By Mary O’KEEFE
Monte Vista Elementary and Crescenta Valley High schools are searching for new principals.
After eight years, Dr. Susan Hoge is leaving Monte Vista to work at the EEELP (Early Extended Education Learning Program) at the Glendale district office.
For Hoge, this is returning to her roots. Before coming to Glendale, she worked as coordinator of children services in Pasadena, which is their EEELP department.
She said that since coming to Monte Vista there have been many changes and challenges, from the Station Fire to traffic issues.
“We have weathered fires and floods. We have pulled together as a community,” Hoge said.
The school has improved traffic safety with added crosswalks and sidewalks and making walkways more visible. The school also dealt with evacuations during the Station Fire and the subsequent floods.
Hoge said the school has made improvements in communication, especially via online options. During the evacuations in 2009, parents did not have access to their home phones, so the website played an important role in keeping information flowing.
“When I came here, I understood a little about technology but it was the staff that brought me along,” she said.
She said she would miss the staff.
“They are dedicated, hard working and are always willing to take on a challenge,” she said.
“[Dr. Hoge] is overseeing the child development program. She has a vast background in early childhood development and will be a tremendous asset to the [district],” said Dr. Dick Sheehan, superintendent of Glendale Unified School District.
A meeting for Monte Vista Elementary parents will be held on Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria to discuss the qualities parents would like in a new principal.
CVHS will also be looking for a new principal as Michele Doll takes on the position of director of GUSD Human Resources.
Doll has been at CVHS for three years. Before the high school, she served as principal at Rosemont Middle School. On Friday, Doll made the announcement to CVHS families via PhoneEd.
“I am sad,” she said of leaving.
The change is bittersweet – she is sad to be leaving CVHS but happy to be moving to the district.
“I will miss [CVHS],” Doll said. “[But Human Resources] is my dream job.”
Doll has seen the school through one of its toughest times with the tragic on-campus suicide in 2012. The recovery process has been difficult for the family of the victim, the students, staff and community. After a similar tragedy occurred at La Cañada High School, Doll contacted the school’s staff and offered help.
She has also seen the school’s successes with academic scores continuing to rise, girls’ water polo winning its first ever CIF championship in 2013, boys’ basketball going to CIF Division 1A for the second year in a row, baseball winning its second straight Pacific League title, CVHS Cycling Team taking the 2013 state championship, robotics making it to semi-finals in 2012 – just to mention a few successes.
“Michele has done a great job at CV and this is a great advancement in her career,” Sheehan said.
The search for a new principal begins immediately. The search will be conducted within and outside the district for a replacement and the district wants a new principal in place by July 1, Sheehan said.
Sheehan met with parents and community members at CVHS last night to discuss what qualities they want to see in the new principal.
“First, let me tell you the new principal will not be Cynthia Livingston,” Sheehan said. “She is happy at Rosemont.”
Sheehan was speaking about the principal of Rosemont Middle School, Dr. Cynthia Livingston who, to many parents, has the qualities they want in a principal. Both students and parents have bantered about her name as a possible candidate, however Sheehan made it clear – the Rosemont principal will stay at the middle school.
The qualities that were mentioned by the parents included someone who knows and understands the community, someone who will listen to students, who is tough enough to discipline students and teachers who do not follow the rules, and someone who will not use the position of principal as a stepping stone to a district job.
These are similar to the qualities students shared with Sheehan when he visited the Fire House youth center on Tuesday (shown at right). They added that they wanted a principal who respected what they had to say and one that was accessible.
A lot of the discussion with parents was about the community and the diversity of the school. Sheehan has gone through this process of filling a principal position before and was asked what qualities CV parents requested that were different from other schools. He said the common qualities of leadership, stability and support for students.
“What is unusual is wanting the principal to be from the community,” he said.
The parents clarified they did not need the principal to live in the community, although that would be an advantage, but they did want the principal to embrace what the community has to offer.
Applications are still being accepted from candidates both in and out of the district. Sheehan said if he does not find a qualified applicant, he would get an interim principal until they found the right person for the job. But the hope is that the selection process will be completed by the June 18 school board meeting and the new principal would be in place by July 1.
Parents on Wednesday and kids on Tuesday voiced concerns that the decision had already been made and the meetings were “feel good” sessions. Sheehan said the applications are still being processed and when the interviews begin, the comments made by the community will be taken into consideration.
As for how long the new principal will be with CVHS, Sheehan said he expects the person to be at the school for at least five years.
“Expectations are high [for principals]. It is a demanding job,” he said. “It’s like running your own little city.”
He spoke of the increased stress on high school principals, that it is not like it was in the past. A parent echoed that the stress has equally increased for students and hoped the new principal understood the pressures students face.
The meeting lasted a couple of hours and the parents left no quality unvoiced.