New principal a familiar face

La Cumbre Junior High’s new principal moves around the corner from Adams School

Adams School graduates attending La Cumbre Junior High will see a familiar face in the halls beginning Jan. 31. Principal Jo Ann Caines has just been named the new principal at the 430-student campus less than a mile away.

Caines replaces Eugenia Walters, who resigned after being on personal leave since early November.

Under Caines’ leadership, Adams earned recognition as both a California Distinguished School and a Title I Achieving School. A GATE Cluster Magnet School with 78 percent minority students and 72 percent of its students living below the poverty level, Adams has often been held up as a model for low-income schools.

Caines, a Santa Barbara native who graduated from Santa Barbara High, said, “I have a wonderful history at La Cumbre (she taught there and was assistant principal) and I was part of the California Distinguished School, La Cumbre. … La Cumbre is, of course, part of the Adams community … so it’s not like moving to a new city and taking a new job. This is more like going home.”

La Cumbre’s enrollment and reputation has been declining and it is hoped that Caines’ community reputation, creativity and leadership skills will help reverse that trend.

“Anybody who knows me will tell you, I have no shortage of ideas. I’m really looking forward to meeting with the staff to address the very issues you’re talking about,” Caines said.

“To me there is no system other than the Santa Barbara school system,” said Caines, whose mother, Annette Slavin, founded the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation. “And I’m giving back for the great education that I received.”

Matt Zuchowitz will become interim principal at Adams.

“I am delighted to be joining the Adams School community!” said Zuchowitz, who began the school year as assistant principal at Franklin School and has also taught at McKinley and Peabody Charter schools.

“Having worked with Jo Ann Caines, as well as a number of Adams teachers, I know how hard she has worked to build a cohesive team of staff, parents and community partners that are focused on the academic achievement of Adams’ students.”

Also getting a new assignment is Patricia Santiago, who was named interim principal at Washington School, where principal Beatrice Rubio-Cordeiro is on a long-term medical leave.

Santiago taught at several local elementary schools, including Franklin and Peabody, and most recently served as assistant principal at La Cumbre.

“Washington has a long history of academic excellence, which can be attributed to its dedicated teachers and committed parents,” Santiago said. “It is my hope that my experience as a leader at Peabody Charter School and La Cumbre Junior High School will enhance the strong educational program already in place.”

Meanwhile, the school board changed Santa Barbara Junior High principal Susan Salcido’s interim status to permanent.

“I am pleased that we are able to draw from our exceptional pool of district administrators to meet our midyear … needs,” interim Superintendent Brian Sarvis said.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on January 27, 2005.

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