When the school year ended last week, students and teachers at five South San Francisco schools had to say goodbye to their principals, who won't be returning next year.
The district is losing two veteran educators, Principal Beth Orofino of and , to retirement.
“You always get a little concerned when you are losing some of the veterans,” said Bob Thompson, assistant superintendent of personnel. “The people that are leaving have done some great things.”
With the baby boomers retiring, Thompson said it’s not unusual to have a few retirements each year.
Three other principals are taking new jobs, he said.
Principal Adele Berg will resign to coordinate the Regional Occupation Program for the San Mateo County Office of Education.
Rona Jawetz, principal of , is also leaving to take a county position, and Michael Coyne, principal of , is returning to the classroom, Thompson said.
He said it is odd to have this many principals leave at once.
“My guess is that they are moving into positions at County Office of Education where people are retiring too,” he said.
Thompson said the exodus of principals should not be seen as a sign that there is something wrong with the district.
“I think folks are just looking at opportunities,” he said. “It’s not an issue where people are saying, ‘gosh I need to go somewhere else.’”
So far, the district has only filled one of the vacant principal positions. Milissa Banister, a former assistant principal at , was hired as principal of Skyline Elementary School, Thompson said.
The district is also hiring for three assistant principal positions, two at El Camino High and one at .
The search for school leaders comes as the district . The district is also looking to replace Thompson, whose retirement is effective June 30.
Board President Maurice Goodman said Thompson’s retirement shouldn’t slow down the hiring process, and the goal is to have all principal positions filled by next school year.
“The challenge will just not be to fill their shoes but to rise to the expectations that our parents and community has to educate the kids,” Goodman said.
Although the perception is that the district is experiencing a high turnover rate, Goodman said there are just a lot of high profile people leaving.
“We can’t speak to why people make the decisions that they make,” he said. “All we can do is wish them well.”
Goodman said the district could fill the gap created by the vacancies by bringing talented and experienced individuals to lead the schools.
“This is a great opportunity for us to build our capacity as a district and increase the experience,” he said.