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Elise Simmons Named Santa Barbara High Principal as District Announces New Appointments

Elise Simmons Click to view larger
Elise Simmons

The appointments of two new principals in the Santa Barbara Unified School District were announced Tuesday night .

Elise Simmons was tapped to lead Santa Barbara High School, while Anna Scharfeld will serve in a similar role at the Santa Barbara Community Academy, according to district spokeswoman Lauren Bianchi Klemann.

The naming of two other administrators also was announced.

Steve Vizzolini was chosen as the district’s director of facilities and modernization, and Kathy Serrano was named coordinator of after-school and extended learning.

Simmons, who has been with the district for 19 years, will be the second woman to lead Santa Barbara High School in its more than 140 year history.

“Serving as the next principal of Santa Barbara High School is a wonderful opportunity,” Simmons said. “After being gone for three years, I am eager to work alongside Santa Barbara high school’s hardworking, solution-oriented and dynamic team. I can’t wait to once again walk through the historic hallways, wearing my olive and gold, and feeling the spirit of ‘Once a Don, Always a Don’.”

Simmons has been a teacher, an assistant principal (Santa Barbara High School), and a principal (Alternative Education).

She earned her bachelor of arts and masters in education from the UC Santa Barbara, and a doctorate from Concordia University in Chicago.

“Elise Simmons’s professional experience as a strong instructional leader is impressive,” said Shawn Carey, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education. “Simmons’s core values and strengths in collaborative decision making, engaging students and teachers, and strategic planning will continue to provide the leadership needed to promote the academic success of all students.” 

Anna Scharfeld Click to view larger
Anna Scharfeld

Scharfeld has been serving as the interim assistant principal for the Santa Barbara Community Academy since December.

She has been an educator for 18 years, 14 of them as a classroom teacher of every grade level from kindergarten to sixth.

She has worked in Stockholm, Sweden, as well as for Goleta Union, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara Unified School Districts.

“I am beyond thrilled to be able to stay at Santa Barbara Community Academy,” Scharfeld said. “Learning and improvement is a passion of mine and I am determined to work with the Santa Barbara Community Academy families and our dedicated teachers to provide the best education for our students.”

Steve Vizzolini Click to view larger
Steve Vizzolini

Vizzolini has been a member of Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Facilities Department team for 30 years.

The director of facilities and modernization is responsible for the planning, funding, construction, modernization, and maintenance of school facilities. He also coordinates and supervises the ongoing maintenance of district facilities.

“The selection of Steve Vizzolini is a natural fit for our district,” said Meg Jette, assistant superintendent of business services. “Steve knows our facilities and staff as well as anyone in our district, and can hit the ground running to continue the important work that benefits all students, and that is to provide leadership for our district school facilities including the implementation of the community’s bond-funded projects.”

Vizzolini is a 1979 graduate of Dos Pueblos High School, and received his vocational training at Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Kathy Serrano Click to view larger
Kathy Serrano

Serrano began her career with the district in 1990, and has served in a variety of positions.

Most recently, Serrano she has been a fifth-grade teacher at Monroe Elementary School, where she is an active member of a number of leadership committees.

The coordinator of after-school and extended learning is responsible to plan, organize, and direct the After School/Expanded Learning operations and activities; that includes: coordinate, direct and monitor instructional activities, curriculum standards, personnel and communications to meet school district needs and enhance educational effectiveness of the After School/Expanded Learning programs.

“All of the selections, with the exception of the appointment of Anna Scharfeld to Santa Barbara Community Academy, followed a competitive and collaborative performance based interview process comprised of individuals who represent parents, teachers, staff, community and business partners as well as district officials,” Bianchi Klemann said. 

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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