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SCV ‘Principal for a Day’ draws community into schools

Posted: February 8, 2013 6:36 p.m.
Updated: February 8, 2013 6:36 p.m.

John Bretthauer, left, examines the campus of Saugus High School along with Principal Bill Bolde on Friday. Bretthauer, a 1991 Saugus alumnus, took an extensive tour of the campus for the first time since graduating as part of the Santa Clarita Education Foundation's annual "Principal for a Day" event.

Standing in his office Friday, Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde held up an old copy of the school’s yearbook.

“Look familiar?” he asked.

His companion, John Bretthauer, scanned the front cover of the book for moment before nodding.

“It’s been a while since I’ve seen this,” he said, breaking into a smile.

Bretthauer, a former captain of the football team and member of the school’s Associated Student Body, graduated from Saugus High in 1991.

Now the executive vice president of California Credit Union, Bretthauer took time Friday to walk his old stomping grounds with Bolde.

As the pair traipsed around campus Friday morning, Bolde made sure to point out all the things that have changed over the years. The library has moved. The cafeteria has been remodeled. Buildings occupy what used to be open fields.

“Everything is so different; it’s like I’m doing the campus tour for my kids,” joked Bretthauer as he stepped out of the school library.

Even the school’s open central courtyard, one of the few things Bretthauer said looked about the same, had one significant change.

“When I was a freshman there used to be a smoking area right over there,” Bretthauer said.

“I don’t even know how that would go over today,” Bolde said, shaking his head. “We won’t even entertain the idea.”

Bretthauer was one of about 160 participants in Friday’s “Principal for a Day,” sponsored by the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation.

This is the 21st straight year the foundation has hosted the event.

During Principal for a Day, community members, business leaders and even parents tag along with principals and administrators of schools in each of the Santa Clarita Valley’s five districts for half a day to get an idea of each school’s mission and culture, as well as see what it’s like to be a principal.

In return, participants donate amounts ranging from $150 to shadow the principal of an elementary or middle school to $400 to follow a district superintendent, said Ann Unger, the executive director of the Education Foundation.

Unger said this year’s event should bring in about $20,000 for the foundation.

But Unger said the true payoff of the event is the relationships school administrators can build with community members.

“The one thing I always hear from participants is, ‘I didn’t know,’” Unger said. “‘I didn’t realize this school was doing that; I didn’t realize that.’”

“This event is a chance for principals to show off their schools and gives people a chance to see what’s going on in the schools,” Unger said.

This year’s event was sponsored by the Lundgren Management Corporation, Shaw Human Resources Consulting, Southern California Edison, the Southern California Gas Company, JSB Development and the California Credit Union.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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