Having been previously named to be the director of student services for the William S. Hart Union High School District, Pete Getz has decided he would like to stay on as the Valencia High School principal in a permanent capacity.
Getz had been named to the interim position after former Valencia High Principal Steve Ford stepped down on the eve of the 2020-21 school year. While serving as the interim principal, Getz maintained his role as director of student services for the district, completing both positions’ responsibilities since the beginning of the school year.
However, pending board approval at the Oct. 21 meeting, he has been recommended to take over as the district’s choice to be the official head of Valencia High starting Jan. 1, stepping away from the director position.
Also pending board approval at the Oct. 21 meeting, the role of director of student services, which has been described by district officials as a more prestigious and higher paid position than the one Getz has decided to take, will now be filled by Erum Velek, who presently serves as the principal of Academy of the Canyons and Learning Post Academy.
If approved, she will assume the district office position on Jan. 1, as well.
Getz is the son-in-law of governing board President Linda Storli.
Over a phone call with The Signal on Thursday, Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said district staff conducted multiple meetings over Zoom with parents and school site staff to see what they wanted to see in a principal.
According to Kuhlman, the persistent theme he saw was people being complimentary of Getz’s emphasis on communication, visibility and improving morale, despite at the time only serving in the interim capacity until a permanent replacement could be found.
“The message was the same, and was that they’re really pleased with the direction and they wish they could keep Dr. Getz,” said Kuhlman. “Behind the scenes, Dr. Getz and I had been sort of having some heart-to-heart conversations and Dr. Getz said, ‘Mike, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m feeling myself drawn to working with the staff in this community.’”
“It suggests that we have found the right fit,” Kuhlman added.
Getz’s decision to step away from being the director of student services was amenable to Kuhlman, as Velek was able to step up and fill in the role. She had also previously been a finalist for the director position before being named the AOC and Learning Post principal earlier this year.
“I feel good about her stepping into that role because she was an outstanding candidate and someone that I was close to selecting and recommending to the board,” said Kuhlman.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the district will now search for Velek’s replacement at the COC-based Hart district schools and the intention is to submit recommendations to the board by Nov. 18, Kuhlman said.
Bowman High School remains without a principal as well, but Kuhlman says Assistant Principal Nina Zamora will function as the interim head of the school while the search for a permanent principal is undertaken.