Maureen Israel is taking over as superintendent of Bullis Charter School at a time when schools are working rapidly to adapt to the ever-changing contours of the coronavirus pandemic.
She also joins Bullis at a time of leadership transition for the school, with three new principals starting this school year, all longtime BCS teachers. Israel said in an interview that she has appreciated joining a leadership team that has a long history at BCS.
“It’s been really wonderful to join a team that has that context,” she said. “They are hard workers. We’ve just hit the ground running, so it’s been busy, but exciting.”
Israel joins Bullis from YES Prep Public Schools, a charter school system in Houston, where she served as school director. She takes the reins from Brian Köhn, who served as interim superintendent last year. The plan is for Köhn to stay on as senior adviser to the superintendent for the remainder of the calendar year.
Three new principals are also starting this fall. Lisa Stone will serve as elementary school principal for the south campus, Jessica Morgan as elementary principal for the north campus and Daniel Gross as middle school principal. All three are longtime BCS teachers, and Stone was a founding staff member.
Previously, BCS had a model of a superintendent, principal and two assistant principals – one for each site. The previous principal and assistant principals all have moved on to new opportunities, said Alan Simpson, the school’s chief communications officer.
Ann Waterman Roy, who led the superintendent search committee, said in an interview earlier this summer that with any leadership change, it’s important to focus on creating a smooth transition. Roy said she believes Israel will “do a great job of keeping continuity” across the leadership team.
“We had a lot of good candidates, she just knocked our socks off,” Roy said. “I’ve just been very impressed with her and I think she’s going to really help lead our community into the next phase of our school.”
Part of what impressed Roy about Israel was her thoughtful manner and focus on innovation.
“She’s really good at developing teachers and principals to create a really strong culture and inclusive environment,” Roy said. “She’s really creative and is constantly pushing to up the bar for what is possible.”
As the new school year approaches, Israel said she is focused on working with teachers and school leadership to build a remote learning plan that will support all students. If there’s one silver lining to this time, Israel said it’s that “the education community has really turned into a hub of collaboration” in working together to find new ways of teaching virtually.
Said Israel, “This year more than ever, being adaptable and flexible, we know is going to be critical.”
Other administrative changes
Other local schools also have new leadership this fall. Michael Jimenez is taking over as Mountain View High’s principal, Stacy McAfee-Yao as the Cupertino Union School District’s interim superintendent and Lloyd Holmes as De Anza College’s president.
Jimenez comes to Mountain View High from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, where he served as assistant superintendent of secondary schools. Mt. Diablo is also the district Superintendent Nellie Meyer came to MVLA from. He replaces David Grissom, who has taken a job as commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation’s Central Coast Section. For more on Jimenez, check out the June 24 issue of the Town Crier.
McAfee-Yao takes over for Craig Baker, who retired this summer. By retiring, Baker helped the district save money during a budget crunch. Rather than hiring to fill McAfee-Yao’s previous position overseeing human resources, the district has reconfigured the executive team’s responsibilities. This isn’t McAfee-Yao’s first time as interim superintendent. She also served in the role before Baker was hired in 2017. For more on McAfee-Yao, check out the April 29 edition.
A former community college student himself, Holmes previously served as vice president of student services at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. While at Monroe, Holmes met Foothill-De Anza Chancellor Judy Miner through their work with the League for Innovation in the Community College. He replaces Christina Espinosa-Pieb, who had been serving as interim president and is returning to her previous role as vice president of instruction. For more on Holmes, check out the July 1 edition.