Two principals at the Norwalk-La Mirada School District are poised to build a pathway toward success for their students as they begin their new posts at Waite Middle and Glazier Elementary schools.
Dr. Susan Newcomb, a seasoned educator with vast middle school administrative experience, will head the team at Waite while Jean Rebholz, who has served in many teaching and administrative capacities at the District for 15 years, will serve as principal at Glazier.
“Both Dr. Newcomb and Ms. Rebholz have proven track records of spearheading programs that have had successful student learning outcomes,” said NLMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ruth Pérez. “As the District gears up for many, big changes that lay ahead, these leaders are going to be instrumental in preparing our students for the educational journeys that we hope lead to fruitful careers and lives.”
Newcomb, formerly assistant principal at Waite and Los Alisos Middle School Math Science Technology Magnet, started in education 21 years ago as a yard aide at a private elementary school. From there, she went on to become an instructional aide, substitute teacher, community tutor, kindergarten teacher, reading intervention teacher and literacy coach before becoming an administrator.
Newcomb earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as her teaching credentials from California State University, Fullerton. She received a fellowship to pursue a doctorate at Claremont Graduate University and enjoyed multiple trips to Columbia University Teachers College to participate in the Reading and Writing Project.
Her goals for the upcoming year are to focus on three key areas: instructional leadership, community involvement and socio-emotional support for students. For each key area, Newcomb said, there are elements of high expectations, clarity in communication and positive, proactive support to help students, staff and families.
“Waite will move from being ‘a school’ but will be known as ‘the school’ in the area that is able to address the varied students on our campus and the diverse interests they have in meeting the rigors of the Common Core State Standards,” Newcomb said.
Rebholz started her educational career at NLMUSD as a teacher in 1999. In 2006, Rebholz became a literacy coach where she collaborated with administration and professional learning communities to revise school site plans and led staff development in the areas of literacy, performing arts and curriculum design for English-language learners.
After spending four years as literacy coach, Rebholz served as administrative Teacher on Special Assignment until becoming assistant principal at Benton Middle School in 2011.
Rebholz holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a master’s degree in education from Whittier College and a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University.
This year, Glazier is gearing up to be one of two elementary schools in the District to launch “Project Lead the Way” (PLTW) curriculum – the nation’s leading provider of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs. Rebholz’s ultimate goals are to successfully roll out STEM modules with a with an emphasis on Arts integration to shift from STEM to STEAM so that students are better prepared for specialized programs offered at Corvallis and Los Alisos Middle Schools.
“While STEM and Visual and Performing Arts may seem to be isolated programs, they truly are connected,” Rebholz said. “Both programs focus on the development of high quality products. Students have a clear focus and purpose for their learning as they research, explore, collaborate and critically think about the project they design and develop. Students are highly engaged and consider the audience that makes the projects relevant to their lives.”
NLMUSD Board of Education President Margarita Rios said she looks forward to the new school year and what Newcomb and Rebholz bring to their schools.
“Each year brings a new opportunity to find creative ways in ensuring our students are well-educated and prepare for what is ahead,” Rios said. “Dr. Newcomb and Ms. Rebholz have very strong, proven leadership skills, which are necessary as a school principal. However, they are also very creative, and that skill is needed to move our schools and our students forward.”