Angela Marcano has only served as principal at West Hollywood Elementary School for one month, but the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) campus already feels like home to the Playa del Rey resident.
Marcano, an educator for more than 20 years, on Oct. 18 replaced principal Julia Charles, who will now assist the district in its iPad rollout campaign.
“I love it. I’m really happy to be here,” she said. “It’s a perfect school for me because it has an emphasis on the arts and technology, which are two of my passions.”
After graduating from USC, Marcano served as a teacher at LAUSD schools, including Corona Avenue Elementary. She also worked at Nueva Vista Elementary School, where she helped start a new magnet program.
Along the way, a principal suggested that Marcano try working at the administrative level, and she received her principal certification from California State University, Long Beach, soon after.
She served as principal of Los Cerritos Elementary School in the Long Beach Unified School District after finishing her coursework. Marcano, who also served as a magnet coordinator in Long Beach, then returned to the LAUSD to work in the district’s magnet office.
She said she was responsible for secondary magnet programs in the north and west parts of the district, which will come in handy in her new role in West Hollywood. Marcano said she visited schools frequently, working with teachers, administrators and sometimes students in creating programs — generally from scratch.
“You can see the district from a higher level and know everything that’s going on throughout the district. That really prepares you well,” she said of her experience at the district level. Marcano added that she now knows who to go to for various questions, whether they pertain to technology, curriculum, facilities or otherwise. “It has helped tremendously.”
While working in the magnet office, Marcano’s position was funded by grants. After the grants ran out, the district “totally reorganized” the department, and several employees, such as Marcano and new Melrose Avenue Elementary School principal Stephanie Harris, pursued administrative positions at district schools.
“I’m just glad to be back at a school site, because I miss the kids and the parents,” she said, adding that she is pleased to affect learning in a hands-on manner. Marcano said she is also happy that her new position is not funded by grants.
However, her goals for her new leadership position are minimal, as West Hollywood Elementary School is performing well. The school’s Academic Performance Index score is well over 900.
“I don’t plan to change anything,” she said, adding that she hopes to continue working with teachers and parents to make West Hollywood Elementary School the best school in the district. “I just want to continue all of the good programs that are already in a place.”
Marcano also praised Charles, who pushed reading and writing workshops when she was still serving in West Hollywood.
“I’m familiar with those programs and I just want to continue all the great things she did here in the school,” she said, also praising the Friends of West Hollywood Elementary School. “I’m just really happy that West Hollywood Elementary has such an active and involved parent group. It really helps a school when parents are involved in their child’s education. I know that we can do great things together.”
Charles served as the principal at the school for four years, and will very much miss its students, teachers, administrators and parents.
“For sure, it was the highlight of my career, without a doubt,” she said. “I’ve been in the district for thirty years, and those four will absolutely be the most memorable because of the incredible relationships that were formed, with the teachers and the parents all the collaborating together to really create an outstanding education for the kids. We accomplished a lot of wonderful things.”
Charles touted the school’s API scores, which jumped from 849 to a high of 932 during her four years in West Hollywood.
“That’s a huge accomplishment and testament to the programs that we were able to implement,” she added.
Charles also praised the schoolwide technology programs, which were implemented prior to the district’s iPad rollout. She said West Hollywood Elementary School will likely see the district’s initiative come to fruition in a year or so.
The school’s current program was completely funded by the parents, a group she praised for being such great partners. Charles said her current position was a byproduct of them having confidence in the school to use the technology to benefit the students.
“When this one came along, it was a natural transition,” she said, adding that she can now take what she learned in West Hollywood and help every child in the district. “It’s really quite an honor.”
Charles said she was also proud to create reading and writing workshops, bring on board a fulltime physical education coach and develop programs that benefitted every child at the school.
“It’s a great community,” she said of West Hollywood, mentioning the businesses, the neighborhoods and city staffers. “It was a phenomenal place to be able to work as a principal because of all that support.”
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