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May 5, 2014
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Nevada Union High School seeks new principal, posts job internally

Nevada Union High School is currently looking for a new principal to serve next year in place of current principal, Mike Blake.

The Nevada Joint Union School District posted the position internally, last week, for current administrators and educators in the district to apply by the May 7 deadline.

According to Blake, the district sent him a reduction in force notice prior to March 15, informing him that he may be reassigned to another position at the district. Blake has more than 35 years of experience at NJUHSD, and said the change in position was not voluntary.

“I’m not choosing to go back into the classroom. I’m being reassigned to the classroom,” Blake said. “But at the same time I love the classroom; so going back to teach that’s what I did for the vast majority of my career.”

Blake added, “It’s not my decision, it’s not a voluntary thing, however administrators do have a yearly contract and so it’s perfectly within the rights of the school district to shift us around and reassign us as they choose.”

While the move from principal to teacher has not officially been finalized, Blake’s 220-day annual contract ends June 30, and the board has until then to finalize. NJUHSD Superintendent Dr. Louise Johnson said that she would not speak to any individual job listing the district is looking to fill for next school year, but that the district is creating next year’s budget on 159 fewer students projected to be enrolled.

“There are jobs being posted internally because we are reducing administration by two positions and we’re in the process of seeing who fits best where, and in what position,” Johnson said. “We have to reorganize our own staff in the district to fill any open positions so we will not be posting externally. I don’t have a timeline, but we are in-house posting only.”

Johnson said, though, that because some staff are retiring there may be positions open to the public once all internal hiring is completed. According to Johnson, final reduction in force notices will be sent out for teachers and administrators in the district in the next few months.

“The way that works for certificated employees, if they aren’t in their current job next year, and I’m talking only in generalities of what the law is, they’re issued a March 15 precautionary notice,” Johnson said. “With teachers we have a final layoff notice on May 15, and with administrators, they still have tenure rights as classroom teachers, and the final deadline for administrators is June 30.”

A second NU administrator is also set to leave by the end of the school year. Paul Lundberg, NU assistant principal, will move on as the principal of Colfax High School in the Placer Union High School District.

“It’s a really strong district, Colfax High School in general is a really great school,” said Lundberg. “I feel really blessed and honored that I got the position, because it was a real coveted position.”

In recent years, NU has gone through other significant turnover in leadership and administrator positions. In December 2010, school board members voted 5-0 to hire Marianne Cartan, former NU counselor and assistant principal, as interim superintendent, after a candidate whom the district had identified to replace former Superintendent Ralf Swenson was offered the position, but withdrew.

Two months after Cartan was hired, the district decided to transfer three of its administrators to new positions. Cathy Peterson, a longtime administrator at NU, was moved to Bear River High School. Blake, who was then Park Avenue Alternative Principal, was reassigned to Nevada Union to replace Marty Mathiesen, who would take over at Park Avenue.

Mathiesen had served as principal for seven years, the longest stint at NU since 1999, when Kurt Stenderup’s 10 years as principal came to an end. When Blake took over for Mathiesen, he became the sixth principal hired at NU in 13 years.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

“I’m not choosing to go back into the classroom. I’m being reassigned to the classroom.”
Mike Blake
Nevada Union High School principal


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The Union Updated May 5, 2014 10:28PM Published May 7, 2014 10:30AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.