As the new school year starts, it signals new beginnings for many students in the Burbank Unified School District. It also launches new positions for two local principals.
Monday marked the first day Jennifer Meglemre and Matthew Osmond welcomed students to their respective campuses where they are taking over the top jobs.
For Meglemre, who has spent almost 20 years with the school district, being the new principal at Jordan Middle School is a return to familiar territory.
She started her career with Burbank Unified as a middle school teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School, and later spent time as a middle school assistant principal and a school district administrator.
Meglemre was principal at Roosevelt Elementary the past seven years — a post that was a new experience for her when she started it.
“I thought it would be a good growing and learning experience to go there and see where kids start [their education],” Meglemre said.
While at Roosevelt, she said she developed a better understanding of how nervous parents can get when they send their child to school for the first time, and even how worried they get when their child transitions from elementary to middle school.
Meglemre added that she learned about the rise of anxiety in elementary-grade students, which she said surprised her.
“I know that some of our middle-schoolers struggle with anxiety, but there are second- and third-graders that are dealing with anxiety,” Meglemre said. “It was really shocking to me, especially as more and more kids started struggling with it and talking with their parents about it.”
In addition to helping students deal with anxiety, Meglemre said she wants to have more parent involvement at the middle-school level.
She has seen how dedicated parents of younger children can help at their elementary school, and she wants to have that same connection between parents and their child’s middle school.
“Obviously, we want to build good communication, but it’s more than that,” Meglemre said. “In Burbank, we have parents that are really talented, hardworking, savvy, professional and intelligent, and we can really use their strengths.”
Parents Robert and Jennifer Hatem were at Jordan dropping off their two daughters — one who was starting her final year at the middle school as an eighth-grader and another who was starting her first day of sixth grade.
The couple said both of their daughters attended Roosevelt when Meglemre was principal, and added that they were happy to see her transition into being a middle school principal.
“She was such an asset to Roosevelt, so when we found out that she was coming [to Jordan], we were really excited and enthusiastic about it,” Robert Hatem said.
About 2 miles away at Roosevelt Elementary, Osmond was walking around the blacktop eagerly waiting for his students to arrive.
Osmond, who is new to Burbank Unified, spent the past 17 years with the Redlands Unified School District, where he started his career as an elementary teacher and later was an assistant elementary principal and then head of a middle school.
He spent the past five years as principal at Kimberly Elementary in Redlands.
“My heart, passion and skill set is best served in an elementary-school setting,” Osmond said. “There’s a lot of excitement and positivity that begins at elementary school.”
Osmond said he’s enjoyed getting to know the Roosevelt faculty, and he looks forward to meeting his new students and getting to know them and their parents.
“I’ve done all the research that I can online, and I’ve talked to as many people as I can, and all indicators say that this is a great school,” he said. “I’m just really excited to see it in action and to be able to make a contribution to that.”