Even Before Stepping onto the Campus, Newly-Named San Pedro High School Principal Linda Kay Changes Her Mind and Submits Retirement Papers Instead;
The Beleaguered Harbor-Area School Has Lost Two Principals in Three Years and Remains Once Again Without a Leader
By Diana L. Chapman
With excitement brewing about a new principal coming aboard San Pedro High
School, Linda Kay “had a change of heart,” and not only removed herself from the
post she accepted – but retired from the district mid-week.
Kay, 57, who helped clean Narbonne High in a two year period before leaving
in 2008 and whose career spanned more than three decades with the Los Angeles
Unified School District
, appeared to be set for to take the reins of
San Pedro’s campus.
She surprised school officials with her decision, who have had difficulties
keeping the continuity of leadership running at the school. San Pedro High
also faces a myriad of troubles, from hanging by a thread to keep its
accreditation, overcrowding issues and test scores that are comparable
or below that of inner city schools.
Kay was supposed to replace retiring principal Bob DiPietro, who stayed
only two years before personal issues forced him to retire.
DiPietro replaced Diana Gelb, who served only for one year
“She had a change of heart and submitted retirement papers yesterday
(Wednesday),” said Linda Del Cueto, who heads the region in which San Pedro
both reside. “I don't have a replacement yet as HR Narbonne
(human resources) placed a hold on all secondary principalships.
“I know the decision was hard for Linda to make as she a is a dedicated educator
who cares about improving education for all students. Her mother is ill and
June 30, 2009gave her the opportunity to take advantage of the
retirement incentive being offered by the district.”
Reached later via email, Kay who came with a wealth of experience and held
jobs such as counselor, teacher, principal, and director of a group of
intermediate schools, wrote the decision was extremely difficult.
“I am sorry it turned out this way,” Kay explained, saying the reduction of the work
force (the district’s conducting layoffs) and continuous problems with the
trouble-plagued district's new pay roll system were both part of the reasons
she cited about her departure.
“Please know my decision to retire was difficult and I wavered until the very end.
I am sorry that I could not keep my commitment to San Pedro,” Kay wrote.
Although she’s officially retired, she will return to the district to work with her
supervisor, Del Cueto,on an as needed basis as an interim administrator where
her pool of talent can be used in “a broad and comprehensive way.”
“I value the education of students. This should be our nation’s number one priority,”
Del Cueto said at this time, she does not have a replacement, but will continue to
search for a new leader to head the school.