Mira Costa Principal Dr. Ben Dale announced on May 31 that Costa Science Department Chair Jessica Bledsoe and Hawthorne School District teacher Tara Grings will serve as Costa’s new vice principals for the 2017-18 school year.
Bledsoe and Grings will replace current vice principals Dr. Karina Gerger and Kristin Wolberg, respectively. Wolberg will leave the Manhattan Beach Unified School District after two years of working as a Costa vice principal and seven years working in the district. Gerger will become Pennekamp Elementary School’s principal, starting next year, after two years as one of Costa’s vice principals and 13 years working in the district.
“It is bittersweet leaving Costa because I am going to miss [the school] and working with all of the students and staff,” Gerger said. “It has been an amazing two years, but I am looking forward to the new challenge of becoming the new principal of my own [school].”
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District Board approved Grings at its May 17 meeting and approved Bledsoe at Wednesday’s board meeting.
“The teachers [at Costa] are fantastic, and I think that it is going to be a really great role to work hard to support all of the important groups [at Costa],” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe and Grings, along with 70 other applicants, applied to become Costa’s new vice principals. The application process includes letters of recommendation from colleagues and an interview with a panel of parents, staff members and administration.
“The future is very exciting because [Bledsoe and Grings] are both brand new administrators,” Dale said. “I look forward to being part of the experience of seeing them develop and grow.”
Grings has been teaching since 2006 and has served as an English teacher, choral director and musical theatre teacher. She has been an employee of the Los Angeles Unified School District and more recently, the Hawthorne School District.
Bledsoe has taught at Costa since 2010 and has started new programs such as Science Olympiad and the Biotechnology course.
“As somebody that is always interested in pushing myself into areas that I’m unfamiliar with, I am excited about the opportunity to learn more about how schools function and also increase my reach to more of these amazing students here at Costa,” Bledsoe said.
In order to become Pennekamp’s principal, Gerger submitted a resume, including an essay, cover letter and letters of references from colleagues before her official interview at the school.
“I will miss Mira Costa because I love working with high school students and teachers, but I am also looking forward to going to Pennekamp,” Gerger said.
Costa’s administration is in the process of hiring a new teacher for Advanced Placement Biology and Biotechnology, which are two classes that Bledsoe currently teaches. On Monday, Science Department teachers nominated and elected AP Chemistry teacher Teresa Nielsen as the new department co-chair in the place of Bledsoe in order to serve with current co-chair Pamela Manago.
“I am excited to learn from the people in the office and from all of the teachers that I will come into contact with in the future,” Bledsoe said. “There are many things that I am excited and passionate about as I work to develop myself and learn more about the Costa administration.”