By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Who says you can’t go home again? USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital CEO Keith Hobbs proved that the adage is indeed false when he headed back to his alma mater, Crescenta Valley High School, last month as Principal for a Day.
According to the GUSD website, the Principal for a Day program strives to educate and enlighten community leaders about the Glendale schools, giving guests a taste of what it’s like to manage the complexities of a school campus. Visitors have the opportunity to test their management abilities and styles in problem-solving situations commonly faced at a public school.
Over 600 of the most active community leaders from Glendale and the foothills have participated in Principal for a Day. Guest principals have represented more than 40 professions, ranging from banking and hospital management to law and community service.
Hobbs, who graduated from CVHS in 1984, was invited by current principal Dr. Linda Junge when Hobbs visited the school last year not long after he took over the reins as CEO at USC-VHH.
“I was aware of the [Principal for a Day] program when the principal invited me to participate. [During a tour of the school] she said, ‘Hey would you be interested in being a principal for the day at CV?” said Hobbs.
Though much was the same since he walked the halls as a student, Hobbs said that much had changed too – especially in the implementation of technology found in many of the classrooms.
“The flight simulators [used by JROTC] were incredible,” he said.
Other changes around the campus involved the students themselves.
He had the chance to chat informally with some in the campus quad during morning snack.
“It was a mixed bag of students who I talked to during snack,” he said, “but they were all familiar with Dr. Junge and knew she was a good principal.”
Junge had also arranged for a more intimate conversation with Associated Student Body members.
“I knew that Dr. Junge and I had talked about speaking with students so I knew I was going to a couple of classes – ASB classes – for some Q&A,” he said. “The theme that week was compassion, so our dialogue centered around that topic.”
The subject of leadership also came up in the discussion with the students, prompting an offer by the CEO to allow students to shadow him for the day.
“I’m always thinking how can the hospital be a part of the community,” said Hobbs. “I’ve always been involved in leadership and really felt a connection with my alma mater. I want to move forward as CEO to further engage our local schools to find an active way to be a part of the school.”
Hobbs reflected on his time as a CVHS Falcon and how pleased he was to see the school’s former football coach (and principal) Ken Biermann at the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce where Biermann is a board member. Hobbs has also become a board member.
“That was a highlight, seeing Mr. Biermann,” said Hobbs. “I’ve always had the utmost respect for him.”
He added that he thought
his time at CV taught him skills that he carried into his career.
“There was a class that I took in public speaking at CV,” Hobbs said. “That professor drew out from me the ability to solidify my thoughts. That class changed my life.”