New Berkeley High principal Sam Pasarow at a preparatory meeting with teachers and staff. Photo: Mark Coplan
New Berkeley High principal Sam Pasarow at a preparatory meeting on Aug. 27, 2015 with teachers and staff at BHS. Photo: Mark Coplan

More than 9,000 students returned to Berkeley’s 11 elementary, three middle and two high schools schools today. Detailed enrollments will be announced by the school district in the coming weeks, but spokesman Mark Coplan said that district administrators believe the total will be very close to forecast.

The major change in the district is the arrival of Sam Pasarow as the new principal at Berkeley High. Pasarow, formerly principal of Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland Unified School District, started at Berkeley High on July 1, succeeding interim principal Kristen Glenchur.

“He is a taskmaster. He will get things done,” said Superintendent Donald Evans, describing Pasarow to parents at a public meeting on Thursday last week. Evans pointed out that Berkeley High ranked in the nation’s top 200 high schools. “His job is to get Berkeley High into the top 100.” 

New BHS principal Sam Pasarow meets with parents. Photo: Mark Coplan
New BHS principal Sam Pasarow meets with parents on Thursday Aug. 27, 2015 at BHS. Photo: Mark Coplan

“I came to education because I’m a nerd,” Pasarow told parents. “I love learning.”

Pasarow noted that he had been a student teacher at BHS in 2002, before he started his teaching career in Richmond. The bulk of his career has been at OUSD, where he first became an administrator at Castlemont High School. He was at Edna Brewer, a school where only 10% of students are white, for six years.

“My work has always been about closing achievement gaps,” Pasarow said. Brewer, under his leadership, posted the best math and reading scores in Oakland and has what Pasarow described as “a huge waiting list.”

Although many of the other members of the BHS administration are carried over from last year, Pasarow also introduced Felicia Phillips as the new vice principal responsible for Academic Choice. Phillips is also newly arrived from OUSD. Janelle Bugarini, formerly attendance dean and a Spanish teacher at BHS, is the new vice principal for Berkeley International High School.

“I’m excited about how much shared leadership there is in this building,” Pasarow said.

Sam Pasarow named as new Berkeley High principal (04.19.15)
New BHS principal: School district seeks community input (01.08.15)
Kristin Glenchur named Berkeley High interim principal (06.13.14) 
BHS principal Scuderi moves to assistant superintendent (05.01.14)
Illegal enrollment is boon and burden to Berkeley schools (04.08.14)
Berkeley High expands with the opening of a new building (03.19.14)
New Berkeley superintendent Donald Evans: “This is my ministry” (07.11.13)
Pasquale Scuderi on his first year as head of Berkeley High (07.07.11)

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...