Judy Crates, who has been leading the district in new organizational methods and English language development for the last two years, will become Castro Elementary School's newest principal starting July 1. The school's current principal, Carmen Mizell, will take over as principal of Landels Elementary School, while Landels' current principal, Phyllis Rodgers, will become the district's director of organizational effectiveness and English language development.
"At certain times, we look at the best fits in the district," Superintendent Maurice Ghysels said during the meeting. "In the short run it might take the breath out of people, but in the long term it makes sense."
The move was voluntary for all administrators, Ghysels said. Although there were more parents and teachers at the meeting than usual, the district will continue to get the word out about the changes, starting with a press conference at Bubb School at 6 p.m. on June 25. There will be meetings later in the summer at both Castro and Landels schools.
"This is a bold move, but a great one," trustee Ed Bailey said.
Crates, who has been principal of Bubb and Graham schools, returned to district headquarters to work with English language learners and lead administrators in Continuous Improvement, a process that helps the district set measurable and attainable goals. Crates is fluent in Spanish, and administrators say her leadership skills will benefit Castro, which has a large percentage of Spanish speakers and three special educational programs.
Although Crates loved her position at the district, "At heart I am a principal," she told board members. "I really want to do what I am most passionate about."
Carmen Mizell, who was principal of Castro for two years and helped to significantly increase standardized test scores there, said at Landels she will be able to work with her expertise, technology. Landels has served as the pilot school for Continuous Improvement. Before coming to the district, Mizell, who also is fluent in Spanish, was director of technology in the Sunnyvale School District.
"It hurts a little to leave behind those relationships [at Castro]," Mizell said. "We are a team, and I believe what I can bring to Landels will make them excel even more."
Administrators and trustees agreed that Rodgers is ready to lead the district in implementing Continuous Improvement and English language development. Rodgers, who speaks Portuguese, was an English language learner herself, and has experience in the field.
"I don't have to leave Landels behind, I will be sharing my expertise with all the schools," Rodgers said. "The kids in the district deserve the best."