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Mantecan first principal of River Islands Technology Academy

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Mantecan first principal of River Islands Technology Academy

Brenda Scholl, the first principal of River Islands Technology Academy, is pictured during the first presentation about the charter school on Feb. 26 at the Dell’Osso Farms Country Store.

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED March 7, 2013 1:59 a.m.

LATHROP – Brenda Scholl has something in common with her mother that will be hard to match.

Back in 1990, her mother Kathryn Scholl became the first principal of Stella Brockman Elementary at Silverado Drive in northwest Manteca when it opened its doors that year.

In August, Brenda Scholl also will become the first principal of a brand-new school in Lathrop called the River Islands Technology Academy. Not only is the Academy the first charter school in Lathrop; it’s also the first educational institution to open at the master-planned community of River Islands on the west side of the San Joaquin River.

 She will be working with 13 teachers and specialists who will be teaching classes focused on the latest state-of-the-art technology as well classes in arts, science and music to an initial student enrollment of 350 students from kindergarten to sixth grade. While Scholl’s first day on the job is in August when the $25M school is completed, she actually started working in June 2012 when she was hired for the job. For the last several months, her job has been “behind the scenes,” planning and putting together the presentation meetings that allowed parents of prospective Academy students to learn everything about the new school, ask questions, and sign up their children if they so wished. The first two of those sessions were held on February 26 at the Dell’Osso Farms Country Store at River Islands. Two more sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and on Wednesday, March 20, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The upcoming presentations will likewise be held at the Dell’Osso Farms Country Store.

Scholl comes to her new job not only as a veteran school teacher but also an administrator. Just before she was offered to head the Academy last year, she had been principal for three years at her mother’s old school, Stella Brockman. Prior to that, she was vice principal at George McParland School for eight years. In fact, she opened McParland School Annex while she was there and Dale Borgeson was the principal and still is today.

In all, she was a school administrator for six years. She also had years of experience as a school teacher following her graduation from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. She received her master’s in education from the University of LaVerne.

She taught for a year in a public elementary school in Santa Barbara right after college. She also was a sixth-grade teacher at August Knodt Elementary in Weston Ranch before she went to work for the Stockton Unified School District. She was vice principal for three years at John Adams School in Stockton.

“That was also a great experience. I learned a lot there,” she said of her years at Stockton Unified.

When she was “hired back to Manteca Unified,” she became vice principal at McParland School just when they were opening the school annex a block away from the main campus on West Northgate Drive.

“I loved my experience working with Manteca Unified School District,” said Scholl.

In fact, McParland School Principal Borgeson is “definitely an ongoing mentor for me. He’s a wonderful man,” she said, adding she “really enjoyed the experience” of having to open the new McParland Annex School.

Scholl’s family roots run deep in The Family City. She was born in Livermore, but her parents Fred and Kathy Scholl, moved to Manteca when the new principal was in third grade. She attended Shasta School which, at that time, only went up to sixth grade. She attended junior high school – seventh and eighth grades – at Lincoln School.

She then went to Central Catholic High School in Modesto and that’s not just because it’s a “good school,” plus, she happens to be a Catholic. Scholl had been a competitive gymnast, and Central Catholic was conveniently located near the gymnastics club where she would continue her training.

As a gymnast, Scholl travelled all over the country taking part in various competitions. She was such a good gymnast that it became her ticket to obtain a full scholarship for college at Utah State University.

Scholl, who lives in Manteca with husband Bruce and their two children – Mia, 9, and Rex, 6 – considers herself fortunate in that her own parents continue to be “just a huge support.”

Her mother, while already retired, “still does work at San Joaquin County School of Education” where she was a director of state and federal programs. She also has the distinction of having worked with current SJCOE Superintendent Mick Founts and his predecessor, Fredrick Wentworth, both fellow Mantecans.

Scholl’s parents showed just how much they supported their daughter’s new venture in school administration by attending the first presentation held for the River Islands Technology Academy on Feb. 26.

Those planning to attend any of the upcoming enrollment sessions for the Lathrop charter school are asked to RSVP by logging onto RiverIslandsAcademy.net. They may also visit this web site for any other questions they have. They may also call (209) 337-7994.

Scholl said she accepted the job at the Lathrop Academy because “it’s a very exciting adventure to be able to create a school where all students will have an opportunity to be successful and be able to have a tool such as a computer to provide them information first-hand.”

The River Islands Technology Academy, which is being built on a 30-acre school site, is under the jurisdiction of Banta Elementary School District in Tracy. The new school with 25 classrooms, a multipurpose room, and new ball fields is being built by Sundt Construction, Inc. with HMC Architects of Sacramento as the designer.

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