Unusual amount of new principals taking the helm at San Diego schools

Principals expected to be community leaders too

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Forty new principals will be leading San Diego schools when the new school year begins Tuesday.

Marco Drapeau is one of them.  He’s starting his first year as principal of Ocean Beach Elementary.

“I’m very excited about Tuesday,” he said.  “The kids will probably call me ‘Mr. D’ because they have trouble pronouncing [Drapeau].”

“Forty new principals is a lot,” said new San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten.  “That’s more than we’ve seen in a long time.”

It’s a position close to Marten’s heart.  She was an elementary school principal before taking over the district.

“I know how hard the job is but I also know how critical it is,” she said.

Drapeau said Marten knows what the job is like.

“She knows knows what it’s like [to have] kids that are English-learners, kids that are in poverty, kids with all the traditional reasons not to succeed,” said Drapeau.

Marten said some principals retired while some were reassigned.  She said the district’s principals going forward will be community leaders, not just leaders of schools.

“The principal sets the tone,” she said. “Sets the mission and the vision of the district and of the school.”

Drapeau said the new breed of principals would also be more active outside the office and inspirational in every day instruction.

“So we’re getting away from just managing the campus, managing the administrative tasks, to focusing on the instruction.”

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