New principal to take leave

Newly hired La Cañada Elementary Principal Christine Castillo will go out on maternity leave in mid-December.

Susan Kobilarcsik, a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at the school from 1996 to 2005, will serve as interim principal until Castillo returns. La Cañada Unified School District Supt. Wendy Sinnette shared the news with La Cañada Elementary parents in a Sept. 14 memo.

Sinnette wrote that she hopes the transition will prove “smooth and seamless.”

Kobilarcsik would have the opportunity to work with Castillo on campus over the next few months, Sinnette added. Castillo is expected to return to her post in late February or early March, according to the memo.

Castillo was hired in June to replace Elissa DeAngelo, who announced her retirement from the district in the spring. An elementary school principal since 2008, Castillo came to La Cañada from the Kent School District outside Seattle after a competitive search involving more than 60 candidates, according to school officials.

La Cañada Unified school board member Ellen Multari said Castillo has quickly made inroads at La Cañada Elementary.

“I’ve heard from parents, and I understand she’s made a very strong impression on parents and teachers,” Multari said. “They all seem to be getting along well with her.”

Castillo declined comment.

Kobilarcsik, after teaching at La Cañada Elementary, spent a year as principal at the Foothills Schools, a special education program then run by the district. In 2006, Kobilarcsik became a middle-school principal in the Garvey Unified School District, a position she held for five years.

In her memo, Sinnette praised Kobilarcsik as “someone with knowledge of the [La Cañada Elementary School] site workings and personalities, as well as an expert in elementary curriculum and instruction.”

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