Two Fremont principals will leave; Hurst chosen to lead new school

Media Academy Principal Benjamin Schmookler has cut his own position due to the budget crisis and says his day-to-day duties will be turned over to fourth-year teacher Sarah Mazzotta on July 1.

Meanwhile, Robin Glover told journalism students that she will resign from her job as princicpal of Mandela High School, and Daniel Hurst, principal of College Preparatory & Architecture Academy told the same reporters that he has been asked to be the principal of the merged schools in 2012-13.

Schmookler told the Green & Gold on May 12 that the school simply could not afford to have him as principal.

“We’re merging into one school [in 2012] and I would have to cut two teachers to maintain my position,” he said.. “So rather than cut two teachers, I cut my own position.”

Schmookler said that Mazzotta would take over as the leader of the school.

“Ms. Mazzotta will be a teacher on special assignment performing my day-to-day duties,” said Schmookler. “She will not be teaching.”

Mazzotta spoke to the Green & Gold in a May 12 interview.

When asked if she was ready for the new role, she said, “I don’t think you can ever be 100 percent ready.”

But she said she was excited about the new job.

Media Academy has just one Schmookler said.

Media Academy has just one more year of being its own small school. The district has decided to combine all three schools at Fremont Federation of High Schools in 2012-13.

“We’re in a transition period; we need a leader and Ms. Mazzotta is more than capable of doing that job,” said Schmookler.

Mazzotta said that she feels equipped for the transition.

“The school needed someone who knows the students,” she said. “And that way, it is the smoothest transition as possible.”

The staff had known Schmookler was leaving for several months, but they did not know who would oversee the school until Wednesday. Students did not know about Schmookler.

Students were mixed about losing Schmookler as principal and gaining Mazzotta as their new leader.

“She’s going to be awesome,” said sophomore M’Kala Payton shortly after hearing the news from the Green & Gold reporters. “She already knows so many students and is connected to them.”

Other students predicted what kind of leader she would be.

“She’s going to rule with an iron fist,” said junior Precious Kittles.”That’s not necessarily a bad thing … she’ll rule with an iron fist as in she’ll get things done; she’ll rule with an iron fist because she’s going to have to be strict on some occassion.”

Since the Media Academy was founded in 2003, Schmookler has been principal of the school. He says his biggest accomplishment was getting teachers to collaborate.

“All the teachers worked together and raised the API score,” said Schmookler. “It’s not one thing I’ve done, but all the things we’ve done [as a staff].”

When Fremont was still a large school in 2002, the API was 440. This year, Media Academy’s score is 619.