The retirement of one junior high school principal has led to a series of administrative changes at several sites within the district all taking effect the first week of 2014.
La Mesa Junior High School principal, Pete Fries, is retiring this week, following 12 years with the District. Replacing Fries is Michele Krantz, current director of professional development and special programs at the district.
Academy of the Canyons principal Jill Shenberger has been tapped to replace Krantz, Sequoia principal Dr. Pete Getz will replace Shenberger as the AOC principal and Brandi Davis, current special education program specialist, has been promoted to fill the open principal position at Sequoia.
Fries, served as the principal at La Mesa Junior High School since 2002, having worked for the Hart School District for the last 12 years, bringing his career in education to nearly 35 years.
During Fries’ tenure at La Mesa, students’ test scores continually increased. The school’s API score of 835 under his leadership is the highest in school history.
Fries served as the driving force behind the creation of La Mesa’s anti-bullying program. He has also played a major role in developing a culturally diverse campus at La Mesa and was the recipient of the Valuing Cultural Diversity award in 2011.
“We do what’s best for the kids,” Fries said. “We create a climate of safety and success which enables all students to thrive and succeed.” Fries credits his success to his teachers and other staff members. “The strength of our school can only stem from our effective teacher leaders.”
Fries began his career as an industrial education teacher at Patrick Henry Junior High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1976. He taught students in the classroom until 1987 when he became a counselor at Patrick Henry. Fries served in counselor, dean and assistant principal positions at various LAUSD schools, including nine years at Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, before joining La Mesa Junior High as principal in July of 2002.
Fries is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach and he also hold three master’s degrees in vocational education, education administration and supervision and school counseling from California State University Long Beach, California State University Northridge and the University of La Verne, respectively.
Fries has a saying that all La Mesa students hear on a daily basis, “It’s a great day for learning.” Fries hopes that this inspiring quote will stick with his students throughout their school careers and life after school.
Michele Krantz, current District director of professional development and student programs, will take the helm as principal at La Mesa Junior High, following a year in her current district position. Prior to her district position, Krantz served as principal of Rancho Pico Junior High School for five years and is very excited to return to a school site to once again work more directly with students.
Krantz has previously taught history and has served as the ASB Director, as well as serving as assistant principal at both Sierra Vista Junior High School and West Ranch High School.
In her position with the district, she had the opportunity to oversee the English Learner program, teacher professional development, assist with homeless resources and begin the district implementation of the new Common Core State Standards.
Krantz holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music composition from State University of New York at Purchase, Bachelor of Arts in social studies from State University of NewYork at New Paltz and a Master of Arts in educational leadership and policy from CSU Northridge. Krantz has been honored with multiple educator awards including: Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) SCV Charter co-administrator of the year in 2008, ACSA Region VX middle grades principal of the year in 2009 and ACSA SCV Charter leadership award in 2011.
“I am so excited to return to the role of principal and the opportunity to again work directly with students, teachers and families at La Mesa Junior High School,” Krantz said. “The most successful children are a result of a solid partnership among the school, the home, and the community. I look forward to building relationships that will assist students in achieving tremendous academic and personal success.”
Shenberger is moving into the position of director of professional development and special programs, having served as principal of Academy of the Canyons and Learning Post since 2003.
Except for three years served as an assistant principal at Calabasas High School, Shenberger has served in the Hart School District since 1980. Shenberger taught Spanish and English at Hart High School from 1980-1993. During that time she served on a variety of committees and served in leadership roles such as Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC) accreditation chair and as a department chair. From 1993-1996 Shenberger began her administrative career as assistant principal at Calabasas High school in 1993, returning to the Hart District as assistant principal at Hart High School in 1996, where she served for eight years.
Under her leadership at AOC and Learning Post, enrollment has grown and high test scores have been achieved. The Academic Performance Index rose to 941 in 2011 and continued to be the highest scoring high school in the Hart School District.
Shenberger holds a Bachelor of Arts in foreign language (Spanish) as well as teaching credentials in both Spanish and English from San Diego State University. She also has a bilingual cross cultural certificate in Spanish language. Jill has a Master of Arts in educational management from University of La Verne and an admin service credential from CSU Bakersfield.
“I am very proud and excited to join the Hart District administrative team as director of professional development and special programs,” Shenberger said. “I have been very fortunate to have spent 10 wonderful years with the staff, students and parents at AOC and Learning Post. I am confident there will be many more successful years ahead for both AOC and Learning Post.”
Pete Getz, Ed.D
Dr. Getz is moving from principal at Sequoia Charter School to principal at AOC and Learning Post. Dr. Getz will continue his role as principal of Hart@Home, the district’s home school program, in his new position.
Dr. Getz began his career in education as a biology and business education teacher at Canyon High School in 1998. He then became an administrator in the Antelope Valley Union High School District serving as an assistant principal for three years. Getz then returned to the Hart District as an assistant principal at Canyon High School for three years until 2010 at which time he became principal of Sequoia Charter School. A year later, Hart@Home was created and Dr. Getz became the founding principal in additional to his position at Sequoia Charter School. He has been instrumental in developing Hart@Home as an exemplary home school program. In addition, Dr. Getz has been a key person in the development of the Hart District Career Technical Education program and the development of the 10- year transitional plan for students in the Hart District and College of the Canyons.
Dr. Getz holds a bachelor of science in biological sciences from the University of Kansas and master’s degree and administrative credential from CSU Northridge. He also holds a doctorate in education from Walden University.
“I am honored at having the opportunity to work with the AOC and Learning Post teams. I look forward to working with the students at both sites this spring,” Dr. Getz said. “My time at Sequoia has been extremely rewarding. The new principal, Brandi Davis, is going to be a wonderful addition to the educational and therapeutic teams on the campus.”
Davis has been promoted to principal of Sequoia Charter School, bringing with her a number of unique qualifications and experiences. Davis holds a master of science in counseling and a master of arts in clinical psychology. Brandi possesses a pupil personnel services credential and is a nationally certified school psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist. She has also received specific certification in applied suicide intervention skills, social skills for teens with developmental and autism spectrum disorders, behavior intervention case management, nonviolence crisis intervention and she is a child and adolescents needs trainer. She has also been a frequent presenter at the local SELPA and other organizations.
Davis has worked in the Hart District since 2007, where she has served as a school psychologist at Golden Valley High School and currently serves the District as a program specialist. Before coming to the Hart District, Davis worked as a school psychologist as well as a marriage and family therapist and behavior interventionist.
“I am incredibly honored to have been afforded the opportunity to serve the community and students in the Hart District as the new principal for Sequoia Charter School,” Davis said. “I’m looking forward to continued collaboration with students, staff and parents to assist in providing equal access and academic achievement for all.”
“We thank Mr. Fries for his dedication and service to the Hart District for the past 12 years and wish him all the best in his retirement,” Rob Challinor, Superintendent, said. “We are looking forward to the experience and enthusiasm that Ms. Krantz, Ms. Shenberger, Dr. Getz and Ms. Davis will bring to their new positions to continue our commitment to strong leadership in all departments and school sites.”