BY PETER ELLISON
After a nationwide search by Leadership Associates for the position of Carmel High principaland multiple rounds of interviews and panels by administrators, teachers, parents and students, Jonathan Lyons, currently an assistant principal at La Cañada High School, has been approved by the CUSD school board to take the reinsfrom Rick Lopez at the conclusion of this school year.
After Superintendent Barbara Dill-Varga announced Lopez’s reassignment from the role of principal on Jan. 24, a search began in February that officially concluded with final approval from the school board in their April 24 meeting.
“I am hopeful that I can bring my energy and enthusiasm for teaching and learning to the school and be a support for both students and teachers to find their best possible selves,” Lyons says. “The magic is in the classroom, and my role is to help facilitate that magic and chart new ways to bring about the continued academic success of CHS while providing new ways to support students in the area of wellness.”
Lyons was among a pool of 27 total applicants selected with assistance from Leadership Associates, from which CUSD officials selected eight candidates, before leading two rounds of interviews on April 1. Both panels then agreed on three finalists out of that pool.
“It was clear to me during the interview process that Jon Lyons would be an excellent candidate for Carmel High’s next principal,” said Karl Pallastrini, past CHS principal and current CUSD board president, in a press release. “He is student-centered, a great communicator, and he has a depth of experience in areas that will help us grow.”
Although Lyons has 12 years of experience as an assistant principal at several schools, he has only one year of experience as a principal, when he headed El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, California. His educational background includes a Master’sin educational leadership and a Bachelor’sdegree in communications, as well as a teaching credential in social science and English. In his eight years as a teacher he taught AP United States History, English and Stagecraft.
“The benefit of working so long in high school is the comfort of being well-versed in all aspects of school management, but maintaining a focus on the needs of students,” Lyons says. “I genuinely enjoy all the things a high school can be, and seeing students find their path to their future gives me the greatest amount of joy.”
Members of the school board visited the schools of applicants, including a visit to La Cañada High School on April 15, where Lyons has been assistant principal for the past two years.
Rick Lopez will remain the CHS principal until Lyons takes over at the end of this school year on July 1.