Update: Monday, January 25, 2010
Santa Clarita Valley students will get new leader next year.
William S. Hart School District Superintendent Jaime Castellanos will be retiring, effective June 30, 2010. The news was sent to Hart District staffers in an email this week.
The June 30 date will be five years exactly that Castellanos ran the District. He is 58 years old.
In the email, Castellanos gave no specific reason for his departure; however he thanked staff members and expressed his gratitude.
The letter read: “I want to express my sincere appreciation for what you all have done for the students of our District. All that we have achieved over the past five years could only be accomplished by such dedicated professionals as yourselves. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Superintendent on both a personal and professional level. I wish all of you the very best, and I leave knowing that our students will always be the priority.”
Paul Strickland, president of the Hart School Board, praised Castellanos’ tenure.
“Jaime really focused on curriculum, bringing up test scores, and standards-based teaching,” said Strickland. “He did a wonderful job.”
The Hart District is among the top union high school districts in the state in terms of test scores.
Strickland continued; “He also had a very good way of communicating, not only with administration, but with teachers and classified people. One of the first things he did was bring to the District a customer service that was really appreciated in the sense that people could communicate much easier not only with the District, but with the individual [school] sites.”
Dealing with an increasingly diverse student population prompted the District to take new steps in prevention and awareness campaigns. Strickland gives some credit for that to Castellanos.
“He was instrumental in creating the Coordinator of Diversity position. And that has really helped us with any potential problems we might have on each site throughout the District, and that was very important to us.”
“He’s done many, many good things for our district, students, teachers and parents, and he will be missed a lot, Strickland concluded.”
The process for selecting a new Superintendent should begin soon. In the past, the process has been opened to applicants inside and outside the District; however the Board has not yet set any explicit guidelines for the selection process.