As students prepare to head back to the classroom with their new shoes, backpacks and school supplies, pupils in the Oakley and Byron school districts have something else to add to that list – new principals.
In Oakley, Colleen Creswell will be taking over from longtime O’Hara Park Middle School Principal Roger Macdonald. Macdonald moved with his family to Humboldt County at the end of the school year to accept a position as a principal at the local high school. Creswell, a former vice principal at O’Hara Park and longtime teacher in the district, is a welcome and familiar addition to the O’Hara Park staff.
“Colleen has been a longtime and valued Oakley school district employee,” said Oakley Union School Superintendent Rick Rogers. “We are truly fortunate and excited to have her in her new role.”
As she acclimates to her new position, Creswell will continue to focus on the programs already in place at O’Hara Park while working to maintain the positive relationship between the elementary and middle school communities.
“I’m very interested in keeping the community involvement at the elementary level and bridging it here to the middle school level,” said Creswell. “O’Hara Park is a great school, and for me this feels a little bit like coming home. I’m looking forward to a great year and to making this as seamless a transition for everyone as possible.”
The Byron Union School District will see two new faces in principals’ offices this year. Tom Jones replaces Timber Point Elementary Principal Brian Burnight, and Kelly Basmagian will be promoted from vice principal to principal of Excelsior Middle School, replacing former principal Charles Miller. Miller has accepted a position in the Moraga Unified School District and Burnight has moved back to his home state of Iowa to be closer to extended family. Kathleen Brown, formerly from the Brentwood Union School District, will slide into Basmagian’s VP seat at Excelsior.
“Kelly worked with us at the vice principal level and did an outstanding job, and both she and Tom rose to the top of the application process without question,” said Byron Superintendent Ken Jacopetti. “They both have a strong skill set and are strong education leaders based on integrity. Kathleen has an extensive special-education and administrative background and she comes highly, highly recommended. It’s going to be a great year.”
Jones was an elementary school teacher for 10 years before becoming the vice principal of Park Middle School in the Antioch Unified School District in 2010. The Brentwood resident and married father of four is proud to become a member of the Timber Point community and hopes to maintain the quality standards that have garnered the district two California Distinguished School awards.
“I’ve had my eye on this district for a long time,” said Jones. “In part because I love the idea of a small district and because I am at heart an elementary school guy. But I don’t plan to come in here and start flipping everything on its end. I know my predecessor had a lot of communication with the parents and the staff, and those things that the school community is familiar with will continue. There is a great school culture in place here and I’m looking forward to learning the ropes.”
Basmagian, who lives in Brentwood and has three children, is delighted to be Excelsior’s new principal. “I can’t wait to take on this fabulous journey at Excelsior,” he said. “I look forward to working with the community – the parent community – and plan to focus on staff development and moving toward some of the programs we’ve been working on. I am absolutely thrilled to be here.”