band room during the day for "the safe place it creates."

Parents also want someone who's familiar with Common Core State Standards -- the new nationwide standard for learning -- and will pay attention to coming trends.

"I'd like to see what best practices are around the world," one parent said, with another adding that she'd like to have the new principal pay attention to students with special needs.

Amador students also had the chance to weigh in on what they hope for in a new principal. They want someone who's open minded and in touch with them, someone who'll be at school events, and someone who'll maintain the school's reputation and integrity, something parents want as well.

Both students and parents want the new principal to understand that the school is becoming more ethnically diverse and to be sensitive to issues that arise from the change.

The district has already advertised for new principals at both schools, as well as advertising for a principal to replace Pleasanton Middle School Principal John Whitney, who is also retiring.

"Certainly it's a little unusual at this time of year to have this many principalships," said Bill Faraghan, one of the administrators who held the meeting for parents.

He said the district has already passed the application deadline. The pool, which could hit 100 applicants, will be winnowed to about 10, the maximum that can be interviewed in a single day. Applicants will be interviewed by a team of parents, teachers and staff, as well as by a separate group of administrators.

A final recommendation is expected to be forwarded to the school board, probably by May, Faraghan said.

Foothill will hold a parents' meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 25; its students and staff will also be asked what they want in a principal.


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