The new principal at Foothill High, Jason Krolikowski, describes himself as a "veteran new guy," with three years each at two assistant principal posts in other Bay Area high schools, but said he's come to Foothill to stay.
"Being a principal has always been something I consider an ultimate position," Krolikowski said. "My commitment is to be here for as long as I'm wanted and as long as I can."
The new principal spoke to about 50 parents at the school year's first Friday Forum, and drew applause when he told the crowd, "I want to be better than Amador."
Krolikowski said he learned a lot at two very different assistant principal jobs -- one at De Anza High School in El Sobrante, where he said six parents showed up at back to school night for a school population of 1,000, and the other at Dougherty Valley High in San Ramon, where he said the norm was "go to school, study, go to bed, repeat," and where student stress is one of the biggest concerns.
He gave the parents what he called a snapshot of his first days on the job, saying he knows he has a lot to learn about Foothill culture.
"I've already seen great things, and I've already seen some things where I asked, 'Why did you do that. What's the educational purpose behind that?'"
Krolikowski said he'll work to make Foothill meet the district's strategic plan, saying "Everything we do is based on this document."
He also promised to get students not only ready for college, but ready to succeed.
"Ultimately, it's about getting our students ready for life after high school," whether that's college or a career, he said, and that he believes in "the potential and promise of each child."
Getting students ready to succeed may be specially significant for Krolikowski.
"I was an average student," he confessed to the crowd. He said he spent two years at community college near his parents' home in San Diego before transferring to San Francisco State. There, he earned a teaching credential with the goal of teaching physical education and coaching. He later received a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Cal State East Bay.
At De Anza high, Krolikowski became department head, athletic director and leadership teacher before the principal there suggested he move into administration, something he said he'd never considered before.
At Foothill, Krolikowski said, he'll work toward getting the school ready for Common Core State Standards, which requires students to dig more deeply into what they're learning and requires more nonfiction reading. The standards apply across all classes, so that students will be doing more reading in science as well as history.
"Students will be able to read with a purpose," he said, adding he'd model "curiousity, integrity and empathy."
Krolikowski also promised better communication with parents, saying they'd would be told what each student is required to learn.
"I can tell you I have high standards of accountability," he said. "I'm going to have to prove that to you."
Krolikowski lives in San Ramon, "eight minutes away," with his wife of 10 years, Lisa, and two children, Ryan, 8, who just entered third grade, and Mika, 6, who's in prekindergarten.