Muirlands principal Harlan Klein to move to Bishop’s School this fall in La Jolla


The Bishop’s School announced that Muirlands Middle School principal Harlan Klein will step in as Head of Bishop’s Middle School in August. Klein will succeed Carol Barry, who was promoted to Interim Head of School for the 2018-2019 academic year, replacing Aimeclaire Roche who is leaving to head Cranbrook Schools in Michigan.

According to the announcement: “In a search that garnered a national pool of candidates, Mr. Klein’s longstanding tenure as an experienced middle school principal and educator was a particularly appealing quality. Equally compelling was his keen insight about classroom pedagogy, his dedication to professional growth and coaching, the effective application of technology, and his good humored, caring affinity for students and community.”

Head of School Roche told the Light: “The Bishop’s community is thrilled to welcome Harlan Klein. We were drawn to Harlan because of his deep experience as a standing middle school principal.

“As well, he has a keen eye for quality instruction and engaged learning, and he is particularly attuned to the needs of middle school students. Harlan’s talents will complement those of our whole administration and faculty and we are thrilled to welcome him as a new colleague.”

Klein holds bachelor’s degrees in both environmental science and economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He also holds a master of education in cross-cultural teaching from National University and a master of arts in leadership studies from the University of San Diego.

He was appointed principal at Muirlands Middle School in 2014, after serving as principal of Toler Elementary (2003-2008) and Innovation Middle School (2008-2014).

In 2007, Klein received the Technology Training Foundation of America’s “Technology Hero” Award.

Of the new appointment, Klein told the Light: “There is so much that Bishop’s has to offer to the community and its students that is not comparable to any of my public school experience.

“I see this as a learning opportunity, because while I’m there to support the teachers, it is a chance for me to foster relationships between adults and students. That is something I value, and I think I can uphold the existing Bishop’s tradition of rapport with the administrators and the middle school students, and have it continue as they articulate through high school.

“I bring a willingness and ability to ask good questions and force reflection to consider where there is opportunity for improvement. The school has historically been successful, so that would not necessarily mean changing anything, but building on what works and looking at what could be improved.”

The next principal for Muirlands Middle School has yet to be determined. In accordance with San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) policy, the position will be posted in the coming months and candidates will be vetted. “Once a candidate is selected, I will support them how I can to move the school in the direction the new principal sees fit to help them put their stamp on an already successful school,” Klein said.

By way of parting words for the Muirlands community, he said: “I have nothing but positive appreciation for the parents and community, for supporting my work and being so consistently communicative, going above and beyond to support the students and staff at every turn. It’s an active community. I’m so appreciative of the high level of adult support for the entire school community. Muirlands has a history of volunteers being involved and supporting school-wide initiatives, not just looking at the experience of a small subset. Being the principal has been a tremendously rewarding experience.”

The announcement of Klein’s move comes at a time of turmoil across La Jolla public schools. A SDUSD investigation is underway to look at corrective action after a controversial cartoon ran in the La Jolla High School newspaper. Further, Bird Rock Elementary School principal Amanda Hale is “taking time off” in light of allegations from parents about conduct. In the meantime, former Muirlands Middle School principal (and Klein’s predecessor) Chris Hargrave is serving as temporary Bird Rock principal.