By Mary O’KEEFE
Tonight at 6 p.m. Lincoln Elementary School parents will attend a meeting none of them wanted to occur. They will be asked to share their opinion concerning the qualities needed for replacing beloved principal Bill Card.
On June 16 the school staff and parents were told that Card was leaving their school to assume the reins at Toll Middle School in Glendale.
“It was a surprise in a lot of ways,” Card said of the reaction from the Lincoln family.
A position had become available at Toll after principal Paula Nelson accepted a position on the administrative staff at Glendale Unified School District.
“Dr. [Richard] Sheehan [GUSD superintendent] has to look at the district as a whole and see what would be best,” Card said.
Card told his students of his move at an assembly, which included both upper and lower grades, on the last day of school Thursday.
Students were released at 12:30 p.m. and Card, as is his normal practice, was outside saying goodbye. The difference this time was the goodbye was not just for the summer.
“Some were very sad and others wished [me well],” Card said. “It was a sad goodbye.”
Card began his career at GUSD in 1979 as the band director at Crescenta Valley High School. He left the district for a while to work as principal at two middle schools, one in Upland the other in Monrovia. He returned to GUSD as the public information director in 2000. He became Lincoln’s principal in September of 2006.
Dr. John Garcia, deputy superintendent, said he understands the feeling of loss for the Lincoln school but is excited for the new opportunity for Card.
Garcia met was to meet with Lincoln staff on Friday to discuss the qualities they feel are needed to fill the principal position.
“We will be with the parents sometime next week to discuss with them [the same qualities question],” Garcia said.
He added that Card will be a great addition to Toll and will continue to grow their state test scores.
Many thought that Card was a perfect fit for Lincoln students, parents and teachers. His energy and simple enjoyment of being at Lincoln was evident at every event.
“We learned from each other,” Card said of the parent/principal relationship. “I can’t tell you how much of a great experience this has been for me.”
The former CVHS band director said it was nice to be back in the area, and to see parents who used to be his students bring their kids to Lincoln.
“There was one couple that met at band [while he was teaching]. They’re married and now have children at Lincoln,” Card added.
When asked what would be the qualities he thought was most important of his successor Card said, “To have a love for the people and an understanding of the place.”
The district administration has sent out a notice to all principals within Glendale of the opening at Lincoln. If a suitable candidate does not apply they will open it to the rest of the district and later outside the district if necessary.
“We would like to hire from within our district,” Garcia said.
The plan is to have a new Lincoln principal by the July 21 school board meeting.