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Hart principal Heller moving to Village High School as VP

Heller is fourth PUSD principal to leave position since February

Hart Middle School principal Leslie Heller is transferring to Village High School in the new school year, where she was recently named new vice principal of Pleasanton Unified School District's alternative education campus.

Heller's shift marks the fourth time since February that a PUSD principal has stepped down, following two previous resignations and one retirement. The move also leaves Hart without any upper administration at the moment -- though the district is nearing the end of recruitment to fill two vacant vice principal positions.

Heller delivered the news "with mixed emotions" on Friday in an email to the Hart community, whom she thanked for their "support and collaboration." The longtime PUSD employee called it "a privilege watching our students learn, grow as individuals, and celebrate their success."

"I have cherished my time serving our students, families and staff as principal over the last three years," Heller said. "I am grateful for the connections I have made with many of you, and for the progress that we have made together for our students."

Before stepping into her position at Hart in 2016, Heller was vice principal for four years at Foothill High School, and also taught English for more than a decade at Amador Valley High School, where she served as the English department chairperson.

Several PUSD leaders are officially resigning effective June 30, including Amador Valley principal Alberto Solorzano and Vintage Hills Elementary School principal Ann Jayne -- both whom have been on a leave of absence for several months. Solorzano stepped down in February, shortly after a district investigation found that unnamed administrators broke state law by removing a grade from a student's high school transcript, while Jayne left Vintage Hills in March for unspecified reasons.

Pleasanton Middle School is also undergoing major administrative turnover; principal Jill Butler is retiring at the end of June and vice principal Mike O'Brien is heading to Vintage Hills as principal when the 2019-20 school year begins. Joe Nguyen, principal at Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon, was recently appointed to replace Butler as the new Pleasanton Middle School principal.

The school board will discuss the possible appointment of a new Pleasanton Middle School vice principal and a new Amador principal on Tuesday evening during a closed session before their regular meeting.

Heller said that she "will be working with the district on my transition and look forward to continuing to serve our Pleasanton students in the new year."

District officials said they "expect to bring Ms. Heller's appointment before the Board of Trustees in June and have begun recruitment efforts to identify a new principal. We are beginning with an internal recruiting process."

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