Tough Talk With Hart Superintendent
With the announcement of his retirement this June, KHTS sat down with William S. Hart School District Superintendent Jaime Castellanos to get the inside scoop on his struggles, victories and the future of the district.
KHTS: "So tell us where your heart was at when you made the decision?"
Castellanos: "I've been thinking about this for several months, and what I looked at was at my general health, I'm basically relatively young. There have always been some things that I wanted to do outside of education. I looked at where the district is at with student achievement and the construction modernization program, and I felt with all things considered, that now would be a good time to retire, and I'm really looking forward to it."
KHTS: "Tells us a little about some of the highlights you've seen in your tenure."
Castellanos: "When I took the job five years ago one of the things I wanted to do was leave the district in better shape then I got it. Not that it was in bad shape but I wanted to improve upon it. The highlights as I look back are, our Academic Performance Index scores have been the highest they've ever been in the district. I inherited the lawsuit of alleged racial discriminations at Valencia High School, and as an outcome of that we have a great diversity program that is a model for the state, and we've won a Golden Bell award at the California School Board Association Conference. I also think that we have brought a renewed instructional focus to the district where student achievement is the highest priority."
KHTS: "What do you see as challenges the incoming superintendent will face in the coming years."
Castellanos: "The first thing is the state budget. It's in terrible shape and getting worse every year, so I think the next three to five years are going to be very difficult and difficult cuts will have to be made. The second thing is keeping the momentum of building a Castaic area high school in the forefront, but I'm not really worried about that. I think the five board members are focused and committed to that. Also in terms of instructional program, we have made great strides, but keeping the focus on instruction. With increased accountability and the budget impacts it's going to be more and more difficult to keep that achievement at the top."