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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 6:21 pm | Fair 59º


School District Hires Jennifer Foster as Principal of La Colina Junior High School in Santa Barbara

Jennifer Foster Click to view larger
La Colina Junior High School assistant principal Jennifer Foster was hired as principal and starts July 1. She will replace retiring principal David Ortiz.  (Courtesy photo)

The Santa Barbara Unified school board hired Jennifer Foster as principal of La Colina Junior High School, where she will start as the campus' first female leader on July 1. 

Foster, who is currently assistant principal at La Colina, was chosen after a competitive selection process that follows the district’s collaborative performance-based interview procedure, district spokeswoman Lauren Bianchi Klemann said.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education voted to hire her Tuesday night, after an interview panel — comprised of 19 teachers, staff, district officials, parents and community partners — unanimously selected Foster, Klemann said.

Foster will take over leadership from longtime La Colina Principal David Ortiz, who announced his plans to retire in January after more than four decades overseeing students and families.

Foster has 19 years of administrative experience in junior high and high schools and said she is thrilled to be picked as the new principal.

“La Colina prides itself on its strong academic achievement and efforts to prepare all students for high school and beyond,” Foster said in a statement Wednesday. “I am honored to continue to be a part of this school culture and look forward to engaging with students, staff, parents and the community in my new position.”

She is recognized for her collaborative leadership and efforts to promote equity, support social-emotional learning, employing practices that encourage building, maintaining and repairing relationships in a school community, and build skills that drive academic success, according to Klemann.

“Jennifer Foster has consistently demonstrated instructional leadership over the last three years at La Colina Junior High that has earned the respect of students, families and staff,” Superintendent Cary Matsuoka said in a statement. “We are delighted to have Jennifer’s depth of experience and trusted skill-set within our district leadership team, and for the La Colina school community.”

Foster is a Santa Barbara County native with a bachelor of arts degree in history and a master's in education from UC Santa Barbara, according to the district.

David Ortiz Click to view larger
Longtime La Colina Principal David Ortiz speaks during a December 2018 Partners in Education event.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

She received a master of arts degree in education administration and supervision from San Jose State University.

Foster also has a Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development Certificate.

In 2013, she was awarded the prestigious county Education Office Crystal Apple Educator Award in recognition of her dedication, instructional and motivational skills.

La Colina Junior High serves about 900 seventh grade and eighth grade students.

More than 35 percent of the students come from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and about 6 percent are English-language learners, according to Klemann.

The school opened its doors in 1959 on a 29-acre site located at 4025 Foothill Road in Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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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