Hart Board to appoint two 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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Students and staff at Hart High School and Placerita Junior High School may soon have new principals on their campuses this school year.

The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board is expected to appoint two educators to the administrator positions during its meeting Wednesday.

The district opened applications for the two principal positions in December 2017 when former Hart High School Principal Collyn Nielsen and former Placerita Junior High School Principal Jan Hayes-Rennels were appointed to district-level positions.

Nielsen now serves in a cabinet-level position as the district’s chief administrative officer and Hayes-Rennels now serves and the district’s director of special programs and staff development.

Since their appointments, the district has been evaluating candidates to fill the vacant principal positions.

We’ve been conducting interviews of candidates from both inside and outside the district with the objective to bring before the board Wednesday night staff’s recommendation for the principals of Hart High School and Placerita Junior High,” Hart district Public Relations Officer Dave Caldwell said.

The interview process was led by Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Mike Kuhlman and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Michael Vierra, according to Caldwell.

Board President Steve Sturgeon said the board is looking for several skills from the applicants including leadership skills, a proven resume and experience.

“The sites have common community base,” Sturgeon said. “(They should have) the ability to work with one another in terms of the student population and the parent involvement.  Hart has a longstanding academic, athletic and co-curricular success, so I’m certain the staff and parent population want to ensure that continues.”

Governing Board members are expected to interview the candidates in closed session before discussing appointments and making decisions in open session.

Superintendent Contract

The Governing Board is also expected to discuss extending Engbrecht’s contract for another year.

“There’s a unanimous consensus that Vicki has done an outstanding job for the district in her tenure and has solidified the district management team and has accomplished numerous projects from the CTE program to our facilities projects in terms of moving them along or getting them on schedule,” Sturgeon said.

If approved, the contract extension would also include amendment to its work year and clarify health benefits to be received after retirement.

“She’s done a tremendous job,” Sturgeon said. “She’s an individual who may have the longest longevity of any person in the district, but she loves this position.”

Engbrecht, who has served as the district’s superintendent for four years, was named “superintendent-elect” in November 2014 and assumed the superintendent position in February 2015 after former superintendent Rob Challinor retired.

Her initial contract ran until June 30, 2016, before the Governing Board extended her contract for another two years through June 30, 2018.

In her first contract extension, the Hart district board cited Engbrecht’s strong performance in her position and the benefit of having consistent leadership in the district.

Before being named superintendent, Engbrecht, who has been in the district for more than four decades, acted as the assistant superintendent of educational services, director of curriculum and assessment and as principal of Canyon High School.

Additional Agenda Items:

  • Hear a school site report from Rancho Pico Junior High School Principal Erum Jones
  • Hear a Special Education update from district staff
  • Hear a presentation on suicide awareness and prevention in the district from Director of Student Services Kathy Hunter
  • Conduct a first reading of revised board policy: Student Wellness
  • Conduct a public hearing and adopt the Hart district’s initial proposal for negotiations with the Hart District Teachers Association for the 2017-18 school year
  • Conduct a public hearing and acknowledge the Hart District Teachers Association’s initial proposal for negotiations with the Hart district for the 2017-18 school year

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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