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School Board Fills Three Administrative Posts


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By Lookout Staff

May 17, 2024 -- The School Board on Thursday approved the appointments of three key administrators -- two principals and the coordinator of special education.

Dr. Brenda Clarke, who brings "decades of experience" in the fields of education and business will assume the post of Special Education Coordinator, District officials said.

She has served as assistant principal of student outcomes at Santa Barbara High School and in the special education department at Palisades Charter High School.

Dr. Clarke earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from University of Illinois, a master’s degree in business administration from University of Chicago and a master's degree in special education, and math teaching at Northeastern Illinois University.

She also has autism and English language learner certifications from UCLA and a doctorate in educational leadership and administration from USC.

She has been involved with "multi-tiered systems of support," building strong relationships with families, implementing safety programs and "collaborating with site leadership, curriculum development and budgeting."

Walter Gavidia will assume the post of Samohi House Principal
after having served as assistant principal, administration designee and math coordinator over the past 14 years.

He has held leadership roles that have included designing a math curriculum and heading an engineering program literacy team, District officials said. He also has worked with English learner students and special education students.

Gavidia has taught Career Tech Ed (CTE) engineering, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, adult ed, calculus and tutored in physics, engineering and college-level essay writing.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with coursework in multi-variable calculus, differential equations, engineering and physics, from University of La Verne and a master’s degree in education administration from Concordia University Irvine.

Gavidia was "a drone club leader of a high school team that placed first in the US National Aerospace Robotics Competition." He is bilingual in Spanish.

The School Board also approved the appointment of Elizabeth Ipina as principal of Edison Language Academy, where she has worked for 28 years, the last three as assistant principal half time while serving as assistant principal of Grant Elementary the other half.

Ipina has worked as a dual immersion teacher, intensive intervention summer school teacher and a language and literacy interventionist for Edition, as well as serving as a testing coordinator.

She has served as the administrative designee since 2000, supporting the principal and overseeing administrative duties when the principal is off campus.

Ipina earned a bachelor’s degree in world arts and cultures from UCLA and a master’s degree in reading and language arts from CSU Los Angeles. She previously studied abroad in Spain and Mexico and is bilingual in Spanish.

She will replace Lori Orum, who has served as the Edison Principal for the past 19 years and will retire next month.

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