DOWNEY – Dr. Robert Jagielski has been named principal of Sussman Middle School, effective July 1. Jagielski had been DUSD’s Director of Student Services since 2005. Before that he was vice principal and assistant principal at Downey High.
“I am humbled and blessed at the opportunity to serve as the principal of Sussman Middle School,” Jagielski said. “Being at Sussman since January as a form of administrative support led me to want to be a part of their great staff, students and programs. I look forward to leading the Sussman team as we prepare 21st Century students to be college and career ready.”
Jagielski started his career in education for the Alhambra Unified School District in 1988 as a bilingual instructional aide, quickly moving up to an ESL teacher and program coordinator.
In 1992 he joined Downey Unified, making Griffiths Middle School his home for five years where he was also an ELD teacher/coordinator, taught Social Studies and coached a variety of sports.
Jagielski then transitioned to the high school level, becoming the vice principal in 1997 and later the assistant principal at Downey High School. Serving as a high school administrator for eight years, Jagielski prided himself on being thoroughly involved in student-centered concerns.
This focus, along with completing his doctoral degree, spearheaded him to the district office, where he became the Director of Student Services in 2005. Working closely with many community organizations, Jagielski has been the president of Gangs Out Of Downey, supervisor of True Lasting Connections, and a Character Counts certified trainer, consultant and coalition member.
Jagielski will continue to act as DUSD’s liaison with the Josephson Institute’s Character Counts program.
Meanwhile, the Downey school board on Tuesday appointed two new elementary school principals.
Kelley Rush Becker will become principal of Unsworth Elementary, replacing Yolanda Cornair, who is retiring.
Dr. Mercedes Gomez is succeeding Ruth Hesketh at Carpenter Elementary. She is also retiring.
Rush Becker started her teaching career in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District in 1990 and served as a first, second, third and fifth-grade teacher at Gardenhill Elementary School.
In 2004, she transitioned to a K-8 literacy coach where she was a leader in implementing Balanced Literacy strategies, aiding in the training of principals, teachers and instructional aides.
This additional assignment incorporated leading data analysis and goal-setting with teachers and students, leading parent education workshops, planning and leading staff development, and writing curriculum which incorporated common assessments.
Becoming a Teacher on Special Assignment and taking on the role as union president in 2011, Rush Becker continuously collaborated with district personnel, site administrators and district staff.
Gomez started her teaching career in the Azusa Unified School District in 2000, where she served as a fourth and fifth-grade teacher while simultaneously instructing at the Azusa Adult School as an ESL/GED teacher.
In 2007, Gomez transitioned to the Paramount Unified School District where she took on the role as assistant principal of Los Cerritos School. She then traveled to the Ontario-Montclair Unified School District where she again served in the role as elementary assistant principal.
Receiving a Masters of Arts in Education and Spanish, Mercedes continued her education to receive her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from USC, the same year she earned the position as principal of El Camino Elementary School.
Both competed for this position in a field of over 70 applicants and were appointed because they come to Downey Unified “as highly regarded instructional leaders and persons of integrity,” officials said.
Although Downey Unified is incredibly happy for both retiring principals as they transition into this new stage of life, Mrs. Rush Becker and Dr. Gomez are leaders that will pick up where Yolanda Cornair and Ruth Hesketh are leaving off and will move both schools forward,” DUSD officials said.
Published: May 21, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 06