Timothy Heck has taken over as the new Sullivan Middle School principal and will also be the first principal of Bonsall’s new high school once ninth-graders are on the Sullivan campus in 2014-15.
The Bonsall Union School District approved Heck’s selection as principal on a 5-0 vote Aug. 16. “We’re very excited about having him and really looking forward to having him become a part of our leadership team,” said BUSD superintendent Justin Cunningham. “He had what we were looking for and it was right in our back yard, so we’re pretty pleased.”
Heck lives in Bonsall. He was a Marine Corps officer before entering the education field and had been at Washington Middle School in Vista prior to accepting the Sullivan position.
The Aug. 16 meeting was a special meeting for the Bonsall school board. At their regular meeting Aug. 8 the board approved personnel transactions. Janet Whiddon, who had been Sullivan’s principal, was approved as the director of curriculum for the school district, and she will also be at Bonsall West Elementary School in 2013-14.
A separate Aug. 8 item approved the job description for the new secondary principal which included implementing the New Tech High School model adopted by the district and implementing a collaborative leadership model among administrators, staff, parents, students, and community members. Bonsall staff began interviewing candidates Aug. 9.
The district selected four applicants for interviews before narrowing the search to two finalists and then selecting Heck. “We’re looking at that New Tech High model and he was definitely on top of his game,” Cunningham said.
The fact that Heck is a Bonsall resident also means that he has a long-term stake in the district and is likely to remain at the position over the next four years. “It’s very much a strong community model,” Cunningham said of the New Tech program in which students interact with local industry and serve internships to develop a network in their desired career fields.
Heck’s son attends Sullivan Middle School, so Cunningham had met Heck in the latter’s capacity as a parent. Heck, who is finishing his doctoral dissertation, also interviewed Cunningham as part of that dissertation which focuses on high performance of schools which have close relationships between administration and staff members. “I was able to listen to some of his philosophies, and they do align very strongly with the New Tech model,” Cunningham said.
Heck had notified the Vista Unified School District that he was a candidate for the Sullivan position and was able to start at Sullivan the week after his hiring was approved. “He jumped right into the job,” Cunningham said.
The Bonsall high school will have ninth-graders for 2014-15 and then expand by one grade each year through 2017-18. The high school will initially be on the Sullivan Middle School campus. The principal’s 2013-14 duties will include preparing the future high school for student enrollment and operations as well as handling the Sullivan Middle School principal duties.
Although the K-12 Bonsall Unified School District will not officially replace the K-8 Bonsall Union School District until July 1, 2014, the Bonsall Unified School District was legally created in February to handle transitional matters. The two boards consist of the same five members and meet on the same night, and the unified district board also approved the principal’s job description Aug. 8. The transitional activities will include transferring all existing Bonsall Union School District employees to the Bonsall Unified School District, which will officially make Heck the high school principal.