Return to Headlines

October 9 Friday Update: Happy National Principals Month

En Español

October 9, 2020

Happy Friday WCCUSD Community,

We just completed the first full week of National Principals Month. As a former middle school principal, I have so much appreciation and respect for the 56 principals in WCCUSD that are the leaders of their communities. The career of a principal is beautiful and taxing. Where else do you get to be in a community with a set of people dedicated toward the care and love of students?

Principals get to laugh about silly things with students and talk through the tough challenges with their teams. And it can sometimes feel lonely. There is only one principal, and many times principals have challenges that rest only on their shoulders. Principals do this every day. And they make us better and we deeply appreciate it.

So in honor of National Principals Month, I thought I would introduce you to three of WCCUSD’s fantastic principals this week. Please meet Ohlone Elementary School’s Kim Moses, who has been principal for 14 years and in the district for the same amount of time. Mira Vista K8’s Charlotte Betson, who is in her first year and has been in the district for 22 years. Pinole Valley High School’s Kibby Kleiman is in his eighth year leading the Spartans and has called the District home for 32 years. 

Kim Moses, Principal
Ohlone Elementary School

Tell us about your educational journey: I spent 12 years teaching elementary school in Oakland Unified and then spent three years as Vice Principal at Nystrom, four years as Principal at Wilson (Now Michelle Obama School), four years at Stege Elementary and the past three years at Ohlone.

What does it mean to be a principal?
Being a principal means that you are a leader of a community. It means that you have a responsibility to guide the school program and support all community members. It means that you work collaboratively with the staff, students, families, and the community at large to support the education of our children and enhance their experiences throughout teaching and learning.

What is the most rewarding part of your role? 
The most rewarding part of being a principal is watching our students learn and grow. As principal, I am a leader of a community where my role is to monitor and manage the instructional program and safety of all students. Collaborating with teachers and witnessing the learning process within their classrooms is extremely rewarding. Sharing in their successes and watching the joy of our students, as they learn and grow, makes everyday a rewarding experience.

What is the most challenging part?
The most challenging part of being a principal is navigating systems, especially new systems that may need to be designed and/or created. When circumstances change, and/or support is needed, we problem solve and prescribe solutions which often includes creating systems that require additional staff, planning, and/or funding. The creation of these support systems takes time which is challenging when you are trying to provide immediate support within the school program.

How has Distance Learning changed your practice and how is your team showcasing the best practices in this era? 
During distance learning we are primarily collaborating and communicating virtually. Instead of walking the campus and visiting classrooms, we are coming together on Zoom and communicating in the chat, or by email. All systems have needed to be adjusted so that we can continue with all program components but virtually through Google Drive, Zoom, and Virtual check-ins. I miss our physical time together, but I am proud of our adjustments and continued dedication of our students and staff. I am especially proud of the way our staff supports not only our students, but each other as well. Teachers are leading professional development each week to share best practices for virtual learning, as well as support each other's efficient use of our learning platforms. It is a pleasure to see that students are highly engaged in cooperative learning and innovative lessons each day thanks to the staff collaboration in support of our academic program.

How do you boost and elevate your team?
We begin staff meetings with fun icebreakers to stay connected as a staff. We also celebrate each other's accomplishments and share good news as often as possible.

Best Advice to students? Best advice to families/parents? 
Students - Stay focused and give your best effort each day! Stay curious and explore new learning often.
Parents - Encourage your students throughout each day and have conversations about the changes we are experiencing. Reassure them that with continued engagement and consistent effort we will persevere through distance learning and beyond.

Anything else you would like to add?
I am a proud graduate of Kennedy High School in Richmond! I attended King Elementary and Adams Middle School. It is with great joy that I serve as a leader in the district in which I learned the importance of education and perseverance.

Charlotte Betson, Principal
Mira Vista K-8

Tell us about your educational journey:
My educational journey began long before I became an educator. I received my B.A. degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Further, my M. Ed. degree from Saint Mary's College of California. I taught Elementary, Middle and High School for nearly 15 years. I was an Assistant Principal for 6 years (2 years at John F. Kennedy High School and 4 years at El Cerrito High School) and this year marks my first year as Principal of Mira Vista K-8.

What does it mean to be a principal? 
A Principal serves as the leader providing oversight and direction for the school community, creates a positive work environment for educators and staff, fosters an enjoyable learning environment for students and facilitates an inclusive parent community.

What is the most rewarding part of your role? 
As a Principal, I look forward to seeing the growth and development of WCCUSD students.

What is the most challenging part?
During this time, doing much of my work from afar.

How has Distance Learning changed your practice and how is your team showcasing the best practices in this era? 
I had to shift my leadership practices in supporting my teachers, staff, students and families. During this unforeseen time, educators have been showcasing and sharing their best practices during grade level meetings, sharing virtually and will be showcasing best practices during our staff/faculty meetings.

