New principal attributes success to SCV roots

Juliet Fine. Courtesy photo

This week, Juliet Fine assumed her newest position as principal of Horace Mann School in the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD).

But before Fine was unanimously appointed to her post by the BHUSD Board of Education, she was a student, teacher and assistant principal in the William S. Hart Union High School District.

“I went to Valencia High School and was part of the first four-year graduating class with the class of 1998,” Fine said.  “I loved my time in high school I had some great mentors… There were some great teachers there.”

At Valencia High School, Fine said she was shaped by several teachers and administrators including Jackie Arnold, Krister Swanson, Jerry Burrill, Gary Mast, Frank Ferry, Barbara Irwin and Donna Manfredi.

After graduating from Valencia, Fine went on to Sonoma State University where she discovered her love of teaching during her last year of college as a volunteer for AmeriCorp.

“I fell in love with teaching literacy to English learners,” she said.

This experience, coupled with inspiration from her mother-in-law Beverly Fine and her late-uncle Barry Franklin, convinced her to pursue a career in teaching.

After graduating from Sonoma State, Fine moved back to Los Angeles and began working as a substitute teacher in the Newhall School District and Hart School District as she worked to earn her master’s degree from the University of La Verne.

“I got picked up right away to teach in an intensive literacy program over the summer where I taught literacy for students in grades 7 to 12 in the Hart District,” Fine said.  “I absolutely loved it and loved working with junior high and high school students.”

For seven years, from 2003 to 2010, Fine worked as an English teacher and English Language Development teacher at Arroyo Seco Junior High School.

She soon after pursued a doctorate degree from the University of Southern California (USC) and became the assistant principal at Bishop Alemany High School.

“But my heart was always in the Hart District,” Fine said.  “When there was an opening at West Ranch, I met with the principal and he really liked the ideas I had for the school and for student learning outcomes so I came back to the Hart District in January 2013.”

Fine said her time at West Ranch “taught her everything” she knows as she worked under Principals Bob Vincent and Mark Crawford

“It really made a positive impact in my learning experience as an administrator… and in really understanding what it means to make a positive impact on kids’ lives,” Fine said.

At West Ranch Fine also learned the importance and value of working with the school’s community to develop a stronger school culture.

“What’s really important is relationships, rigor and relevance.  Those are the three pillars that hold up West Ranch High School,” Fine said.  “That was the vision of Bob Vincent when he came to West Ranch and Mark Crawford has continued that vision in the district.”

Fine also attributed her success to her colleagues who poured their hearts and energy into the district and its schools each and every day.

“The teachers at West Ranch area amazing too, because of their professionalism and dedication,” she said.  “They taught me what teaching in the classroom looks like.”

The experience of moving on to a new school district is a bittersweet one for Fine, who feels as though the Hart District is a family to her and her husband who is an art teacher at Arroyo Seco.

“I absolutely loved my time at West Ranch and it has shaped my view as a principal,” Fine said.  “But I’m really excited about this opportunity and it feels like a good fit.”

At Horace Mann, Fine will oversee about 500 students in kindergarten to eighth grade.  She is looking forward to getting to know each student on a personal level to help them become “the best they can be in life”

“Horace Mann is absolutely beautiful; you can tell they’ve poured their heart and soul into the foundation of the school,” Fine said.  “I’m so excited about this opportunity to be part of the Beverly Hills community and to be at Horace Mann School and work with the students and staff there.”

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