GLENDALE — The longtime girlfriend of outgoing Glendale Unified Supt. Michael Escalante has been promoted to principal of Rosemont Middle School, a move that fills the void left by the successor to the top job at Crescenta Valley High.
School district officials on Wednesday defended the promotion of Cynthia Livingston to Rosemont against any appearance of preferential treatment, pointing out that Escalante, who is retiring at the end of the semester, had no part in the selection process.
"I want to put to rest any type of doubt that Escalante had nothing to do with this at all," school board President Greg Krikorian said. "If we as a board had any doubt whatsoever, we would've kiboshed this right away."
Dick Sheehan, who'll become superintendent July 1, led the hiring processes for recent appointments, Krikorian said.
"Dick has taken over the reins since the end of May," he said. "A lot of these calls are Sheehan's and the Board of Education's decision."
Livingston, who will transfer up from her post as principal of Fremont Elementary School, has 31 years of education experience, having joined Glendale Unified as a fourth-grade teacher in 1988. Ten years later, she earned her doctorate in instructional leadership from USC.
Her new assignment at Rosemont Middle School includes slightly higher pay and oversight of more students, district officials said.
"It was natural; it was time for a change," Livingston said. "I think Sheehan and the board have confidence in my ability to work with the community, empower teachers to do great things with kids, and I believe in giving teachers every resource and support they need in order to get their jobs done."
Her relationship with Escalante hasn't yielded any professional perks, she said.
"What suits me is to stay in my community and move with my kids and stay with my Fremont families," she said. "I still feel like I'm a part of the Fremont family."
In 1997, she was promoted to principal of Fremont Elementary School, which has had long waiting lists of incoming kindergartners, Krikorian said.
"Cynthia Livingston has built a foundation of trust and leadership for the past — ever since I came to the district in 1990, and since I've been in the community," he said.
District officials conducted an internal search for a successor for Michele Doll, who'll become principal of Crescenta Valley High School this fall.
"Individuals from within expressed interest, but Livingston, after meeting with staff and parents, was the best fit for the position," said John Garcia, assistant superintendent of human resources.
Because the search was an internal personnel matter, district officials declined to state how many employees applied for the vacancy.
On Wednesday, Livingston's No. 2, Christin Walley, was named Fremont's next principal.
She has been the teacher specialist at Fremont since 2006.