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Saugus Union administrator Cory Pak replaces Karen Hurley at Palm Crest Elementary

Palm Crest Elementary School Principal Cory Pak, LCUSD Supt. Wendy Sinnette
Newly appointed Palm Crest Elementary School Principal Cory Pak, left, with La Cañada Unified Supt. Wendy Sinnette. Previously an administrator with Saugus Unified School District for 17 years, Pak was appointed principal in a special meeting Wednesday.
(Sara Cardine/La Cañada Valley Sun)

After more than two (albeit quiet) weeks with no one at the helm, Palm Crest Elementary School now has a new principal, after the La Cañada school board appointed Santa Clarita-area administrator Cory Pak to the position Wednesday.

Board members convened a special meeting and unanimously approved the appointment of Pak, who comes to La Cañada Unified from Saugus Union School District, where he served as principal at three elementary school sites during his 17-year tenure.

Before that, the father of two worked as an elementary school teacher with Riverside Unified School District from 1997 to 2001.

He replaces former Palm Crest Principal Karen Hurley, who was appointed last month to serve as LCUSD’s director of programs and services effective July 1.

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Pak’s appointment is effective July 29. His starting salary will be $145,582, district figures indicate.

Supt. Wendy Sinnette said Wednesday the district immediately began interviewing candidates to find a suitable replacement for Hurley and were impressed by Pak’s long administrative experience and thoughtful replies to the interview questions.

“We had a very comprehensive initial round of interviews [with] panel members who, to a person, identified him as someone who could really connect with and lead the Palm Crest Community in a dynamic and inspired way,” she said, adding that references praised Pak’s emotional intelligence as well as his IQ.

Pak attended Wednesday’s meeting with wife, Michelle, and daughters, 13-year-old Victoria Grace and Elizabeth Love, 10. The two girls plan to attend LCUSD schools in the fall, he said, and are both nervous and excited about the transition.

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The new principal thanked several Palm Crest employees also in attendance.

“I look forward to being the best partners together for our school,” Pak said. “I’ve heard nothing but the best about the Palm Crest staff.”

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