Sean Priest has taken over administration of Carlmont as acting principal, which has sparked uncertainty and curiosity among staff about the next semester of school and who the new principal will be.
Priest took over the role of principal this semester after former principal Ralph Crame left Carlmont High School. Crame left for a position as assistant superintendent of business services in another school district after 15 years at Carlmont.
Priest is the current principal of Sequoia High School, which leads him to split his time between two high schools in the Sequoia Union district.
“I plan to manage my timeshare this semester with the help of amazing administrative teams and support staff at both schools, as well as support from the Sequoia Union High School district office team,” said Priest.
Grant Steunenberg, administrative assistant director for sophomores and seniors, shows confidence in Priest’s ability to manage two different high schools.
“He has years of principal experience at Sequoia High School. He knows the policies and procedures our district has in place and is versatile in his ability to manage more than one site,” Steunenberg said.
My role at Carlmont has two main objectives: to guide us through another successful semester and to help create the ideal conditions to hire the best possible permanent replacement for Crame”
In addition to his trust in Priest, Steunenberg trusts the relationships established within the Carlmont administration to help guide the school through this leadership transition.
“Myself, Ms. Buckland and Mr. Patner have all been here long enough that we are also familiar with all school policies and procedures, so we will continue to move things in the right direction,” Steunenberg said.
Despite confidence in Priest’s ability, however, the administration and staff have concerns about the process of hiring a new manager and whether the new permanent manager will maintain the current atmosphere at Carlmont.
“There’s a sense of uncertainty as to who the next person will be,” Steunenberg said.
Kris Govani, a computer science professor at Carlmont, shares her hopes for what she and other staff members are looking for in a new director.
“It’s always a little unsettling when there is a change in leadership. As teachers, we always want a principal who is fair to everyone and who is a good communicator. Understanding the Carlmont community is also important. Every school’s culture is a little bit different, so you want a leader who will come in and get to know it and respect it before attempting any changes,” Govani said.
The hiring of a new director will take place during this semester and the decision will be made by the end of June.
“The Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources (HR) will lead the selection process for the new director. Part of this is that they contract with an outside agency to ask stakeholders, parents, staff, students and callback organizations, multiple perspectives and get their feedback on what they would like see in the next manager they hire,” Steunenberg mentioned.
Todd Beal, the Deputy Superintendent of HR, plays a vital role in hiring a new manager since he will be leading the interview.
“When they generate questions for the main interview, they’re going to ask the interview questions through the lens of the information gathered from the various stakeholders,” Steunenberg said.
This way, interviewers will find the best possible candidate. The questions will reveal the attributes and requirements that parents, students and staff are looking for in the new principal.
For now, Carlmont will remain under Priest’s management until July 1, when the new nominee will officially begin working under Carlmont’s contract.
“I care deeply about this community and believe we are connected at all of our high schools. It is a privilege to be able to work with students, families and staff in a broader role,” said Priest.