After six years at Blach Intermediate School, principal Bhavna Narula is leaving at the end of the school year to take a position as an administrator in the Hillsborough City School District. Current Santa Rita School principal Greg Land is slated to take the helm at Blach.
Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier said in an interview that Land has had a “long, solid run” as principal of Santa Rita for eight years and will bring expertise and experience to his new role at the junior high school.
“He was excited and ready, and it just seemed like a fantastic match,” Baier said.
He added that Narula’s departure is “certainly a loss” for both Blach and the district overall, but he congratulated her on the new position and said she would be missed.
Narula is set to become Hillsborough’s director of student services. Her last day at Blach will be June 30. Narula came to LASD in 2015 from the Palo Alto Unified School District and has led Blach ever since. This year, she has been one of the co-facilitators of LASD’s Equity Task Force.
Part of the reason she took the job in Hillsborough is because her “passion is equity and inclusion” and the new position will allow her to focus on the issues at the districtwide level. The job includes supporting students in special education, as well as kids with “a diverse range of learning needs,” Narula noted. At the same time, she said leaving Blach was a hard decision.
“Blach is my family and so it’s bittersweet. Having to leave a community that is as inclusive and as amazing as Blach – both staff and students and families – is difficult,” Narula said, adding that she is happy Land will be taking her place.
Although Land has worked at Santa Rita since 2013, he comes to Blach with experience at the junior high school level. He previously served as the principal of two kindergarten through eighth-grade schools in Redwood City. He also worked as a middle school teacher himself.
Land said he particularly enjoys working with middle schoolers and looks forward to focusing on student leadership and giving kids a voice in their education. The district is also considering making sixth grade part of the middle schools in the next few years, and Land said he’s interested in being part of that process. Currently, sixth-graders are on the elementary school campuses.
At the same time he anticipates moving to Blach, Land said he’s had an “awesome experience” at Santa Rita and enjoyed working with the school’s students, parents and staff.
“I really believe in building a strong culture, and over the last eight years, I feel like we’ve really done that,” he said. “I’m going to miss the teachers tremendously, as well as the community.”
Baier similarly said that one of Land’s strengths is team building and rallying people together. Santa Rita and Blach also both have self-contained special-education programs, and Baier said Land will bring that experience with him to Blach. He also pointed to Land’s prior experience working with junior high schoolers.
“I think bringing what he demonstrated at the TK-6 level to the middle school level – it’s just going to be really great for Blach,” Baier said.
The district is currently in the early stages of hiring to fill Land’s position at Santa Rita, Baier said, but the goal is to have a new principal ready to introduce to the Santa Rita community by the end of the school year.