Bill Woodard

Bill Woodard

The Santa Barbara Unified school governing board appointed two new principals in the district, both rising to lead this school year as interim principals, and holding extensive administrative and teaching backgrounds. 

Bill Woodard will oversee Dos Pueblos High School, and Rachel Gonzales-Harris will serve as the Mckinley Elementary School principal.

The hires were made official at the district’s Tuesday night board meeting.

Representatives from the Santa Barbara Unified School District could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The new principals both said they want the elementary schoolers and high school students to leave college and career ready.

Since 2004, Woodard has held positions at Dos Pueblos as an English teacher, assistant principal and interim principal, and he worked as the assistant principal of curriculum, instruction and assessment since 2011.

He was the Mock Trial coach for seven years, helping lead the Dos Pueblos students to six county championships and in the State and the Empire Mock Trial world championships.

Woodard was selected as interim principal when former Principal Shawn Carey was appointed as the district’s assistant superintendent of secondary education.

“I am confident that I can leverage the relationships I have with students, staff and families to help take DPHS to even greater heights in the coming years,” Woodard said. “I know it’s a big responsibility to be the steward of this school, and I’m excited by the challenge. DP is a great place to be.”

Woodard earned a bachelor’s degree in English at UCLA, garnered a single-subject teaching credential in English from Azusa Pacific University, and received his administrative credential from the Santa Barbara County Office of Education.

From 1998 to 2004, Woodard worked as an English teacher and varsity baseball coach at Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, California.

He received Santa Barbara Unified’s Excellence in Education award at the 145th year anniversary.

The Constitutional Rights Foundation also awarded him the Adult Advocate of the Year in 2012.

Woodard thanked Superintendent Cary Matsuoka, his mentor Carey, as well as the hiring committee, “for the honor and privilege of leading DPHS.” 

“Dos Pueblos is a community gem and a source of pride for the greater Goleta and Santa Barbara area with an outstanding, innovative staff, tremendous parent engagement and support, and central to all we do, an inclusive, student-centered culture,” Woodard said. “Nothing gives our administration, faculty and staff more pride than seeing our students succeed in all walks of life.”

Woodard will take over the permanent position July 1.

The school at 7266 Alameda Ave. in Goleta serves about 2,000 students in grades 9 through 12.

Gonzales-Harris has been working in the Santa Barbara district for 20 years.

She took over as the interim principal at the K-6 school when Principal Emilio Handall left the Santa Barbara district to join the Vista Del Mar Union School District in Gaviota.

“I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with the staff, students and families at McKinley for the last four months,” Gonzales-Harris said. “In that time, I have grown to love it. We have dedicated people who want the best for our students.”

Most recently, Gonzales-Harris taught second grade at Adams Elementary School.

Gonzales-Harris has held roles as a K-6 teacher, the assistant principal at La Colina and Goleta Valley junior high schools, and the Harding Early Years Program director at the Harding University Partnership School.

The Clovis, California, native received her administrative credential and master’s degree at California Lutheran University.

Gonzales-Harris said she was “honored” to have been selected.

“When I’m not working you will find me watching my boys play baseball and volleyball, at the beach, hiking, or watching my daughter flamenco dance for Fiesta (Old Spanish Days),” Gonzales-Harris said. 

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.