How do you boost and elevate your team?
Provide opportunities to listen, collaborate, support and encourage my team. In addition, recognize my team’s efforts and successes.

Best Advice to students? Best advice to families/parents? 
The best advice to students: Is to take one step at a time and enjoy their educational journey. 
The best advice to families/parents: Encourage your students to soar, communicate with your student’s teachers and be a community partner with the school.


Kibby Kleiman, Principal
Pinole Valley High School

Tell us about your educational journey:
I taught for 17 years, was an Instructional Specialist for two years at Kennedy (Go Eagles), spent a year as a Literacy Coach, four years as an Assistant Principal at Richmond (Go Oilers), and the past eight years as Principal at Pinole Valley. (Go Spartans!!)

What does it mean to be a principal?
It is the responsibility and honor to be entrusted by a community to do right by their kids.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?
To experience and to put in motion the creative energies of students, staff and community to make every day a true adventure.

What is the most challenging part?
To not have the resources to create the appropriate challenge for every student.

How has Distance Learning changed your practice and how is your team showcasing the best practices in this era?
We sometimes forget the first part of distance learning is distance. We are aching to be together. There are silver linings, we are finding innovative approaches that we will use even when we get back into the classroom space. There are students thriving with homeroom, and online lessons and the ability to complete classwork at 11 p.m. on Saturday night. But, we are also missing the best of our work; when we blend the skills and talents of others and our own. The sports we play, the music we make, the projects we complete and the ideas that we hone with others. And for our students with the fewest resources 'distance' takes on a more sinister meaning as we experience a gap growing between those who have and those who have not in These Times.

How do you boost and elevate your team?
They boost me. I am a big believer in communication. When I do my announcements I am acting as a megaphone to share with all of our stakeholders the remarkable student life and achievement at Pinole Valley. And then in turn, they share with me even accomplishments I might have missed. Also beating St. Mary's. That makes everyone feel better too.

Best Advice to students? Best advice to families/parents? 
Never waste a crisis.

Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks to the District for using this year to talk about equity and anti-racism and thanks as well, for allowing us a site to have those conversations in a way that speaks to Pinole Valley specifically.

That is just a glimpse of the fantastic leaders at our schools. Thank you to all of WCCUSD’s principals (Listed alphabetically by last name):

  • Eric Acosta-Verprauskus (Verde K8)
  • Katherine Acosta-Verprauskus (Montalvin Manor K8)
  • Jamie Allardice (Nystrom)
  • Heather Best (Fairmont)
  • Charlotte Betson (Mira Vista K8)
  • Christina Boman (Cameron School)
  • Kenneth Bonner (Lake)
  • Bernard Brown (Lovonya DeJean Middle School)
  • Matthew Burnham (Fred T. Korematsu Middle School)
  • Jeff Carr (Alvarado Adult School)
  • Patricia Crespo (El Cerrito High School)
  • Ann Daly-Mallard (Highland)
  • Jose De Leon (Richmond)
  • Karl Debro (Gateway to College)
  • Jawan Eldridge (Peres K8)
  • Alison Evert (Cesar Chavez)
  • Guthrie Fleischman (Juan Crespi Middle School)
  • Christine Hatcher (Riverside)
  • Farnaz Heydari (Grant)
  • Keilan Hunter (Coronado)
  • Edith Jordan-McCormick (Vista)
  • Kibby Kleiman (Pinole Valley High School)
  • Phillip Johnson (Sylvester Greenwood Academy)
  • Suzanne Lefebvre (Murphy)
  • Lisa Levi (Washington)
  • Dan MacDonald (Shannon)
  • Kim Moses (Ohlone)
  • Paul Mansingh (Hercules HS)
  • Eric Mapes (Pinole Middle School)
  • Ann Marie Marinakis (Valley View)
  • Robert Mendoza (Tara Hills)
  • Taylor Parham (Lincoln)
  • Eric Peterson (West County Mandarin School)
  • Jessica Petrilli (Walter T Helms Middle School)
  • Melinda Piezas (Dover)
  • Julie Plaisance (Stewart K8)
  • Finy Prak (Middle College High School)
  • David Ranch (Madera)
  • Amandeep Randhawa (Olinda)
  • Chris Read (Downer)
  • Rebecca Ridenour (Ford)
  • Nicole Ruiz (Stege)
  • Stephanie Sanchez (Sheldon)
  • Judy Sanders (Kensington)
  • Greg Santiago (Hanna Ranch)
  • Jarod Scott (Kennedy High School)
  • Ryan Shaw (Hercules MS)
  • Poppy Sheldon (Lupine Hills)
  • Summer Sigler (De Anza High School)
  • Denise Steen (Collins)
  • Joey Sundberg (Martin Luther King Jr.)
  • Linda Takimoto (Harding)
  • Ken Talken (Transition)
  • Greg Whaling (Ellerhorst)
  • Claudia Velez (Michelle Obama School)
  • Theresa Williams (Bayview)

Have a great weekend.

In community,

Matthew Duffy