Debbie Dean: new Principal at Willard

Debbie Dean has been named as the new Principal at Berkeley’s Willard Middle School. Dean replaces Robert Ithurburn who is leaving to take up a new post.

The decision was announced at the BUSD Board meeting on Wednesday night.

Dean has been Assistant Principal at Redwood Middle School in Napa for the past five years. Before that, she was an assistant principal and school social worker in the Oakland Unified School District. She lives in Berkeley and is the parent of a student at Thousand Oaks Elementary School

In a statement read by BUSD Board Chair Karen Hemphill at the board meeting, Dean was described as being “well organized” and bringing “a wealth of administrative, teaching and cultural experiences.” She “communicates well with a wide range of individuals, listens carefully, possesses an innovative mind, assumes responsibility, demonstrates a high level of energy, possesses a willingness to learn, is very approachable and knows the secondary education territory, particularly middle school, well.

Catherine Ference, a parent with an 8th grader at Willard and the outgoing Vice-President of the school’s PTA, said that Willard parents warmly welcome Dean and look forward to working with her “I can also sincerely say that the entire Willard community (teachers and parents) has admired, respected and appreciated Mr. Ithurburn very much and we are, indeed, quite sad that he is leaving,” she said.

Meanwhile, applications for the open principal position at Thousand Oaks Elementary School close tomorrow, Friday June 14. The current principal, Gayle Hughes, has only been in the post for a year and resigned unexpectedly.

A  panel made up of parents, teachers, a classified staff person, and administrators will conduct interviews on June 20, and it is hoped an appointment will be announced at the June 26 BUSD Board meeting.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...