At Traina Elementary School, in the Jefferson School District, Jon Ovick has been hired as principal after serving in the Brentwood School District, while Shameram Karim will move from Tracy Unified to serve as his vice principal.
Shannon Bancroft, a six-year teacher at West High School, will move into the role of assistant principal after teaching English since August 2006, according to a district press release that announced the hire Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Traina Elementary School
Ovick took the position of principal based on the “overall performance of the district.”
“I was impressed and attracted to the position by the class sizes and how the district puts the child first,” said the 34-year-old. “Kindergarten through eighth grade — that nine years is the biggest chunk in a child’s education that you can have, and it’s the best chance to have an impact.”
Leading the school forward, Ovick said the he wanted to “continue implanting the things in place that have created a successful culture at the school.”
Since school began Aug. 13, Ovick said he has been meeting individually with all staff members, and he is asking that they take him a list detailing three strengths of the school, areas for potential growth and how they define the culture of the school.
He is compiling those lists for a “commitment bulletin board” that will be posted in the staff room.
“It’s a reminder of why we’re all here and the goals that we want to meet as a staff,” said Ovick, who previously worked for five years as a middle school principal in the Brentwood School District. “It also helps me understand the culture and the expectations of the staff.”
Ovick said several challenges that he faces as principal include building relationships with staff and students, empowering teachers, maintaining security on campus and identifying students in need and addressing their academic, social and emotional issues.
These challenges can be met, he said, by building successful relationships with parents. A recent example is the school starting a Facebook page to keep parents better connected.
“Edgewood is a great neighborhood, and I want to make the school the hub of the community, where it’s something to embrace and people want to come for activities,” Ovick said.
Joining the new principal’s administrative staff is Karim as vice principal.
The 30-year-old worked previously for Tracy Unified School District as a general and special-education teacher and was principal of summer school for TUSD.
She said the district’s attention to “academic rigor in the classroom” and it’s steps toward “addressing the (education and care of the) whole child” were main factors in her taking the position.
“It seems that the district gets the educational process,” Karim said.
As a new administrator, Karim said that this year she is most focused on getting to know the parents, staff and students.
“This year, I want to be building trust,” she said, “and through that time, and having that open-door policy, parents will learn to trust you, because they know they can come and talk.”
Karim started fulfilling that pledge by attending various student- and parent-sponsored club meetings since the school year began and greeting students in the mornings and afternoons with principal Ovick.
“I’m very excited for a great year working with the staff and getting to know the families,” she said.
West High School
Before accepting the job of assistant principal, Bancroft served West High in several capacities, as a Western Association of Schools and Colleges leadership team member, Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment support provider, SAT test site supervisor and activities director.
She will continue teaching English classes until Tracy Unified hires her replacement, she said. While there is no timeline for the transition, Bancroft said she has “wanted and been interested in moving into an administrative position.”
“I’ve been looking forward to the new challenges,” Bancroft said. “Working with the administration during the last couple of years has been gearing up to meet the new challenges (of being assistant principal).”
Bancroft previously taught English for the Stockton Unified and Livermore Unified school districts.
“Her varied experience, dedication to the students and staff in our community and warm personality will benefit West High tremendously in this new role,” Superintendent James Franco stated in the Tuesday press release.
As assistant principal, Bancroft said she wanted to maintain the “welcoming, positive attitude” that she had in the classroom, to encourage students in their studies. She also hopes to engage parents as an indirect way of further influencing students.
“I’m very excited about this year,” Bancroft said. “Our staff seems very excited and motivated, and I expect everything to be great.”
• Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing series highlighting new administrators at area schools.
• WHAT: Principal, Traina Elementary School
• AGE: 34
• EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, California State University, Chico, with a concurrent program to earn a level 1, mild to moderate special-education teaching credential and a multiple-subject credential; master’s degree in educational psychology, during which time he also earned a level 2 special-education credential and an administrative services credential
• WHAT: Vice principal, Traina Elementary School
• AGE: 30
• EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in social studies from Chapman University in Orange, where she also earned two master’s degrees for teaching and special education; administrative services credential from California State University, Stanislaus
• WHAT: Assistant principal, West High School
• AGE: 36
• EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from California State University, Hayward; master’s degree in education from University of Phoenix; and administrative services credential from California State University, Stanislaus