By Maddy PUMILIA
It was announced that Wendy Sinnette would become the new La Cañada Unified School District superintendent after current superintendent Jim Stratton retires after six years at the job.
“I was very pleased and honored,” Sinnette said about being named superintendent. “Jim Stratton has done an outstanding job as superintendent. He set the standard for performance very high and I will work diligently to maintain and further his legacy.”
Sinnette said she was determined to meet the needs and expectations of the governing board, parents, students, teachers and the classified support staff.
The newly appointed superintendent said she wanted to continue Stratton’s trend of being transparent through communication with all involved with the district. She plans to achieve this through newspaper articles, discussions at parents’ meetings, open discussion at Governing Board meetings or special discussions like the Town Hall meeting on the budget.
“I want the La Cañada Unified School District to be able to maintain its stellar instructional programs, as well as the extensive art, music, drama and athletic programs which it currently offers,” said Sinnette. “Given the current economic crisis within the state of California, that will take vision, determination and the support of the entire community.”
Additionally, La Cañada is facing a period of declining enrollment. Sinnette plans to continue watching the demographic trends because the district’s funding is based on enrollment. Currently, La Cañada High School has 23 CIF sports teams as well as extensive art, orchestra, band, and drama programs – all of which require healthy student numbers to flourish.
Sinnette is working on goal setting to strategically meet the challenges of her upcoming position.
She officially becomes superintendent on Aug. 1. The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board announced she would become superintendent in January.
Sinnette came to the school district in the 2002-2003 school year. She worked as principal of Palm Crest, then as principal of La Cañada High School 7/8. She was appointed to assistant superintendent of Human Resources. In that role, she was in charge of contract negotiations with both of the district’s labor associations. She also supported principals in the ongoing evaluation and professional development outreach with staff members, oversaw district health services and the recruitment and hiring of certificated and classified staff. She held the post of assistant superintendent for three years.
“I’m going to take the lead. I’m prepared,” Sinnette said.
“She’s a great choice,” said Don Voss, a La Cañada councilman, said. “I’m delighted that the school district had someone so great on staff.”
“I think it’s great,” agreed Pat Anderson, president and CEO of the La Cañada Chamber of Commerce. “She’s got a proven track record and tremendous administrative skills. She’s known as a quite a diplomat. You need that in a position like that.”