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Mesa principal moving to district position

Costa Mesa High School Principal Phil D’Agostino is being tapped to head up discipline for Newport-Mesa Unified, district officials confirmed Thursday.

Jane Garland, former director of student services, resigned in February after she accused district administrators of mishandling the cheating scandal at Corona del Mar High School.

During her time at Newport-Mesa Unified, Garland assisted with implementing a restorative justice form of discipline, which focuses on helping students develop empathy, understand the reasons for their actions and take responsibility for wrongdoing.

District officials have vowed to continue restorative justice even after Garland’s departure. It is unclear at this time what plans D’Agostino has for the restorative justice program.


He declined to comment on his appointment at this time.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to make comments right now,” he said.

District trustees will vote on D’Agostino’s appointment during their meeting Tuesday night, said district spokeswoman Laura Boss.

D’Agostino became Mesa’s principal in 2010. Prior to that, he was principal at Estancia High School for four years, assistant principal at Estancia and a teacher at Newport Harbor High School. His experience at multiple high schools in Newport-Mesa Unified working with employees, students and various community groups will aid him as he transitions into his new role, according to a news release.


“D’Agostino possesses a keen sense of interconnectivity and impact of district-level decisions and how they have a direct impact on students,” the release stated.

Although plans to select a new principal for Mesa are still being finalized, Costa Mesa Middle School Principal Aaron Peralta will take over in the interim beginning in the fall.

Peralta will continue to maintain the momentum of projects at Costa Mesa High, including the construction of the enclave and the development of the zone specific flagship programs Delta and Ace, the release stated.

The district will appoint a retired administrator, whose name has not yet been announced, to serve in the interim as the principal of the middle school.