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Komure principal retires, plans to teach at National

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POSTED February 1, 2013 12:52 a.m.

WESTON RANCH — After six years at George Komure Elementary School in Weston Ranch, Principal Jo Ella Allen is ready to call it a career. But not without a grand send-off from her staff and the school’s 980 students.

“In the morning, they had a huge assembly for me and sang songs,” said Allen who, during her entire tenure at Komure, commuted from her home in Brentwood, a city in Contra Costa County.

“I’m going to miss the kids. I love the (school) district and I love the school,” she said.

It was, in fact, her experience with the people she encountered when she was considering the job at Komure which convinced her to accept the position.

“I had the opportunity to come here, and the people that I met were so nice and so polite, and I thought, ‘gosh, I like to work for these people!’ And it’s been a real pleasure. Everyone has been very supportive,” said Allen during the telephone interview just before the official end of her last day at the school on Thursday.

Allen came to Manteca Unified’s Komure School from Deer Valley High in Antioch where she was the principal to a student population of 3,600.

“So this seemed like a small school to me,” she said about subsequently taking over the helm at Komure Elementary with its less than 1,000 enrollment.

With about two decades of experience in the education field, Allen said it’s time to move on to the next chapter of her career.

“I just decided that this is the time for me,” she said of her decision to retire.

Her post-retirement plans include “doing the little things that you always dreamed you wanted to do” plus traveling, teaching part-time at National University, and spending time with her two grandkids ages 3 and 5 who live in San Francisco. She and her husband Wayne, a retired swimming pool contractor, have two children.

“I garden, I hike, I swim. I’m very active for an old lady,” Allen said with a laugh, giving a list of her other hobbies.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Texas State University and her master’s degree in Education from the University of LaVerne. She holds a national accreditation by American Society of Clinical Pathologists.

Succeeding Allen as principal at Komure Elementary is Jeffrey Podesto whose appointment was announced by the Board of Education at their regular meeting last week. Today is his first day on the job as Komure School’s principal. In his new assignment, Podesto is simply going back to the school where he served as vice principal from 2004 to 2009. Since 2009, until his promotion to principal at Komure, he served as vice principal at Great Valley Elementary which is also located in Weston Ranch.

Podesto has worked at all the three elementary schools in Weston Ranch. He also taught at August Knodt Elementary where he started his teaching career in 1996.

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