The San Ramon Valley school board has selected Joe Romagna as the new principal at central Danville's John Baldwin Elementary School beginning next school year.
Romagna, a Dublin elementary principal who previously worked at two San Ramon schools, was appointed last week as part of a series of closed-session votes that also saw the school board approve new assistant principals at three high schools and one elementary campus.
"I can't emphasize enough how excited I am to be coming over to John Baldwin," Romagna, 39, said in a follow-up interview. "Not only does the school have a strong reputation within the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, it also carries over to neighboring districts."
He will replace co-principals Robert Alpert and Matt Hermann for the start of the 2016-17 at John Baldwin, located on Brookside Drive near Osage Station Park.
Alpert and Hermann, both retired administrators, were hired to split time leading John Baldwin starting March 14 -- six days after the school board accepted the resignation of previous principal Darlene Hale, according to district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich.
District officials immediately began the search for a new permanent principal after putting the co-principals in place last month, Graswich said, and that process culminated with Romagna's appointment April 19.
"I am very excited to get to know the John Baldwin community," Romagna said. "I can't wait to get out on the blacktop and meet the students. I am eager to collaborate with and support our staff members. I am also looking forward to working with our PTA, School Site Council and Cougar Ed Fund."
Romagna, who has served as principal of John Green Elementary School in Dublin since 2014, is no stranger to the San Ramon Valley.
He worked earlier in his career as an assistant principal at Quail Run Elementary and a teacher at Live Oak Elementary -- both in San Ramon. His other experience includes teaching at John Green, Dublin and Fairlands (Pleasanton) elementary schools.
"I had a feeling that I would eventually return home to the district; I just didn't anticipate it happening quite so soon," Romagna said of his upcoming move to John Baldwin.
"I have to be honest that it was very difficult to leave my current school, John Green," he added. "However, the more I learned about John Baldwin's students, the strong community feel and the dedication of Baldwin educators, the more I found myself saying 'yes' to pursuing this opportunity."
Romagna earned a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast communications from San Francisco State and a master's degree in educational leadership from Cal State East Bay. He also holds a multi-subject teaching credential and an administrative services credential.
He lives in Livermore with his wife, Colleen, and their three children.
In other hiring moves last week, the school board appointed new assistant principals at California, Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley high schools and Coyote Creek Elementary in San Ramon. All votes were 4-0, with board member Denise Jennison absent from closed session.
Catie D. Hawkins, Cal High
Hawkins, a teacher at California since 2005, will step into a new role as assistant principal starting next school year. Currently a literacy teacher on special assignment, Hawkins has served in several roles at the campus, including English teacher, English department curriculum leader and mentor to new teachers.
She earned a bachelor's degree and a single-subject teaching credential from St. Mary's College and is currently working to complete a master's degree in leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Kenneth Kahn Jr., Monte Vista
Kahn will join the Danville high school this summer from El Cerrito High School, where he is a teacher on special assignment working as coordinator of restorative justice and school climate.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in literature/creative writing and a Master of Education from UC Santa Cruz. He holds a single-subject teaching credential and is working to complete an administrative services credential from UC Berkeley.
Jamie Keith, San Ramon Valley
Keith is headed to Danville's other comprehensive high school next school year from Pittsburg High, where she has been a social sciences teacher since 2006 and currently serves as Advanced Placement department chair.
She earned a bachelor's degree in government from Sacramento State and a master's degree in education and a single-subject teaching credential from Cal State East Bay.
Leona Lam, Coyote Creek
Lam had her interim tag removed last week when the board made her a permanent assistant principal at the elementary school, effective immediately. Prior to working as interim assistant principal at Coyote Creek, Lam was a teacher on special assignment at Twin Creeks Elementary in San Ramon.
She holds a bachelor's degree in communication from UC San Diego, a master's degree in education from San Diego State and a master's degree in educational leadership from Cal State East Bay, in addition to multi-subject teaching and preliminary administrative services credentials.