In June, after the departure of former principal Karen Van Putten from San Lorenzo Valley High School, superintendent Laurie Bruton searched for a new principal, ultimately asking San Lorenzo Valley Middle School’s principal, Jeff Calden, to step up to the plate.
Calden has already served as a principal for a number of years, and has had experience with the high school from teaching as an english teacher for five years. Calden was happy at his previous job as the middle school principal, and was surprised by the request to change schools. He thought that the change would be a good experience, but admitted that his choice to accept the job offer was made much easier when Shannon Calden, his wife and current principal of the middle school, was asked to move up from her former post as the elementary school principal. With her at the middle school, he was sure that the middle school would be in good hands.
Calden had a little trouble adjusting to his new role, commenting that “In some ways, it’s the same job, some ways it’s very different. Oh, and the kids are taller.” Some of the most prominent differences between the two schools are how he has to help manage AP testing, manage the large amounts of sports, keep track of kids who wanted to take classes at Cabrillo, and arrange classes so that kids would receive all of their credits.
Despite any trouble he might have had adjusting in the beginning, currently Calden is hard at work doing what he can to make “this a place people want to come to and are proud to be apart of.” He named Ned Hearn the new vice principal, after the departure of Keri Billings last year, as a great help and partner in his goals for the school year. Calden is continuing many initiatives that have been set as goals in previous years. He will continue to integrate technology into the classroom, for example, making it more available by letting students check out chromebooks at the library. He is also continuing a long-standing goal to make the campus a safe and secure place for all students and to remove harmful influences such as drugs or alcohol. To help achieve this goal, S.L.V. has accepted the School Resource Officer program back again, this time welcoming Deputy Kris Koenig. Koenig has his own office at the school and has begun integrating himself into student life, even becoming one of the school’s football coaches. Calden and Hearn can also often be seen walking around the campus, to make sure people are following the rules, to remind kids that they’re there, and for Calden and Hearn to get to know the students better.
Calden has taken many steps to creating a better school, with a focus on getting to know kids individually and continuing what initiatives best benefit our school.
By Julia Poetzinger