In a district the size of Visalia Unified, it is not unusual to have school administrators, teachers and classified staff make decisions to retire, relocate or change positions. This year is no different and when school opens in August, there will be new faces at some schools. We have concluded a busy recruitment and hiring season, and Visalia Unified welcomes four brand new principals to its ranks for the start of the 2013-14 school year. In addition, one principal will take on the challenge of a different school this next year.
Julie Berk has served as the principal of Hurley Elementary for many years and will now shift to Linwood Elementary for the upcoming school year.
New to the principalship, Stephanie Gendron will be the next principal for Hurley Elementary. Gendron has taught at Hurley for the last six years, and this will be her first administrative assignment. Additionally, she taught 4th and 5th grades at Union Elementary prior to joining the Hurley staff. Previously, she spent four years teaching at Alexander Hamilton Elementary in Pasadena, a California Distinguished School.
Also new, Jessica Alvarado will take the helm at Goshen Elementary after serving as an intervention teacher at Highland School. Previously, Alvarado taught 6th grade for seven years in the Lemoore Union Elementary School District. While at Lemoore, she served as the administrative designee as well as the summer school principal.
Another new principal, Cristin Ochoa, will take the lead at Cottonwood Creek Elementary. Most recently, she served the district as the assistant principal for Highland Elementary, a position she held for two years. Previously, Ochoa was the learning director for Curriculum and Instruction at Washington Elementary in Lindsay Unified. She began her teaching career in Visalia Unified as a social science teacher for both Divisadero Middle School and Golden West High School. Ochoa then served as the assistant principal for Curriculum and Instruction at Green Acres Middle School for two years.
Silvia Duvall has been appointed to be the next principal for Mineral King Elementary School. Silvia completed her eighth year as principal for Joseph M. Simas Elementary in Hanford, a high performing school that has continually made growth during her tenure. Prior to that position, Duvall held the positions of principal, learning director and assistant principal for Hanford Elementary District at other elementary sites after having taught for the district for five years.
A change in the principal offers an exciting opportunity for students, staff and members of each school community; and we welcome each of these new faces to our schools!