Though their institutions are located approximately two miles apart, San Marino High School Principal Jason Kurtenbach and Daryl Topalian, his counterpart at Huntington Middle School, had an identical message last Thursday morning. “It is great to see the kids again,” said Kurtenbach, as students completed the requisite temperature screening and filed into SMHS.
Daryl Topalian, who spent the past year as Huntington Middle School’s assistant principal, has been promoted to principal at the school, Superintendent Jeff Wilson announced.
Topalian will replace Alana Fauré, who is moving to become principal at Valentine Elementary School to fill in for Colleen Shields, who recently stepped down.
Before coming to San Marino, Topalian served as assistant principal, activities director and athletic director at Oak Avenue Intermediate School in the Temple City Unified School District. He has more than 25 years of experience at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Topalian has a master’s degree in school counseling from Azusa Pacific University and a bachelor’s degree in Christian education from The Master’s College.
Last year, Topalian was selected from a pool of 62 candidates due to his “extensive experience as a middle school administrator, his demonstrated commitment to working with teachers, staff, students and the community to continuously provide a successful school climate,” according to Fauré.
Topalian said that he is “thrilled” to step in as principal.
Saying it’s “a true honor and a blessing to be here,” Daryl Topalian was introduced at Tuesday evening’s meeting of the San Marino school board as the next Assistant Principal of Huntington Middle School. Topalian will replace Rick Barclay, who resigned in December 2018 to find a job closer to home following the birth of his first child.
Topalian has served as assistant principal, activities director and athletic director at Oak Avenue Intermediate School in the Temple City Unified School District. He has over twenty-four years of experience at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
“He is a high-energy guy,” a former co-worker of Topalian’s said on Tuesday afternoon. “He interacts really well with middle school students. You got a good one.”
Topalian has a Master’s Degree in school counseling from Azusa Pacific University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian education from The Master’s College.
During his address at Tuesday’s board meeting, Topalian glanced towards a group of HMS students who were assembled to receive recognition for their recent Science Team exploits.
“I am looking forward to working with you,” said Topalian, as the students returned smiles.
Topalian was selected from a pool of 62 candidates and was chosen due to his “extensive experience as a middle school administrator, his demonstrated commitment to working with teachers, staff, students and the community to continuously provide a successful school climate,” according to HMS Principal Alana Fauré.
During his introduction, Interim Superintendent Loreen Kleinrock said Topalian “constantly looks on the bright side and fosters a positive school climate,” according to his research.
“I am very excited to have been selected as the new Huntington Middle School assistant principal and am committed to developing a strong sense of community and rapport with students, teachers, and parents,” Topalian said.
The school board also approved by a 4-0 vote a State-mandated curriculum for health and sex education in accordance with the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA), which will go into effect for the 2019-20 school year. The subject matter—which must be taught for one year in middle school and another in high school—will include topics such as the nature of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and how they are prevented, treated and transmitted; contraception, abstinence, pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes; sexual orientations, same-sex relationships, gender expression and identity; sexual abuse and violence; and sexual harassment and human trafficking.
Jason Kurtenbach, the San Marino Unified School District’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, said at a previous school board meeting that the classes will be taught in 7th and 10 grades, in accordance with state mandates. School Board President Lisa Link asked Kurtenbach is he had received feedback from the community and Kurtenbach indicated there was little, though one parent, Morsan Chan, spoke during the public comment section of Tuesday’s meeting and urged the board to vote against the proposal.
The board also heard the first reading regarding a possible loan for $6.8 million the district might arrange to overcome cash flow shortages. The program, called a TRAN loan [Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note) was explained by Chet Wang, the district’s financial advisor, and will be voted on at the board’s meeting on Tuesday, May 14.
The board also congratulated Huntington Middle School’s award-winning Science Team and mentioned winners of the Reflections contest, though none were in attendance.