By Mary O’KEEFE
For years Crescenta Valley High School and Linda Evans has been synonymous. First she was a student, then a graduate, of CVHS. She was there when The Doors performed at the high school. She later returned as a teacher and then principal. On the first day of school Evans, walkie-talkie in hand, could be seen rushing throughout the school’s campus answering questions, instructing students on what line they should be in and helping in the book room on occasion. But this year Michele Doll will take up that first day dance as Evans finishes out her final days before retirement at the district’s office.
Evans has spent 36 years in the education field. She became co-principal of CVHS in 1998 and the sole principal in 2006. During her tenure at the school she has piloted a steady growth in both state testing scores and students in Advanced Placement courses. There is also an increase in those students taking and passing the AP tests. These increases and the growing reputation of CVHS being a top rated school is not something that just happened but was planned and orchestrated by Evans and her staff.
“It is about working in concert with department chairs with an expectation of college preparedness,” Evans said. “In 1995 we had 295 AP tests given. In 2010 we had 1783.”
Evans said she is proud of what her staff and the students have accomplished. It is that staff and those students she will miss most. She decided it was time to retire because so many of the teachers she had been with since beginning at the school had taken the retirement package offered by the district.
She said it was a good time to bow out but she will not be too far away. She is a La Crescenta resident and her husband will continue to coach track at the high school.
Evans has left a legacy of success for the school. She has coined the phrase “A to G bus.” Students who want to go on to a four year college in California must fulfill the A to G requirements, a series of classes in a variety of areas. Like the age old question of the chicken or the egg, it is difficult to tell if students were the ones who wanted to first raise the bar to compete for college positions or Evans’ expectation that all students could achieve college entrance. The results have had more students going to both four-year and junior colleges and the school listed on Newsweek’s top 5% of high schools in the nation.
“Students are under more academic pressures than [in the past]. The bar they must reach [for college] is much higher,” Evans said. “More parents want their children to go to college. In reality my job is to help students meet those expectations so they have multiple options.”
She realizes the increasing demands on students academically and is proud of her students going beyond the academic to volunteerism and clubs.
“It is always important to keep every student connected. Some thrive in these clubs,” Evans said.
Volunteerism is very important at CVHS. Students are required to serve at least 10 hours of community service during their four years at the school. Most go far beyond that number with many reaching 100 hours. This achievement is rewarded with a gold medal seniors wear around their neck at graduation.
“In 2009 our students performed 55,551 hours of volunteer time,” she said.
She will still be active in her community after she retires in November and will still be at the games and track meets.
“It has been an honor to [serve as principal].”