Berkeley Unified’s Director of Personnel Services Pasquale Scuderi will be Berkeley High’s next principal, the school board announced last night at its regular meeting. Scuderi's appointment follows a somewhat embarassing national search in which half of the candidates changed their minds and decided not to show up for interviews.
Scuderi came to the district in 2006 and was a vice principal at Berkeley High before moving to his current position. Superintendent Bill Huyett said Scuderi is popular among the Berkeley High community. “He is very well-respected by all the entities at Berkeley High,” Huyett said in an interview after the meeting. “That’s one thing that became very evident during the selection process.”
The selection of Scuderi comes at the end of a lengthy national search that saw some fits and starts: after a first round failed to yield enough qualified candidates — and three of six applicants didn’t show up to their interviews — the selection committee was forced to redouble and expand its efforts in May, the Daily Cal reported at the time.
The current principal, Jim Slemp, announced his retirement in March after six years on the job. Slemp came after a string of short-lived leaders: before him, the school had seen five principals in as many years. During his tenure at Berkeley High, Slemp oversaw the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program and the school’s reconfiguration into six distinct small learning communities — though he and the school certainly also saw some controversy during his time there, most recently the science labs debate.
Parent-teacher association Vice President Mark van Krieken praised Scuderi and said his experience both as a vice principal and in the district office would likely prepare him for the job. “He already has an awareness of what the issues are at the high school, of the issues that most need to be addressed,” van Krieken said. “He can hit the ground running.”