Enjoying Their Time as Principal for a Day

Photo by Bill CARD Spencer Walch stands under the sign at Lincoln Elementary School welcoming him as the school’s Principal for a Day.

By Brandon HENSLEY and Jason KUROSU

Spencer Walch, who usually spends his time as a “tax attorney, or wrangling my kids,” was placed in a decidedly different role for one particular Wednesday, along with around 30 other members of the community. This was because Feb.16 was the 19th Annual Principal for a Day, an event sponsored by the Glendale Educational Foundation, which gives community members a taste of what it’s like to work within the school system. Over 550 Glendale citizens have participated in Principal for a Day since its inception.

For Walch, it was “instructive, seeing things from the principal’s vantage point.” With two children attending Lincoln Elementary, Walch seemed a good fit from the start and passed the day with flying colors. When asked how Walch fared, Lincoln Principal (for more than a day) Bill Card said, “Oh, I give him an A-plus any day of the week.”

Card escorted Walch during his one and only stint as principal, giving him a tour of sorts of the school, taking
him to several classrooms. Walch’s classroom visits included a visit to a sixth grade class and a kindergarten class in which he read students a story.

Walch and Card also discussed some future building projects in the works for Lincoln, including a sitting area and a history center, which will feature information about the school’s 80 year history. Afterwards, Walch and his fellow principals for the day convened at the GUSD building for a luncheon and “commencement.” There they shared their experiences as principals before each other and before members of the school district.

Walch’s estimation of his time as principal was a simple, but sweet one.

“It was fantastic.”

Over at CV High School, it was a walk down memory lane for 1999 graduate Talar Melkonian Tchoboian.

Tchoboian specifically wanted to come back to her high school when she was chosen as a principal of the day. She spent the morning taking a tour of the campus and discussed current events with first-year CV principal Michele Doll, including increased student performance on testing and how to further increase proficiency rates.

“The school is definitely is good hands,” said Tchoboian. “Dr. Doll mentioned how well the school is doing academically. It was the same I believe when I graduated as well.”

Doll, who was principal at Rosemont the past two years, said it’s always fun to have a day like this.

“It’s a nice way for people from the community to come in and see what we do here at a high school,” she said. “There’s also an instructional component, there’s interaction with kids and staff, there’s problem solving. I kind of explained it like we run a little city here.”

After CV, Tchoboian graduated from Cal-State L.A. and then obtained a master’s from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development. She is currently a counselor for adults with disabilities.

In the 12 years since she left, the campus has undergone numerous changes, including a new library, a new gym, and a different looking quad. Tchoboian still remembers the old quad with the (still) popular tree wells that students used to hang out and eat lunch by.

But that wasn’t all they were used for.

“[Students] would go and buy goldfish and then when it was raining the water would rise [in the wells] and they would fill it with goldfish,” she said.

Oh, to be a CV student in the 1990s. But that wasn’t all that was going on in Tchoboian’s time. During her four years at CV, the baseball team won the Southern Section Division I title at Dodger Stadium. Michelle Greco was the dominating women’s basketball player, having gone on to a career at UCLA and the WNBA. The band Eve 6 also got started at CV in the late 90s.

Tchoboian’s prom was held on a boat in Marina Del Rey. The theme was, fittingly, “Party like it’s 1999.”

Tchoboian was happy to talk about some the teachers she remembered. Her favorite was former teacher Gary Keyes, who taught history and government.

“He was one of my favorites. I loved him,” Tchoboian said, who lives in Glendale with her husband.

Tchoboian was born in Lebanon and credited her education in the La Crescenta schools – she went to Dunsmore and Rosemont – as helping her become better at English.

She caught up with former basketball coach and current teacher Jim Smiley, who remembered many students in Tchoboian’s class.

“It really is an incredible feeling, coming back and remembering where we used to hang out,” she said. “Part of the school has changed but however so much of it has remained the same as well.”

Tchoboian said she loved the family atmosphere at CV, even though the student population kept growing.

“There were hardly any disputes, any fights,” she said. “It was definitely family oriented. La Crescenta itself, growing up in this community, has a special place in my heart.”

Tchoboian didn’t attend her 10-year reunion. But last week, she didn’t have to wait until 2019.

“Walking through the halls, for me, this is my reunion,” she said.