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Search on for new principal at Bird Rock Elementary

The search for Bird Rock Elementary School’s new principal is in full swing, and it started with a community meeting to establish a criteria of qualities the ideal candidate will have to best match students’ needs. The position opened this summer when former principal Sally Viavada accepted a position as principal of Tierrasanta Elementary School, which she attended as a child.

The district had a meeting with teachers the morning of Sept. 15, and then with parents and community members later that day in the school auditorium.

“Bird Rock Elementary is a special place and we had a big turnout,” said Mitzi Merino, San Diego Area Superintendent. “What was great for us was, when I read the criteria the teachers put together to the parents, they said they were looking for similar qualities, so they were all on the same page.”

based on that criteria — which could not be shared to give any potential candidate an advantage — a panel of teachers and parents will come together to head the search. Merino said she would like to have “a nice candidate pool” by spring 2016.

She explained it is harder to find a new principal, let alone the perfect one for Bird Rock Elementary, once the school year has begun, when most principals have committed to a school site. In the meantime, the panel will search for an interim leader.

To have someone at the helm on the first day of school, the district brought in retired principal Bruce McGirre, who will stay at bird rock until Sept. 25. Taking over for McGirre will be Patricia Ludi, also a retired principal. She will stay on until the interim principal is found.

McGirre said he applauded the district’s approach to finding a permanent principal, rather than having substitutes throughout the year, because it provides consistency for the students.

“I’ve only been here three weeks and I’ve already bonded with these kids, and I’m sure Patricia will have the same experience, but it’s important the kids see the same face all year long. but the last thing you want is to rush the process and have a mismatch. You don’t want someone the community isn’t behind.”