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Popular Principal Leaving El Cerrito High

El Cerrito High School Principal Jason Reimann is leaving to become principal of Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon. A replacement has not been appointed yet.

El Cerrito High’s popular principal, Jason Reimann, is leaving to take a position in San Ramon.

The appointment was made by the San Ramon Valley Unified School District board June 28 and takes effect July 1, according to Ginny Haddad in the San Ramon Valley superintendent’s office.

A new principal for El Cerrito High School has not yet been approved by the West Contra Costa Unified School District board.

Reimann will become principal of Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon.

The statement below is from an email Reimann sent to El Cerrito High staff Thursday:

Dear El Cerrito Family,

It saddens me to write that I will not be returning to El Cerrito High School for the 2011-2012 school year. The decision to move on has been the most difficult professional choice that I have made. This faculty is the most collaborative, caring and talented group that I have worked with. ECHS's parents and community are deeply committed and feel a deep connection to the school in a way that is rare in these times. Our students are a uniquely diverse group of young people who have been a true pleasure to serve. Despite my departure, I hope that we will have opportunities in the future to work in collaboration to improve the educational opportunities of our youth.

Being able to work with such a committed, dynamic team of professionals has been a great honor. I feel connected to El Cerrito High School and its community in a way that I cannot express. The collaborative work that you are doing is amazing and forward-thinking.

“I’m going to miss him tremendously,” said George Austin, social science department chairman and athletic director at the high school, who described Reimann as young and energetic. “The kids could see he cared.”

“I’ve survived six principals at El Cerrito High and I think he was one of the best," Austin said. "He is a thoughtful man, he’s kind, and he always put the students first not the adults.”

Austin said he hopes the school will continue a program Reimann started to help students with low test scores that includes Saturday “boot camp” study sessions. “He didn’t just look at the scores; he looked at the kids who got those scores.”

Staff members looked carefully at where students were struggling, and Reimann had ongoing interviews with the students, taking a supportive rather than punitive approach with them, Austin said. “He started with the premise that kids want to be successful.” Austin said it was very smart of Reimann to discuss students’ scores with them because many high school students have the incorrect perception that test scores don’t matter.

The following announcement is posted on the Dougherty Valley High School website: Board Approves New Principal Jason Reimann. Bio – Jason brings a rich and varied education experience with him to his new position as principal of Dougherty Valley High School. Jason began his career in Los Angeles at Fremont High School where he was an English teacher. After four years, he moved to San Francisco to become the Education Resource Manager for Job Corps on Treasure Island where he focused on development of curriculum in Math, Reading and ELD {English Language Development}. He was then appointed assistant principal of De Anza High School in Richmond. In 2007, Jason became principal of El Cerrito High School where he continued his educational leadership. Along with 8 years of successful experience as an education administrator, Jason recently completed his doctoral studies at UC Berkeley.

Reimann is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Joint Doctoral Program in Leadership for Educational Equity, which shares some faculty with the Principal Leadership Institute. Matthew Burnham, newly appointed principal at Portola Middle School, is a PLI graduate. Linda Takimoto, incoming principal of Harding Elementary School, is completing that program.

