Hart Board names four new principals

The William S. Hart Union High School District. Dan Watson/The Signal
The William S. Hart Union High School District. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Hart district officials appointed four new principals Wednesday to fill positions at Hart High School, Canyon High School, Valencia High School and Placerita Junior High School.

Jason d’Autremont was named principal of Hart High School, Shellie Holcombe was named principal of Canyon High School, Stephen Ford was named principal of Valencia High School and John Turner was named principal of Placerita Junior High School by the William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board at its regularly scheduled meeting.

“We had a very exhaustive search for principal vacancies and vacancies due to promotions of Dr. Nielsen and Jan Hayes-Rennels from Hart and Placerita respectively.  And also the announced retirement of Valencia High School Principal John Costanzo coming up this January,” Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Michael Vierra said.  “We had the goal of selecting principals not just for the respective school sites, but in making the district stronger as a whole.”

The nominations at Hart, Canyon and Placerita will be effective Feb. 20 and the nomination at Valencia will be effective July 1 at the end of the school year.

Jason d’Autremont

Hart High School Principal Jason d’Autremont. Courtesy Photo

As principal of Hart High School, d’Autremont will take over for Collyn Nielsen, who was named the district’s chief administrative officer, a cabinet-level position, in December 2017.

Currently, d’Autremont serves as principal of Canyon High School where he was first appointed in 2014.

Before taking the lead at Canyon, d’Autremont worked as the assistant principal of the high school for two years beginning in 2012.

He will now be returning to Hart where he began his teaching career as a special education teacher, department chair, varsity football coach and assistant principal from 2002 to 2012.

D’Autremont holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies.

Shellie Holcombe

Canyon High School Principal Shellie Holcombe. Courtesy Photo

Holcombe currently serves as assistant principal of Saugus High School. As principal of Canyon High School, she will be taking over for d’Autremont who is moving to Hart High School.

Holcombe began her career as an elementary school teacher in the Sulphur Springs Union School District where she remained for 11 years.

She then moved to Canyon High School as an English teacher for four years and worked as a Hart district Teacher on Special Assignment, before taking the assistant principal position at Saugus.

Holcombe is a native Santa Clarita resident, having graduated from Saugus High School, College of the Canyons (COC), California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Stephen Ford

Valencia High School Principal Steve Ford. Courtesy Photo

Ford is the only appointee who is new to the Hart district.  As principal of Valencia, he will take the lead from current Principal John Costanzo, who will retire at the end of this year.

Since 2012, Ford has worked as a principal in the Antelope Valley Union High School District at SOAR Prep Academy.

During his time as principal, Ford increased graduation rates by instituting professional development for staff and training that focused on 21st century classrooms.

Prior to his work as principal, he worked as an assistant principal at two different comprehensive high schools in the Antelope Valley and as a teacher and football coach at Lancaster High School.

Ford holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in educational administration.

John Turner

Placerita Junior High School Principal John Turner. Courtesy Photo

As principal of Placerita, Turner will take over for Jan Hayes-Rennels who was named the district’s director of special programs and staff development in December 2017.

Since 2005, Turner has worked as the assistant principal of Hart High School where he was responsible for facilities, professional development, special education, athletics, activities, attendance, technology and English learners, among others.

Before joining the Hart district, Turner worked in Georgia and in Tennessee, where he taught students from fifth grade to 12th grade, coached basketball and baseball, supervised student groups, trained teachers, worked as a science instructional specialist and as a director supporting multiple schools.

He holds a bachelor degree in education and a master’s degree in biology from Tennessee Technological University and an educational specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University in Educational Leadership.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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