Fillmore District welcomes four new principals
Parents and students get ready... school begins August 13. There are a lot of changes going on; make sure you read the marque’s that are located at some of the schools, they will keep you informed.
Parents and students get ready... school begins August 13. There are a lot of changes going on; make sure you read the marque’s that are located at some of the schools, they will keep you informed.

The first day of school is only two weeks away on August 13th; schools are gearing up for the start of a new year. Over 3,800 children will be enrolled in Fillmore public schools this year.
Four schools have new principals. The Larkins’ retirements created two openings, and Superintendent Jeff Sweeney took the opportunity to shuffle staff so that the right people are where they need to be to accomplish the most good. John Wilber has returned from teaching to be principal again at Fillmore High School (FHS). Todd Schieferle, formerly Dean of Students at Fillmore Middle School (FMS), was promoted to Principal of FMS. Tony Held, who had been the Principal of FMS, is the Principal of the recently re-named Sierra High School (previously known as “C” School). Chrissy Schieferle is now Principal of Mountain Vista Elementary School.
Ms. Schieferle was an Assistant Principal at FHS last year, and had been a teacher at FMS. She explained that her first quasi-administrative position as a coordinator, "Opened my eyes to the big picture and the impact that administrators have on school systems." She is an idea person who appreciates the opportunity to make her ideas happen, and is looking forward to bringing teachers together and supporting them. She grew up in Fillmore, and her children are attending public schools here.
This is the third year Mountain Vista has been open. This year's motto is "Be kind, be responsible, be the change." There is a new character development program with monthly character education assemblies and a rewards system. The staff is disseminating a Wildcat Pledge for Success which includes listening, treating others as I would like to be treated, respecting diversity, remembering that people care about me, and trying my best. There is also a new staff development plan. Mountain Vista will be having a kindergarten orientation August 8th from 6:00 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be a Parent Tea August 13th at 8:30 a.m. to allow parents to meet school staff and ask questions.
San Cayetano Elementary School enters its second year of being a NASA Explorer School. Teachers Melanie Schrock and Brandi Walk attended a one-week robotics workshop at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. This year fourth and fifth graders at San Cayetano will have the opportunity to participate in a beginning robotics program, which will culminate in a team being sent to a robotics competition this spring. Principal Jan Marholin and Teacher Inger Overton attended a one-week workshop at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia regarding the NASA Explorer program. San Cayetano will continue to be a NASA Explorer School possibly forever, and NASA will continue to provide resources and opportunities, but NASA will not provide funding beyond the third year, so San Cayetano is looking into alternative funding.
San Cayetano has purchased digital learning network equipment that will allow video conferencing. Marholin plans on using the equipment in assemblies to provide virtual educational field trips. The school will be able to connect not only to NASA-related researchers and test pilots, but also to California state parks and museums. The researcher would appear via a projector and the assembled students would be able to ask questions. This equipment could also be used between schools; for example, an assembly of students at a school in Missouri could meet with the assembled San Cayetano students.
San Cayetano's field has been graded and re-seeded. San Cayetano also has a new classroom, a new cafeteria floor, and new blue exterior paint. Eagle Scouts from Boy Scout Troupe 406 have landscaped the front of the school.
Some storage buildings were eliminated at Piru Elementary School to clean up the campus, but otherwise education continues as expected. Principal Richard Durborow commented, "This school year we will continue to offer challenging and information-rich learning environments where students are encouraged to become critical thinkers who not only learn California content standards but also learn invaluable lessons of self-control and mutual respect. . . . We look forward to a great year working with [students and their families]."
Sespe Elementary School is closed for vacation this week, so staff were unavailable for comment, but the office will re-open on Monday.
Todd Schieferle, the new Principal at FMS, had been an Academic Counselor for over 10 years before becoming Dean of Students. The Dean of Students is similar to an Assistant Principle, but mostly handles discipline. Mr. Schieferle states, "My personal vision for the school includes three main priorities: school safety, high quality education, and creating a positive school environment." He believes middle school is "one of the most important times for parents to be involved in their children's lives at school." He encourages parnets to visit and volunteer, and wants them to feel welcome. For more information, parents can contact the Academic Counselors Dena Wyand and Ronda Reyes at 524-6055.
FMS is implementing a new rotating schedule. Although the classes will stay the same, the order of the classes will rotate every three weeks so that teachers will be seeing each class at a different time during the day. There will also be an advisory period for students to receive extra help or enrichment. FMS will also have a late start on Wednesday mornings, starting the second week of school, to provide teachers with collaboration time.
There will be new drop-off and pick-up procedures at FMS this year. Cars are required to enter at the 2nd and Yucca St. entrance, and exit only through the A St. gate. This is expected to reduce the risk of accidents.
There are six new teachers at the middle school. FMS is continuing the skateboarding program which started last year as a part of P.E. This year's school mission is "Together we will . . . think, believe, create, achieve."
FMS and FHS have new Assistant Principals. Tricia Godfrey used to teach at FMS. Last year she was the district office coordinator for the Bridges after school program. This year she will be back at FMS as Vice Principal. Carol Barringer takes over the Bridges coordinator position, and will also be job sharing with Geri Lunde, who continues as Principal of Sespe Elementary. Geri Lunde will be principal 80% of the time and Carol Barringer will cover the remaining 20% on a pre-arranged personalized schedule. Ellen Green, previously at Maricopa High School in Kern County, will take Chrissy Schieferle’s place as the new Assistant Principal at FHS.
Fillmore Community High School, commonly known as "C" School, was renamed at the end of the last school year. The students themselves, through their own ASB, suggested a new name and made their case to the School Board. The school is now Sierra High School. The students also selected a motto and a new mascot, the Warrior. According to Tony Held, the new name reflects a shift in philosophy. The school is moving away from being a continuation high school and becoming more of an alternative high school. An alternative high school combines elements of a traditional high school with a focus on individual needs; it provides allowances for alternative learning styles and smaller classes. Sierra will be offering more direct instruction than "C" School did. Plans are being made to move the school to a new campus, located where a few old junior high buildings still remain, for the 2009-2010 school year. Held is looking to expand the program when the school has more space, but for now he is looking forward to getting to know the students and school.
FHS is holding Freshman Orientation on Monday, August 4th, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration will be August 7th and 8th. If parents have not received registration materials, they should contact the school at 524-6100.
FMS will be distributing schedules and registering students on August 11th and 12th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.