Education briefs: CUSD promotes new Clovis West principal

May 24, 2012 

Clovis Unified School District trustees Wednesday night promoted Eimear O'Farrell to principal of Clovis West High School.

O'Farrell will begin serving as principal on July 1, replacing Ben Drati. Drati is moving to Santa Barbara to become an assistant superintendent.

O'Farrell has served as deputy principal at Clovis West for three years. She was previously principal at Valley Oak Elementary School. Under her leadership, Valley Oak posted some of the highest state test scores of any school in the district.

O'Farrell received her doctorate from Fresno State. She was born and raised in Ireland. She taught in the United Kingdom and was a teacher in Clovis Unified before moving into administration.

Childers to leave ACEL charter school

Dave Childers, executive director of the Fresno Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership, is leaving the charter high school to become Coordinator of Leadership Development at the Merced County Office of Education.

ACEL, which is located in downtown Fresno, focuses on independent learning and technology for grades 9-11, offering such programs as digital music. Students use iPads instead of textbooks, and the school has seen big gains in test scores. Childers was the first principal of the school.

ACEL's charter was renewed for five years in April, even though the Fresno Unified School District staff had recommended against it.

The staff cited concerns about the school's cash shortages and mounting debt. Three trustees followed the recommendation, but three did not and one trustee abstained, saving the school.

In a statement on the school's website, Childers said before leaving ACEL he would help the board find the "best possible person to assume the role of Executive Director/Principal."

University High among best schools

Fresno's University High School was ranked 10th best charter school and 46th best school overall in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. The private charter high school also ranked 10thin California in the survey.

Joining University High on the list were Fresno's Edison High, ranked 203 overall, and Clovis West High, ranked 206. The survey was out of 21,776 schools across the United States, Fresno State spokesman Tom Uribes said.

University High School was also recognized as the seventh best California school by Newsweek magazine and 80th best nationally and 10th best in California by The Washington Post.

USDA honors West Hills as ag college

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has named West Hills College Coalinga as a Hispanic-Serving Agriculture College.

The college was one of 11 community colleges in California and 71 colleges or universities designated nationwide.

The honor makes the school eligible for new grants as well as five new federal funding programs including an endowment fund and an equity grants program.

HSACUs are colleges or universities whose full-time student population is at least 25% Hispanic and that offer accredited agriculture-related programs. HSACUs must award at least 15% of degrees or certificates to Hispanic students.

600-plus students register to vote

More than 600 high school seniors registered to vote during May with the help of volunteers from the League of Women Voters of Fresno.

The League received a $1,000 grant from the United States League of Women Voters to help fund the project.

The schools involved: Bullard, Duncan Polytechnic, Fresno Adult School, Hoover, McLane, Roosevelt and Sunnyside high schools in Fresno Unified; Central East in Central Unified; Clovis North in Clovis Unified; and high schools in Firebaugh, Fowler, Kerman and Mendota.

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