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Board selects three new principals

Educators will head up Bret Harte, Providencia and George Washington elementary schools.

May 17, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

CITY HALL — The Burbank Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday night to appoint three new principals to lead Bret Harte, Providencia and George Washington elementary schools.

Washington’s interim Principal Arlene Zenian will immediately assume control of the school, while newly named principals — Sheari Taylor at Bret Harte and Tom Kissinger at Providencia — will assume their positions July 1, Supt. Greg Bowman said.

“We have the opportunity with these three new appointments to continue to move our schools in the direction we’d like to be, which is continuing the improvement of student learning,” Bowman said. “Each one has a demonstrated history of working with parents and students and each one is very enthusiastic.”

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More than 30 applicants from around the state applied for the three positions, which was welcome news considering that layoffs and budget cuts at state schools have some California teachers considering a move away from financially strapped districts, Bowman said.

“People want to come here because of the good reputation of the district,” he said.

The opportunity for the new principals was created when Bret Harte Principal Diane Berger and Providencia Principal Terri Delgado announced they would retire in June and, in March, former Washington Elementary School Principal Jane Clausen accepted a position with the district as the coordinator of special education.

After narrowing the list of potential candidates, school board members and Bowman interviewed each one before settling on the three finalists.

Zenian student taught at Washington Elementary School before landing a teaching position at Emerson Elementary School in 1998. In 2003 she went back to Washington as the assistant principal. She served as the assistant principal there for the past five years until stepping in for Clausen.

“I’m very pleased,” she said. “There are lots of serious issues to get through and I know they are looking at me to lead.”

One of the primary challenges for Washington is dealing with the loss of about $200,000 in federal grant money, she said.

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