The Berkeley School Board unanimously appointed Erin Schweng as the new principal of Berkeley High School during closed session Wednesday night.

According to a statement released by the district, “Sam Pasarow has resigned as Principal of Berkeley High School, effective today. The District leadership wishes Mr. Pasarow well and thanks him for his service to the Berkeley High community.”

No information has been released about why Pasarow went on leave abruptly in December.

According to the Berkeley Unified School District, Schweng has worked in Berkeley schools for 19 years and “brings a wealth of experience and instructional leadership” to BHS.

She is also a resident of Berkeley.

“We are thrilled to have an instructional leader of Ms. Schweng’s caliber taking the helm of Berkeley High,” said School Board President Ty Alper, according to the prepared statement.

BUSD Superintendent Donald Evans described Schweng as someone “whose career reflects a long and continuing commitment to the students of Berkeley’s schools.”

Evans said Schweng will bring “positive and productive leadership” to the Berkeley High community.

Schweng began at BUSD in 1998 when she was a teacher at Rosa Parks Elementary. She later became a math coach for the district.

Schweng went on to teach math at Longfellow Middle School, as well as a college readiness course for students who are historically underrepresented in higher education.

She spent two years in BUSD’s Evaluation and Assessment Department, then became vice principal at Berkeley High in January 2014.

In June, she was promoted to executive vice principal, and has been acting principal since December.

Later that month, the Berkeley PTA Council launched a petition demanding that the school district explain why Pasarow was on leave.

School officials have said their hands are tied about releasing the reason because of confidentiality laws regarding private and personnel matters.

A Berkeley High teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, told Berkeleyside previously that the rumor mill had been “swirling” since Pasarow’s departure, but that Schweng had done “a great job in Sam’s absence and things are carrying on more or less as normal.”

Update, 11:04 a.m. This statement went out to the Berkeley High community at about 10:40 a.m. on behalf of Sam Pasarow. It appears below in full.

Dear Berkeley High Community,

It is with regret that I am writing to say farewell, as I have tendered my resignation as the Berkeley High Principal.

It has been an honor to work with such a vibrant community of students, teachers, staff, parents and guardians. Berkeley High has a lot going for it and I will cheer on its continued success and evolution. It was especially meaningful for me to be involved in the Berkeley High redesign, which aimed to better unify the school and to improve outcomes for all students. I was also very impressed by the deeply-felt and peaceful student activism I witnessed during my years there.

I have the greatest respect for the quality of education at Berkeley High School and the highest regard for the great students there.

Go Jackets!

Sam Pasarow

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...