Lisa Stephens, shown with her family, will return to the classroom after serving as principal at Baywood Elementary.
Plans for the new school year starting in August are to resume as close to pre-pandemic normal as possible. There will, however, be big changes district-wide.
More than half of the principals in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District will be part of a new lineup that involves a shuffling of different schools, different districts, and for some, a return to the classroom.
“It’s kind of historical in that usually we have very little change among our administration,” said Director of Human Resources Christin Newlon, who is retiring herself in June. “This year, over 50 percent of our administrators are going to be new to the site or new to the district. And we’re pretty excited about it.”
For the two-pools of applicants for principal, one being dual-immersion where the applicant has to be fluent in Spanish and the other offering English only classrooms, Newlon said the district received about 50 applications.
“We got a really good pool,” she said. “This district does a really good job. They train people really well and they provide a lot of mentoring and support. We didn’t select any classroom teachers for administrative positions — all of them have administrative experience. We had that many quality people applying from other districts who want to come here.”
Changes on the North Coast
Lisa Stephens is stepping down from her role as principal at Baywood Elementary and will resume her teacher career.
“As you know, this year has been hard on us all,” Stephens wrote in an email to the Baywood Elementary School community. We all have made so many sacrifices, been through so many changes and I am so proud of how our community has come together during difficult times. One thing that has come to the forefront of my mind is the importance of family and the precious time that I have with them right now. This year, seeing my oldest son start high school and my youngest son finishing elementary school, has made me pause to realize how quickly time is going. Along with that, finally spending time with my 87-year-old dad this spring, after being apart for a year due to COVID, made me realize how I need to honor this time with my family by being more fully present and being there to support them. It is with that in mind, that I have made a very difficult decision to step away from being principal of Baywood for next school year and have requested the opportunity to return to work closer with students once again and to continue to support our dual immersion programs in our district.”
Scott Schalde is heading to Morro Bay High School to serve as principal next year. He has been an assistant principal at Laguna Middle School for the last 8 years. Prior to that he was an assistant principal at San Luis Obispo High School and was a teacher at MBHS among other schools.
As reported in Estero Bay News in April, Schalde, said, “It is my goal, my passion to lead our staff in making Morro Bay High School a great school. From the start, the central focus will be a simple, specific and unyielding core value — we are about kids.”
The priority, Schalde said, is clear. “If ever the question is asked, what comes first at Morro Bay High School, the answer is clear. It is the relationships we create and cultivate with our students.”
Former MBHS principal Dr. Kyle Pruitt, who resigned from the position in 2020, will join the district’s new independent study program as a teacher.
Lara Storm will move from principal of Monarch Grove, a role she has been in for seven years, to become the principal on special assignment for Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) full-time next year. She had been partially in the role while at Monarch.
The husband and wife team of Bernardo and Katie Salcido are leaving the Lucia Mar Unified School District and coming SLCUSD.
Berbardo is the new principal at Baywood Elementary and will continue the expansion of the Dual Immersion program.
Prior to the move, he was as the principal of Paulding Middle School and previously worked as a teacher and administrator at Arroyo Grande High School. He started his career as a science teacher and cross country coach at the high school and middle school levels in Bakersfield.
Katie will take on the role of principal at Monarch Grove Elementary. She was the director of curriculum projects for the past 5 years at LMUSD and has been an assistant principal, dean, assistant dean, and testing coordinator at a variety of levels but started her career in education teaching English and reading to at-risk youth.
Michael Wood is joining SLCUSD as principal of Del Mar Elementary. He most recently served as a middle school principal at a double Gold Ribbon winning school committed to reflective practice and continual improvement.
Diana Jones is moving from her assistant principal position at Los Osos Middle School to serve as the principal at Bishop’s Peak Elementary School.
Changes Within the District at Large
Newlon will be replaced by Dan Block, who is moving from his position as principal at Bishop’s Peak.
Chris Jones will head back to the classroom at Laguna Middle School as a bilingual history teacher after his latest role as principal at Pacheco Elementary.
Rollin Dickinson is new to the district and will be the principal at San Luis Obispo High School after serving as a high school principal and assistant principal in Lake Oswego, OR.
Jessica Miller is moving from her assistant principal position at San Luis Obispo High School to serve as the principal at Sinsheimer Elementary School.
Jeff Martin is moving from his principal position at Sinsheimer to be a principal for Innovate, Summer Experience, and Leadership Development.
Carmen Wood is joining SLCUSD this year as principal at Pacheco Elementary after more than 27 years as a bilingual educator in California.
Brittany Tricamo will be the new principal at Hawthorne Elementary. She has worked in SLCUSD for the past 11 years, where she has held many roles the most recent as interim principal at Sinsheimer Elementary School.
James McMillen will be transitioning from his role as principal of Hawthorne to become principal of Los Ranchos.
In addition to Newlon, retirees include Marlie Schmidt, the principal at Los Ranchos for the last seven years and Sally Ames, the coordinator of San Luis Coastal Adult School.
The new roles are slated to begin on July 1.