High school position is music to his ears

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Edward Trimis started a new era last month when he became principal of Manual Arts High School, the third oldest high school in Los Angeles.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work at a school with such a rich history, and in a school community and local district very dedicated to school improvement and change,” said Trimis, a La Crescenta resident.

Manual Arts, originally a vocational school founded in 1910, serves more than 4,100 students on a multi-track, year-round calendar. The school offers a comprehensive program to prepare students for college, post-secondary training and the workplace.

The school is across from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Olympic Swim Stadium in Downtown Los Angeles. Alumni include painter Jackson Pollack, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle and musician James Taylor.

Trimis and Moira, his wife of 23 years, moved to Southern California in 1982 from Northern California to go to school. Trimis attended Cal State Los Angeles, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and music and a master’s in music education.

“I really enjoyed working with kids and thought I could make a difference that way,” Trimis said.

For more than six years, Trimis was an assistant principal at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in the San Fernando Valley, where he worked with the staff to develop small learning communities and improve attendance, school climate and academic success for students.

Prior to working at Francis Polytech, Trimis was a grants specialist with Los Angeles Unified School District and a teacher at Huntington Park High School and Berendo Middle School.

Trimis interviewed with other high schools before choosing Manual Arts, he said.

“It’s an inner-city school, I felt I had the experience and the training,” Trimis said. “It’s one of the oldest high schools in L.A. It intrigued me to see what I could do to help this school.”

After two weeks in the position, Trimis is pushing to work on the problems identified by students, parents, teachers and staff, including tardiness, attendance and student-passing rates to make the students more successful.

“We are aware of the problems, which is a huge step in the right direction,” Trimis said. “This is definitely a different level of responsibility. I’m enjoying it. It’s rewarding and a challenge.

“My hope is that when we celebrate our centennial year in a short four years from now, we will see an even stronger Manual Arts, where every student graduates on time, is ready for college, and looks forward to being strong leaders of our community,” Trimis added.

Trimis, the father of four, has been arranging the music for Crescenta Valley High School’s marching band for the past few years and this year the band is performing his arrangement of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

“He’s helped our jazz band, our marching band,” said Matthew Schick, instrumental teacher at Crescenta Valley High School. “He’s worked very extensively and intensively with the high school and the middle school. I’m just lucky to have a parent like him.”

Trimis also occasionally plays piano for St. James Catholic Church.

“I love the La Crescenta community,” Trimis said. “In some ways it’s very much like the area I grew up in. It has a small-town feel to it.”

With his new job, Trimis said he has to better organize his time.

“One of the things that is important is keeping a balance between personal family time and work,” Trimis said. “I strive hard to maintain that balance. I want to be at Manual Arts a long time.”