Santa Barbara High School (courtesy photo)
Source: Santa Barbara Unified School District
Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education announced the selection of Elise Simmons, Ed.D as the principal for Santa Barbara high school, Anna Scharfeld as the principal for Santa Barbara Community Academy, Steve Vizzolini as Director of Facilities and Modernization and Kathy Serrano as Coordinator of After-School and Extended Learning.
All of the selections, with the exception of the appointment of Anna Scharfeld to Santa Barbara Community Academy, followed a competitive and collaborative performance based interview process comprised of individuals who represent parents, teachers, staff, community and business partners as well as district officials.
Elise Simmons, Ed.D – Principal, Santa Barbara High School
Elise Simmons, Ed.D becomes the 2nd female to lead Santa Barbara high school in its over 140 year history. Dr. Simmons’s career as an educator in the Santa Barbara Unified School District spans 19 years. Her professional experience ranges from serving as a teacher, a Teacher on Special Assignment, the District Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Coordinator (a college readiness program), an assistant principal (Santa Barbara High School), and a principal (Alternative Education). She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Recently, she earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, Chicago. She is happily married to a fifth generation Santa Barbarian and is the proud mother of a daughter and three furry babies, one cat and two dogs.
“Elise Simmons’s professional experience as a strong instructional leader is impressive,” said Shawn Carey, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education. “Simmons’s core values and strengths in collaborative decision making, engaging students and teachers, and strategic planning will continue to provide the leadership needed to promote the academic success of all students.”
“Serving as the next principal of Santa Barbara High School is a wonderful opportunity,” said Elise Simmons, Ed.D. “After being gone for three years, I am eager to work alongside Santa Barbara high school’s hardworking, solution-oriented and dynamic team. I can’t wait to once again walk through the historic hallways, wearing my olive and gold, and feeling the spirit of ‘Once a Don, Always a Don’.”
Santa Barbara High School, founded in 1875, is the third oldest high school in California. Occupying a 40-acre urban campus, the current Spanish-style school was built in 1924. With a rich local history, Santa Barbara High School is known throughout the community as the “Home of the Dons.” The 2017 enrollment for the high school is 2,162 students.
Simmons will begin her service as principal of Santa Barbara High School on July 1, 2018.
Anna Scharfeld – Principal, Santa Barbara Community Academy
Ms. Scharfeld has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in mathematics from Northwestern University outside of Chicago, Illinois. Her experience in education spans 18 years, 14 of them as a classroom teacher of every grade level from kindergarten to sixth. She has worked in Stockholm, Sweden as well as for Goleta Union, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara Unified School Districts. Ms. Scharfeld had been serving as the interim Assistant Principal for SBCA since December 2017. Her appointment as the school’s permanent principal became effective in April 2018.
“I am beyond thrilled to be able to stay at Santa Barbara Community Academy,” said Principal Anna Scharfeld. “Learning and improvement is a passion of mine and I am determined to work with the Santa Barbara Community Academy families and our dedicated teachers to provide the best education for our students.”
“We are proud of Anna Scharfeld’s exemplary effort to step into this leadership role mid-year, said Raul Ramirez, Ed.D, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Services. “Ms. Scharfeld quickly built a trusting relationship with staff and families that brought stability and instructional leadership to the school. We are confident that under her leadership we will continue to see an exemplary and passionate commitment to provide quality academic opportunities for all students.”
Santa Barbara Community Academy, a part of Santa Barbara Unified School District, is a school of choice elementary school that follows a year-round calendar. The school shares a campus with La Cumbre Junior High School. School of choice means that any resident within the Santa Barbara Unified School District attendance boundary can choose to enroll in the elementary school. Santa Barbara Community Academy opened its doors on July 19, 1999. The school’s goals are to provide a student-centered approach to learning in a rigorous academic environment and offers programs for physical education, music, and art. The 2018-2019 school year begins July 11, 2018 and the school will operate a robust instructional program for grades 1-6.
Steve Vizzolini – Director of Facilities and Modernization
Steve Vizzolini has been a member of Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Facilities Department team for 30 years. He has held the positions of Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning Mechanic, Senior Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning Mechanic, Electro-Mechanical Foreman, and Maintenance Supervisor. He is a member of the district bond program committee and has served in the role of Project Manager. He is a 1979 graduate of Dos Pueblos High School and received his vocational training at Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a fourth generation Santa Barbarian, has been happily married for 29 years, and is the proud father of two sons, Anthony and Nicolas.
“The selection of Steve Vizzolini is a natural fit for our district,” said Meg Jette, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. “Steve knows our facilities and staff as well as anyone in our district and can hit-the-ground-running to continue the important work that benefits all students, and that is to provide leadership for our district school facilities including the implementation of the community’s bond-funded projects.”
The Director of Facilities and Modernization is responsible for the planning, funding, construction, modernization, and maintenance of school facilities. Coordinates and supervises the ongoing maintenance of district facilities. The selection of Steve Vizzolini follows the retirement of David Hetyonk who will retire on May 31, 2018 after 18 years of service with Santa Barbara Unified School District.
Vizzolini will begin his service as Director of Facilities and Modernization on June 1, 2018.
Kathy Serrano – Coordinator of After-School and Extended Learning
Kathy Serrano’s career with Santa Barbara Unified School District began in 1990. Her professional experience ranges from serving as a bilingual teacher at César Chávez Charter School (also known as Adelante Charter), academic counselor for the University of California Santa Barbara Upward Bound Federal TRiO Program, coordinator of services through the THRIVE Isla Vista Collaborative, and the Assistant Director of the Pre-Collegiate Development Program at Colorado University Boulder. Most recently, Serrano served as a 5th grade teacher at Monroe Elementary School were she is an active member of the a number of leadership committees. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Chicana/o Studies and Masters in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A Santa Barbara resident, she first migrated to the community from Puruándiro Michoácan, México when she was eight years old. She is happily married to Freddy Hernandez, and she is the proud mother of three strong, beautiful daughters, Kassandra an incoming Freshman to Santa Barbara High School, and two young ‘Mustangs’ at Monroe Elementary School, Quetzal and Maya.
The Coordinator of After-School and Extended Learning is responsible to plan, organize, and direct the After School/Expanded Learning operations and activities; that includes: coordinate, direct and monitor instructional activities, curriculum standards, personnel and communications to meet school district needs and enhance educational effectiveness of the After School/Expanded Learning programs.
The selection of Kathy Serrano follows the retirement of Debi Badger who will retire June 30, 2018 after 20 years of service with Santa Barbara Unified School District. With Director Badger’s retirement, the district was able to restructure and align the pre-school and after-school learning programs. The director position was replaced as a coordinator position who will be overseen by the Director of Elementary Education.
Serrano will begin her service as Coordinator of After-School and Extended Learning on July 1, 2018.