In a surprising move last week, four key figures from the San Marino Unified School District (SMUSD) – a district well-known for its academic excellence and high standards – bid adieu to the district, moving on to different opportunities.
Most notably, San Marino High School (SMHS) will witness a leadership change with the departure of Principal Jason Kurtenbach. In a turn of events, Kurtenbach has decided to accept a new role within the Redondo Beach school district. The SMHS community had come to admire his steadfast leadership and commitment to fostering academic brilliance.
SMHS also faces the loss of its assistant principal, Carlos Kassam-Clay. Kassam-Clay, a cornerstone of the school’s leadership team, has accepted a new role at a private institution. His passion and dedication will surely be missed within the SMHS community.
In addition, Valentine Elementary School will also need to navigate a significant leadership transition. Their beloved educator, Kelly Duncan, has accepted a position at La Canada Elementary School in La Canada, marking her departure from the San Marino education community.
Finally, Huntington Middle School is also undergoing a change in its leadership. Principal Daryl Topalian has chosen to resign from his position and return to his previous role within the Temple City School District, where he will serve as the director of student services.
When asked about the sudden exodus of staff, SMUSD Board President Shelley Ryan noted that many of the departing employees have accepted promotions in their new roles. “While we are saddened by their departures, we are also proud of their achievements and growth,” Ryan said.
SMUSD has a rich history of academic success. Established in 1951, the district has since been consistently ranked among the top-performing school districts not only in California but also nationwide. The district has been committed to nurturing an environment that focuses on academic enrichment, character development, and community involvement. departures represent a significant shift for the SMUSD, but SMUSD remains confident in its enduring legacy and commitment to exceptional education.
Nevertheless, these departures represent a significant shift for the SMUSD. As the district moves forward, it will undoubtedly look to find leaders who can continue to uphold the district’s longstanding commitment to educational excellence and student success.