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Principals on the move in Eureka district

By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein The Press-Tribune
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Changes at the top are in the offing for three schools in the Eureka Union School District. Two principals are stepping down from their positions, with one of those spots to be filled by an existing principal in the district, officials said this week. Brent Cushenbery, principal at Oakhills School in Granite Bay, will resign at the end of the school year. In addition, John Montero, principal at Cavitt Jr. High, will leave his position at the Granite Bay school effective this fall “ but will remain a teacher in the district. His principal's spot will be filled by Jennifer Platt, who is currently the principal of Maidu School in Roseville, officials said. The resignations and reassignment appear on the agenda for trustees' March 11 board meeting. No replacement principals for the vacancies at Oakhills or Maidu school were included in the agenda, but Superintendent Bob Schultz said those announcements could come soon. Hopefully by the board meeting we'll have resolution on replacements, he said. We're working on that as we get closer. Cushenbery, who has held the top official's spot at kindergarten- through third-grade Oakhills for five years, said he was leaving for another position in the area. We're in declining enrollment and the opportunities are fewer and far between, he said. It's brighter pastures elsewhere. Jennifer Platt, who has served as Maidu principal for seven years, said she was eager to fill the principal's job at Cavitt because it's a new challenge and a new age group. I have worked with middle schoolers in the past and they have a great energy, she said. Still, Platt added she'd miss the Maidu community, which, like Oakhills, serves kindergartners- through third-graders. Maidu is an amazing place that has given me great enjoyment to be here, she said. I'll miss the great relationships with the families. Some of the students here weren't even born yet when I started. Schultz said Montero was hoping donning a teacher's hat would give him more time to spend with his family. Montero, who had been a teacher in the district prior to taking the principal's job at Cavitt, did not return a phone call left Thursday. The changes come as the nine-school district is contemplating cuts to teacher staffing as well as school closures to plug a financial crisis related to state budget cuts and declining enrollment. A long-range planning taskforce is scheduled to present options under consideration to the community at a public forum next month, before submitting them to the board. But Schultz was quick to rule out that the administrator changes were related to that process. The changes that are happening are due to what each person decided at this point in time, he said. Any principal movement right now isn't because of the long-range planning. Montero and Cushenberry are the latest to announce their exit from the district. Ridgeview principal Becky Bickford retired in December. Schultz also announced his retirement late last year. +