At a special board meeting tonight, the SVUSD Board of Trustees approved and announced some management changes beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. Dr. Stephen Pietrolungo, current principal of Simi Valley High School, will take on the position of principal at Monte Vista School. Monte Vista is the district’s independent study/homeschool program and it has seen steady enrollment growth over the last several years as some families seek more flexible education options while still following state curricular guidelines. Board President Dan White called Dr. Pietrolungo’s appointment “exciting,” and said that the growth of Monte Vista’s programs was a big part of the district’s overall strategy for growth in the future. By expanding the independent study programs offered through Monte Vista, the district hopes to see more increased enrollment. Currently the school is led by Dean May, who is also the principal of Apollo High School. May will remain as Apollo principal. Plans are also in place to relocated Monte Vista to the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School campus next year. Dr. Terri Leon, the current assistant principal at Royal High School, will be moved to Valley View Middle School as assistant principal. Under Deborah Salgado’s leadership at Royal, Dr. Leon oversaw the application and approval of Royal’s new International Baccalaureate Diploma School designation. Patti Myszkowski, the current assistant principal at Hillside Middle School, will assume Dr. Leon’s place at Royal. Nicole Perryman, the current principal of Abraham Lincoln Elementary School (which will be closing at the end of this school year) will become dean at Sinaloa Middle School. Dr. Jason Messinger, current dean, will be reassigned to a classroom next year at a school as yet to be determined. Stacy Walker, the current principal at Justin Elementary (which will be closing at the end of this school year) will be reassigned to a classroom next year at a school as yet to be determined.
BOARD REPORT: New Superintendent Named; Trustees Sworn In
From a new superintendent to new board members, there were many changes welcomed in from last night’s (Dec. 9) Simi Valley Unified School District School Board meeting.
Dr. Jason Peplinski, acting interim superintendent, was appointed by the board with a 4-1 vote (Trustee Debbie Sandland dissenting) to become the permanent district superintendent.
Dr. Peplinski began his teaching career in Lancaster, California, where he taught Spanish and led the choir at Quartz Hill High School. He came to Ventura County through Moorpark High School in 2000, where he taught Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish and served in several different leadership capacities.
The Simi Valley Unified School District welcomed Dr. Peplinski in 2004 when he accepted a job as the assistant principal of Royal High School. From there, he served as principal of Abraham Lincoln School in Simi (2007-2009), Moorpark High School in Moorpark (2009-2011) and then Santa Susana High School from 2011-2013.
In 2013, he accepted the position of Director of Educational Services at the district office. In 2014, he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. In October, Dr. Peplinski agreed to serve as the Interim District Superintendent, following the retirement of Dr. Kathryn Scroggin. A national search for a permanent superintendent was conducted and the Board of Trustees interviewed three other candidates in November.
Dr. Peplinski earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Central Michigan University in 1997, a Masters of Arts with Distinction in Educational Administration from CSUN in 2003 and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California Lutheran University in 2014. He also served as a Regent for the CLU board from 2012-14.
Two new school board members were sworn in at the meeting. Trustees Scott Blough and Bill Daniels won the two open school board seats at the November election. Trustee Arleigh Kidd did not run again and Trustee Jeanne Davis was defeated in the election.
Trustee Blough works in finance and Trustee Daniels is an officer with the Simi Valley Police Department. Both have children in Simi schools and have been active in other community efforts.
The annual reorganizational meeting for the board was also held tonight. Trustee Dan White was elected board president and Trustee Blough was elected as clerk of the board.
Brad Torti, one of the District’s four Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA), was named the new assistant principal of Santa Susana High School. Mr. Torti is a former Royal High School English Language Development teacher. He’s worked closely on the District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and several other related projects.
In other business, Assistant Superintendent Ron Todo presented the First Interim Fiscal report for the District, showing that the District is fiscally solvent for the next three years, as is required by the state. The entire report can be found HERE.
The Board took another step closer to closing and repurposing two schools by scheduling the public hearings required for the process. Abraham Lincoln Elementary School will have its public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. and Justin Elementary School’s hearing will be held on Thursday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. Both schools have been in declining enrollment for several years. Lincoln has 241 students and Justin has 216 students. Closing each school could save the District up to $250,000 each year for each school. Earlier this year, the Board voted to close Simi Elementary School, after the aging facility proved to have extensive repairs and renovations required for student use. Right now, a special committee is looking at options for using the property.
