Mountain View Voice

News - March 23, 2012

New principals for MV Whisman

by Nick Veronin

The positions Chang and Graff are filling are opening up as two central administration officials -- Stephanie Totter and Mary Lairon -- are retiring, and several principals within the district are being shifted around to take over their work. "We're excited about the new perspectives that Graff and Chang will bring to our district, both as a result of their leadership training programs as well as their leadership experiences," Superintendent Craig Goldman said, noting that all of the district's central administration and principals are composed of a healthy mix between internal and external hires. "We like the idea of a good balance," he said. "Promoting people from within ensures we choose candidates who understand our district's culture, while choosing people from outside brings new perspectives and new ideas to the table." Chang is currently the assistant principal of Lower Manhattan Community Middle School in New York City. A graduate of Princeton University, he earned master's degrees in special education and secondary social studies from Queens College and in educational leadership from Columbia University. He has taught social studies and English in New York City Schools, spent a summer teaching English in China, and served as a selection manager for the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, district officials said in a press release March 16. Graff is currently a resident principal intern at William E. Russell Elementary School in Boston, Massachusetts. He earned his bachelor's degree and multiple subjects teaching credential from California State University, Chico. In May, he will complete his master's degree in school leadership at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Graff previously taught elementary grades in the Cambrian School District in San Jose, and his experiences include a summer as a foreign exchange teacher in Nanjing China, according to the district. Karen Robinson, the current principal of Crittenden will be taking over for Stephanie Totter, assuming the position of superintendent of administrative services. Cathy Baur, current principal of Monta Loma, will be taking over many of Lairon's former duties as the new director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Angela Lyon, current principal of Stevenson, will move in to Baur's role at Monta Loma. According to Goldman, the district conducted "a broad interview of both internal and outside candidates" before deciding on Chang and Graff. The district advertised nationally for candidates. Each school within the district assembled a team responsible for interviewing 10 applicants and narrowing that group down to three, Goldman said. An administrative board, which included Goldman, interviewed the top three from each school before making final recommendations to the district board. Although they each have East Coast credentials, both men are from the Bay Area and say they are looking forward to returning home, district officials said.

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