Disney Elementary School Principal Linda Reksten, hailed by President
George W. Bush for turning around an underperforming school, is
leaving the Burbank Unified School District at the end of the month.
Reksten, who has been with the district for 21 years, including 17
as Disney principal, will join The Pulliam Group, a Redlands-based
educational consulting service. In her new post, she will work with
underperforming schools nationwide.
At a White House reception in June, Reksten was honored by Bush,
who called her an “educational hero” for her role in reversing
student performance at Disney.
“I was very humbled by that,” she said.
Although Disney was a California Distinguished School in 1997, by
1999 the school’s sub-population groups had brought down its overall
test scores, Reksten said.
“We had an extensive technology program, great parent
participation and teaching staff, but the achievement piece was not
there,” she said.
To increase test scores, Reksten said the school focused on
“We paid attention to the kids who weren’t reading, and we brought
them up,” she said. “We did that over four years steadily.”
Although test scores have improved dramatically, Reksten said the
school still has a ways to go.
“If kids are not cutting it, we intervene with classes before and
after school,” she said. “That’s the whole point, to intervene
immediately. You just don’t wait.”
District Supt. Gregory Bowman said Reksten’s resignation is the
“Linda has done much to encourage her students and staff to be
successful,” he said. “Her shoes will be difficult to fill.”
Until a new principal is selected, Gail Copeland, who recently
retired as principal of Miller Elementary School, will fill the
vacancy at Disney.