The Berkeley Unified School District announced today the appointment of Sam Pasarow to the position of Principal of Berkeley High School. Principal Pasarow has established himself as a strong instructional leader, committed to equitable and restorative practices that contribute to student engagement and a positive school culture. His administrative experience includes serving as a Resident Principal at East Oakland School of the Arts, Principal at Oakland Community Day School, Principal on Special Assignment at Skyline High School, and Principal of Edna Brewer Middle School.
His references highlighted his broad range of talents, stating “as an instructional leader, Sam has incorporated instructional strategies and techniques that have served to create a highly successful learning environment for all students in his school. These strategies have led to successful outcomes for all Edna Brewer students, as seen by the comparative data among OUSD middle schools: the highest API in 2012, the highest reading scores 2012-present, the highest common core math benchmark scores in the current school year, the lowest suspension rate for the past two school years, and the lowest rates of suspension for African-American students during the 2013-14 and current school year.”
“Another strength in Mr. Pasarow’s leadership is in the area of social-emotional learning, as well as training in cultural competency. The Edna Brewer community is extremely diverse, both ethnically and socio-economically. Sam has leveraged this asset by deeply engaging staff, students, parents, and families in the use of restorative justice practices, and training in social emotional learning skills and competencies. This is evident in the professional development teachers receive, and the intentional focus on these practices in advisory as well as in content areas.”
According to Superintendent Donald Evans, “Finding the right leader for Berkeley High School has been both challenging and exciting. We had so many great candidates, and we were fortunate to have the involvement of teachers, administrators, board members and parents who participated in the interview process. I am very pleased with the outcome, and confident that the BHS community will find a strong educational leader in Principal Pasarow.” When making the announcement of Mr. Pasarow’s appointment at tonight’s School Board meeting, Board President Judy Appel noted that “Mr. Pasarow impressed the interview panels with his student-centered commitments to quality education, equity and positive school culture. We are very excited to work with him as he takes on the leadership of our exceptional high school.”
Mr. Pasarow will fill the job that has been skillfully carried out by Interim Principal Kristin Glenchur during this school year. Principal Glenchur’s years of experience as vice principal at Berkeley High School and her calm and steady leadership style allowed continued progress on many school-wide goals, including ensuring that the recent mid-term accreditation visit went off without a hitch.
In January the Board began a national search for the new principal of Berkeley High School. District and Berkeley High School (BHS) staff partnered with The Cosca Group, an executive search firm specialized in educational leadership, to handle the recruitment and networking process. Dr. David Brown and Dr. Lynne Kennedy headed up the search team. The Cosca Group met with students, staff, parents, and community members to gather information about the community and the qualities desired in the next high school principal. An online questionnaire supplemented the stakeholder meetings in order to include more community input. The Cosca group summarized the input, advertised widely, and also directly recruited potential candidates who had been identified early in the search process.
Extensive interviews, testing, references and background checks winnowed the strong group of candidates to a few top contenders. After further panel interviews, which engaged staff, parents and teachers, the Superintendent highly recommended the finalist, Sam Pasarow.
BHS Principal Sam Pasarow
Sam Pasarow began his teaching career at De Anza High School, after completing a Masters in Education and a teaching credential from UC Berkeley, with student teaching experience at both Berkeley High and Skyline High School. His undergraduate degree in English and Literature was also from UC Berkeley, where he specialized in folklore under the direction of Alan Dundes, a preeminent Anthropology Professor.
Mr. Pasarow will officially join Berkeley High and BUSD leadership team on July 1, 2015. He has consistently expressed that being the principal of Berkeley High School is the opportunity of a lifetime. He has expressed that he is both excited and humbled by the opportunity to join a thriving community.