Two new assistant superintendents will start work this summer in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, Superintendent Dave Cash announced Tuesday night.
He has created an assistant superintendent position for each the elementary and secondary schools, and the Board of Education approved hiring McKinley Elementary Principal Emilio Handall and Clovis West High School Principal Ben Drati, respectively.
Handall is only the second principal in the county to help a school get out of No Child Left Behind’s program improvement, and he said high expectations for students by all staff members made the difference, along with actively involving parents.
His colleagues at McKinley encouraged him to apply for the new position, and he said he’s very much looking forward to working with the same people and working on district progress on a wider scale.
He worked in the Oxnard and Hueneme school districts before coming to Santa Barbara. He has a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a master’s degree in education from the University of Laverne and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Azusa Pacific University.
Drati, who worked with Cash in the Clovis Unified School District, has experience as a principal, chemistry teacher and coach. He is a refugee from Uganda who started his education in the United States as an English learner.
He credits his own dedicated educators to his successes, which include getting a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, a master’s degree in education leadership from National University and a doctorate in education leadership from Fresno State.
When he and Cash worked together in Fresno. They talked a lot about education strategies and Santa Barbara, Drati said, which makes him excited about the opportunity to work in the Santa Barbara district.
Cash noted that Handall and Drati are replacing “two irreplaceables” — associate superintendent of education Robin Sawaske is retiring, and Cynthia White, director of curriculum and categorical programs, is moving to Cleveland Elementary to serve as principal.
Washington Principal Demian Barnett will head Peabody Charter School next year, so the board approved a replacement at Tuesday’s meeting.
The new Washington principal is Anne Hubbard, assistant principal at Lawson Middle School in Cupertino, who also has worked as an assistant principal and teacher in San Jose and Paso Robles. She got her teaching credential and master’s degree in educational leadership on the Central Coast — at UCSB and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, respectively.