FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2016
Contact: Pat Karlak
Public Information Officer
Phone: (714) 999-5662
ANAHEIM—The Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the hiring of four top leaders who will head up business operations for the District and serve as principals at three campuses.
The new assistant superintendent of business services is Jennifer Root. Mrs. Root is taking over for Dianne Poore, who is retiring after almost 33 years in the District. Loara High School’s new principal is Katrina Callaway, formerly an administrator at Santa Ana Unified School District. Leading Dale Junior High School is Lorena Moreno, formerly a principal at a Long Beach Unified middle school. And, at Hope School, Louie LeMonnier moves from serving as interim principal to principal.
The rigorous process for selecting the new leaders includes advertising internally and externally for candidates, as well as formally interviewing staff and parents to determine what qualities they view as important. Board President Annemarie Randle-Trejo said she was confident that the selection process, which took into consideration not only the technical skills of the candidates, but also their interpersonal skills and educational philosophy, yielded the best possible outcome.
“It’s very important that our leaders are philosophically aligned with where we are going as a District,” Ms. Randle-Trejo said. “Thanks to our superintendent, the AUHSD is making a name for itself as a destination District and we are able to hire and retain great employees as a result.”
Mrs. Root comes to the AUHSD after serving as chief business officer (CBO) in the Covina-Valley Unified School District. While there, she monitored the budget, implemented a $129 million school bond, was a member of the district’s negotiating team, and oversaw the following departments: fiscal services, purchasing and warehouse, nutrition services, and maintenance, operations, transportation, and facilities.
Mrs. Root has worked in public education for more than two decades. She taught at the elementary and middle school levels before beginning her administrative career and serving as an assistant principal and elementary school principal for more than a decade. She came back to the Covina-Valley school district as director of student services, before she moved into the CBO role.
Mrs. Root earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside, and two master’s degrees from Azusa Pacifica University, in language development and in school administration. She went on to complete the School Business Management Certification Program at the University of Southern California and is scheduled to complete her doctorate in organizational change and leadership in 2017. She also received her Chief Business Officer Certification from the California Association of School Business Officials.
The newly appointed leaders know expectations surrounding their performance are high, given the level of competition for the jobs.
“This whole selection process has been very humbling,” Mrs. Root said. “I know I am following some very big shoes. I’m looking forward to learning more about the District. I plan on being here a long time.”
John Gray, president of School Services of California Inc., which consults with districts on fiscal matters, endorsed AUHSD’s selection of Mrs. Root.
“I know Jennifer as a woman of the highest integrity, with the attitude, energy, motivation, and confidence necessary to be successful in Anaheim,” Mr. Gray said. “She is very effective at working with employees and managers with very diverse interests and ideas, from both the business and instructional divisions of a school district.”
Superintendent Matsuda said Mr. Gray was among a chorus of voices supporting the appointment of Mrs. Root.
“Mrs. Root has a reputation for accessibility, transparency, ethical behavior, and knowledge of industry best practices,” he said. “She will take great care in continuing to ensure that the Board’s fiduciary duty to our taxpayers is met.”
Meanwhile, after serving as a private school teacher for five years, Ms. Callaway started her 22-year career in public education as a social science teacher and ASB adviser at Saddleback High School in Santa Ana. From there, she worked as director of student activities at Segerstrom High School and then as an assistant principal at both Segerstrom and Century high schools.
Ms. Callaway received her bachelor’s degree in history/political science from Vanguard University and her master’s in educational administration from National University.
“I’m looking forward to working with all of you to serve Loara’s students and staff and to continue supporting some of the amazing programs that are already in place,” Ms. Callaway said.
Ms. Moreno began her career in education as a teacher in a two-way bilingual immersion program in Cambridge, MA. At Long Beach Unified, she helped develop curriculum, train teachers, and oversee a grant that supported the two-way bilingual immersion program; was a reading specialist; worked as a program specialist to improve the academic success of English language learners; served as assistant principal of Washington Middle School; and as principal of Lindsey Middle School.
Ms. Moreno, whose three daughters attend AUHSD schools, with a fourth daughter poised to become an AUHSD student in the fall, received her bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA, and her master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity,” Ms. Moreno said. “I’m excited to become a part of the family at AUHSD, and to build a seamless pathway between Dale Junior High School and Magnolia High School.”
Meanwhile, Mr. LeMonnier has spent his entire career at Hope School, where he will now lead the campus as its principal. He began in 2003 as a vocational and life skills teacher, and was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2010. The following year, Mr. LeMonnier participated in the AUHSD Leadership Institute for aspiring administrators. He then served as Hope’s assistant principal before moving into the interim principal role last year.
Mr. LeMonnier has a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development with a special education specialization, from California State University, Fullerton, and his master’s in special education from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
He said he is eager to “continue working hard and being part of this amazing, innovative school district.”