Dorothy Coakley June 30, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Oh, darn! Jason had my vote. His skill set included the ability to work with the neighborhood, mentor the students, and deflect any adverse publicity. No wonder S.R. wanted him as he's as perfect for there "youngish" district as he was for our "oldish" district. Dang.... In the meantime, I hope George Austin will step up to the plate for the duration between appointment. Coach Austin, too, is loving (and tough) on the student body while being communicative with the neighborhood. Come on, Coach...just one more time?
Dorothy Coakley June 30, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Errata: "their district" not "there district." Gertrude Stein had a point...there ain't no "their" there..
Irene Rojas-Carroll June 30, 2011 at 07:03 PM
This is a huge loss for ECHS. I'm really surprised to learn that Mr. Reimann made this choice. I loved having him as a principal because, as Mr. Austin wrote, he always put the students first and treated us as people, not statistics. He was always eager to collaborate and even learn from us. Because he respected us, we respected him. That's something special that you don't always see between an administrator and the student body. I hope the new ECHS principal can live up to the level of selfless commitment Mr. Reimann has demonstrated to our community over the past four years. Dougherty Valley is lucky to have him.
Dorothy Coakley June 30, 2011 at 07:14 PM
I agree with Irene, a hugh loss! But I can respect his decision to move to San Ramon as I have a feeling that his career path will head ever upward. (I'm already thinking of him as a potential US Secretary of Education. Hold the thought, Irene!)
Robert Menzimer June 30, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Jason was a key force in the introduction of our WriterCoach Connection program for the first time this year at ECHS, to provide individual writing support by trained community volunteers to students in class, throughout the school year. The program was such a success this year serving ECHS English Language Development classes that the school's faculty and community members are marshaling their resources to not only bring WriterCoach Connection back next year, but to expand it to serve all 9th grade students. Jason brought a rare brand of commitment, leadership, and charisma to ECHS, but I know the equally committed members of the school staff and community will work hard to continue his legacy. Robert Menzimer Executive Director Community Alliance for Learning
Todd Groves June 30, 2011 at 09:20 PM
El Cerrito, your schools need you more now than ever. For EC to thrive, our schools must succeed. To succeed, our schools need the full talents and resources abundant in our community. Jason's legacy at ECHS will remain in programs like Angaza, WriterCoach Connection and Investing in Academic Excellence. His greatest contribution is unleashing the greater community's potential to promote success for all students. In these trying times, we progressed substantially and are poised to make major achievements. Pitch in and help some kids with your time and/or money. Jason Reimann made this easy to do.
Karen Shebek June 30, 2011 at 09:22 PM
I'm sure I am joined by many who have been impressed with Jason's phenomenal skill set and contagious energy. I wish we had the chance to weigh in before Mr. Reimann made this difficult decision. We certainly wouldn't hold it against him, if due to an overwhelming outpouring of support he reconsidered! Karen Shebek, parent volunteer
Camille June 30, 2011 at 09:41 PM
He will be so missed! The district needs to get his replacement right, so all the wonderful programs that are birthing right now can survive. Since ECHS just lost it's Vice Principal and Mr. Kiuruwi, it's a very tough blow for staff, the parent organizations, and especially for the students who need those caring and familiar faces. Give us another year, Dr. R!
Ade Akanni July 01, 2011 at 05:08 AM
Mr Reimann was the best principal I have ever known, easy to approach and talk to, always put students first, I hope his replacement will measure up to expectation and keep his legacy. Good luck to Dr Reimann- Ade
Rula Adranly July 01, 2011 at 06:23 AM
Dr. Reimann has been a wonderful Principal. He set a great example for the students and inspired them to do their best. We were looking forward to his collaboration with Mr. Burnham at Portola. What a great loss!
janet enos July 01, 2011 at 06:48 AM
Jason's carved quite a name for himself here in WCCUSD. He's bound for glory and success that one. My family and I all with him the best. Happy Trails Boss!!
Lauren Childs July 01, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Also, Jason was always open to discussion with parents - engaging us, making us feel heard -just like the students. ECHS is losing three wonderful administrators this year - like Todd Groves says - let's keep the ball rolling with the programs that they have given their full support to. Of utmost importance is the collaboration with Portola and Mr. Burnham.
janet enos July 01, 2011 at 06:05 PM
I heard a rumour that we are getting David Luongo(sp?) he is from Boston and has been VP at Jfk for a spell. Just a rumour
Charles Marsden July 16, 2011 at 05:08 PM
This is a tremendous loss for ECHS! Mr. Reiman was an essential part of the school. On top of this, Mr. Garcia, our vice principal, and Mr Kiuruwi the instruction specialist have both been given potential layoff notices. In short, ECHS is screwed. The new principal looks amazing, with a very impressive resime, but the entire administrative structure has been dismantled. Only time will tell If we can piece together the shambles.
Steve Jacobson August 05, 2011 at 06:11 AM
Come on folks, you guys think Dr. Reimann would come back for a 5th year at ECHS. The guy has taken enough crap from WCCUSD. He definitely made the right move going to San Ramon. His two daughters will have a much better education there than at PMS. Congrats!!!

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