It’s a Sticky Situation But Somebody’s Gotta Do It!
How many rolls of duct tape does it take to adhere your principal to the wall?
About 19, if you’re Aldo Calcagno.
As principal of Arroyo Elementary School, Calcagno was asked if he would help inspire the students by becoming the reward for the PTA membership drive. If the students brought in at least 200 PTA members, Calcagno agreed to be taped to the wall.
“I tried to offer even more of an incentive by telling them they could tape me to the wall upside down if they doubled the membership goal,” he said.
He figured it would be hard enough for the kids to meet the goal since last year, the membership drive only brought in 82 people. But his students had other ideas.
Teacher Jennifer Johnston watched as her students cheered and chanted while Calcagno was secured to the wall, one strip at a time.
“The kids are really excited,” said the 5th/6th grade teacher. “I think he’s a really good sport. Based on last year, we didn’t think they’d reach (the goal).”
PTA President Jennifer Wade found the idea to tape the principal to a wall in a PTA magazine. It took five adults, including Wade, to tape Calcagno up in under an hour.
Tony Karch, principal of White Oak Elementary School, looked on as his friend slowly found himself locked into place. There might have been just a dash of worry in Karch’s eyes.
“I was in a dunking tank about a week ago, but that’s nowhere near as crazy as this,” he said.
More New Positions Announced
The Simi Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees met in a special session on Tuesday, May 27 to discuss appointments of several additional administrative positions throughout the District. Coming out of closed session, Board President Rob Collins confirmed the following new hires. They will be formally confirmed at the June 3 Regular Board Meeting.
- Ron Todo, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services
- Dr. Jason Peplinski, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
- Deborah Salgado, Director of Secondary Education
- Kathy Roth, Director of Elementary Education
- Keith Derrick, Principal of Royal High School
- Jamie Snodgrass (Teacher on Special Assignment), Erin Taggart (teacher from Crestview Elementary) and Nora Kuntz (Dean of Students at Hillside Middle School) have all been named as elementary principals, but which school that are each assigned to has not yet been decided.
Mr. Derrick comes from the San Marino Unified School District where he serves as the principal of San Marino High School.
New Positions Announced
The Simi Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees met in a special session on Tuesday, May 20 to discuss appointments of several administrative positions throughout the District. Coming out of closed session, Board President Rob Collins confirmed the hiring of Jerry Block, the current principal of Malibu High School (which is actually a grade 6 to 12 school) as the new principal of Hillside Middle School.
On Wednesday, Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Dan Houghton announced some of the changes in administrative leadership at some of the District’s campuses. The following is the current list of administrative assignments:
As the 2013-2014 school year nears its end, it is normal to welcome personnel changes throughout the Simi Valley Unified School District. This year, we proudly announce the appointments of the following administrators for the 2014-2015 school year.
- Cheri Toyen, the coordinator for the Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) program, will become a counselor at Hillside Middle School.
- Kate Snowden, currently the principal of Simi Elementary School, will replace Laura Tyre as the principal of Wood Ranch Elementary School. Laura Tyre is retiring.
- Michael Hall, currently the principal of Madera Elementary School, will replace Terry Webb as the principal of Valley View Middle School. Terry Webb is retiring.
- Debora Palmer, currently the principal of Justin Elementary School, will replace Michael Hall as the principal of Madera Elementary School.
- Anthony Karch, currently the principal of Park View Elementary School, will replace Dr. Sherrill Knox as the principal of White Oak Elementary School. Dr. Knox has accepted a position with the Ojai Unified School District.
- Laura Wellington, currently the principal of Hillside Middle School, will become principal at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.
- Jerry Block has been hired from outside the SVUSD to become principal at Hillside Middle School.
- Theresa Garner, currently the principal at Crestview Elementary School, has accepted a position with the Moorpark Unified School District.
- Principals at Crestview, Justin and Park View elementary schools are still to be determined. Announcements will be made as soon as the decisions are final.
Jerry Block has served as the principal for Malibu High School, which includes grades 6 through 12, since 2012. A former assistant principal at Oak Park High School, Mr. Block is a Newbury Park resident. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Linguistics from University of California-Los Angeles in 1998, his single-subject credentials in Spanish from California State University-Northridge in 2001, and then his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in 2004, also from CSUN.
We wish to congratulate all of our new positions, thank those who are leaving for their many years of excellent service to our students, and welcome our newest member to the district.