looking out the window of her office at the crowded Columbus playground.
"I'm up to the task, but these kids depend on me. It's a big
King is one of two district employees who are first-time principals
this year, with John Burkholder taking over the reigns at Thomas
Jefferson Elementary. Four other schools -- Mark Keppel, Cerritos, Horace
Mann and Verdugo Woodlands -- also got new principals, but they are all
transfers from other schools.
Burkholder and King both worked as assistant principals at their
schools before stepping up into the top position, a background that King
said helps ease the transition.
"The existing culture [of Columbus] and the existing philosophy really
goes along with what I believe in," said King, who worked for three years
under former principal Mary Mason.
Burkholder, who takes over for Judith Sanchez, said he also felt
comfortable working in the tracks laid by his predecessor.
"I want to make decisions that are right for our school, right for
teaching and learning and right for our community. As a school we have
done a good job with that, and I want to continue that tradition."
But it's one thing to say that and another thing to do it.
"You're pulled in a lot of directions," King said ofbalancing the
needs of students, teachers and parents. "There's a lot of walking five
steps out of the office, turning around and saying 'Okay, I'm back. What
Both principals say they appreciate the rewards of the job,
particularly the interaction with students who are still young enough to
take a fresh eye to learning.
"We try to keep that as long as possible, that sense of wonder and
enjoyment, their belief in themselves," King said. "As long as they keep
that belief in themselves, they can do anything."