District names Stratton's replacement

Wendy Sinnette, assistant superintendent of human resources at the La Cañada Unified School District, will take over as superintendent of the district in July, replacing current Supt. Jim Stratton, who last week announced his retirement, effective at the end of the current school year.

The district's governing board filled the impending vacancy created by Stratton's announcement in less than a week, choosing to forgo a national search for candidates and opting instead to promote from within. The board chose to bypass an in-depth search to save money and because such searches haven't always yielded a good fit for the district in the past, school board member Joel Peterson said.

"We were very fortunate that Jim, in his foresight, set up a very strong team with a very deep bench that we can look to for many years to come," Peterson said. "One of those people to us was clearly Wendy Sinnette. We believe, with Jim's guidance over the next couple of months, she is going to be the best person for the job and make for the smoothest transition to carry forth and build upon what Jim has created."

Sinnette has been with La Cañada Unified since 2002. She served as principal of Palm Crest Elementary and La Cañada High School 7/8 before taking on her current role in the district's human-resources department.

"I could not be more honored and privileged to be asked to succeed Supt. Stratton in leading LCUSD," Sinnette said. "La Cañada Flintridge is an amazing community and Supt. Stratton has created a strong, nationally recognized educational program. It is a wonderful challenge and an extreme honor for me to build upon our tradition of excellence."

Stratton is confident he'll be leaving the district in good hands come July.

"Wendy has been a part of every major planning, challenge, decision and achievement in the district over the last six years," Stratton said. "I have been thrilled to work with her and I couldn't be more thrilled knowing she's the person who will carry on."

As superintendent, Sinnette said her goals will be to continue in Stratton's footsteps by maintaining the district's vision of reducing class sizes, looking for innovative ways to gain revenue for the district and protecting the district's extracurricular programs.

"With the current economic crisis, we want to make sure we provide the utmost cutting-edge, quality education to our students," Sinnette said. "Every student should know we are out there to care for them and make sure they are successful."

Sinnette will be introduced to the public at the district's next board meeting on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.

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