Two principals in the William S. Hart Union High School District have announced their plans to retire.
Paul Priesz of Valencia High School and Bob Vincent of West Ranch High School plan to finish out the current school year and retire toward the beginning of the summer, school officials said.
“Right now, we’re moving into Common Core, and that’s going to take awhile to implement properly,” Priesz said. “I think it’s a good time for me to retire and let someone else step in and lead the school through that process.”
The Common Core Priesz is referring to is the implementation of new statewide educational standards that describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject in each grade, according to the California Department of Education.
Priesz has been the principal at Valencia High School for 21 years and worked for the school district for 24 years.
“The most important thing that happens every year for me is graduation,” Priesz said. “To me getting students to that place and providing the kind of education that they need so they can be successful going to college, their career, or any kind of secondary education– that is the most important thing.”
Priesz plans to officially retire July 1.
“I can’t think of any other job I would have rather had the last 20 years than this one,” he said.
Vincent has been the principal of West Ranch High School since before it opened its doors 10 years ago and worked in the school district for 38 years.
“The time is right,” Vincent said. “I’ve lead West Ranch for 10 years, and it’s time for me to move on and for someone else to come in with new energy and take it to new heights.”
Vincent played a significant role in building the 52-acre, $80 million campus before the high school had any employees, interviewing more than 800 people to get their 144 current staff members and getting to “build it up from the dirt up,” Vincent said.
He plans to officially retire June 30.
“Students have always been my favorite thing about being in education,” he said. “I had the opportunity to work with thousands of students and faculty and I’m leaving with a grateful heart for the opportunity to have served these people.”
In the next few weeks, both schools will begin the process of posting for the open positions, said Gail Pinsker, a Hart district spokesperson.
It is the district’s practice to hire a principal from within the district, so an existing junior high or assistant principal may be selected, school district officials said.
“We’re sorry to see founding principals of both schools retire, but looking forward to the new principals,” Pinsker said. “They will be very capable and able to hit the ground running at these two schools.”
The William S. Hart Union High School District is currently comprised of eight high schools, six junior high schools and six alternative schools and programs.
– Melissa Lampert
Letter from Bob Vincent
February 10, 2014
Dear West Ranch Students and Families,
Last Friday I submitted my letter of resignation for the purpose of retirement. It is hard for me to believe that I will be leaving West Ranch High School at the end of June. The thirty-eight years I have been an educator for the William S. Hart Union High School District have flown past. By far the most rewarding years of my career have been having the honor of being your principal at West Ranch High School from 2003 – 2014. My first year as your principal was spent building the school and hiring the staff. In the summer of 2004, West Ranch opened in 12 portable classrooms and some borrowed classrooms at Rancho Pico Junior High School. Every day as students came to school they watched the construction of their 52 acre, 80 million dollar campus being built across the street.
Over the past 10 years West Ranch students have accepted our mission of Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance, and we quickly grew to be an academic powerhouse earning the highest test scores in Northern Los Angeles County.
I am so grateful for the relationships that we have built over the years and for the positive impact you have had on my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The position of Principal at West Ranch High School will be posted in early March and a selection should be made by the end of April.
It is with a grateful heart that I leave knowing that I have done my best and now it is time for others to do better.
All the best,
West Ranch High School
Relationships, Rigor, Relevance