Walker Named Principal

Jessie Kathan, News Editor

After a lengthy application process, the next Campolindo principal has been selected. John Walker was announced as Carol Kitchen’s replacement at a School Board meeting on Wednesday May 2nd.

Walker, who will officially become principal on July 1, is currently Assistant Principal at San Ramon Valley High. He has worked as Assistant Principal there for 5 1/2 years; before that, he was a social studies teacher at a variety of schools. A Bay area native, Walker grew up in Kensington and went to El Cerrito High before attending the University of Pennsylvania. He said as a result of his upbringing and employment, he is “very familiar with Campolindo” was attracted to the position by “Campo’s academic reputation” as well as the “active community” and support from parents and the district.

Walker described his leadership style as “inclusive”, adding “I like to include as many people in the decision-making process as possible,” including students, teachers, parents, and classified staff (such as administrators and counselors).

He met teachers in a meet-and-greet last week and attended a meeting with parents on May 10th. To become more familiar with the school, Walker will attend Open House and the MEF showcase  and in the coming weeks will visit with the Leadership class.

According to Vice-principal Sharon Bartlett, Walker was chosen from a pool of fifty applicants, who were put through a rigorous selection process. After a writing and leadership exam, the six most promising candidates attended three panel interviews: one with parents, one with classified employees, and one with teachers.

According to registrar Deanna Rauch, the classified panel was looking for candidates with “leadership ability, enthusiasm, compassion and vision.” Although a confidentiality agreement precluded the panel members from commenting on individual candidates, Rauch said the applicants included a “pretty wide range of backgrounds,” although according to Leadership teacher Dino Petrocco, all were from California.

Although students were not a part of any of the panels, Petrocco said they “were integrated into the process;” Superintendent John Nickerson talked to the Leadership class about their opinions.

According to Rauch, each panel submitted recommendations to the board about the most promising candidates. The classified employees put fourth a recommendation with the top three candidates; the teachers recommended two. After that, the top three candidates were involved in an extensive interview with principals from other district schools and the District Cabinet. From there, Walker, the top candidate, went through a more extensive background check and interviews in what Bartlett described as a “pretty involved process.”

“The most important thing,” said Petrocco, “is people need to be patient and understand this person is not Mrs. Kitchens,” and “give them a chance to settle in.”