Returning families at Ripona Elementary School will be greeted by a new face.
Eva Matthews is the new principal, taking over this year from Gregg Elliott, who had been the top administrator at the school since 2017.
That’s the same year Matthews came to the Ripon Unified School District. She served as principal at Park View Elementary School, relocating with her family to the Central Valley after working for a small school district in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Matthews went from Park View to the District Office to serve as the Program Manager before coming to Harvest High last year.
It was there at the district’s alternative education school site that she engaged students in a contest for naming of a mascot – the Huskies won out, receiving 40 percent of the votes to edge out both the Honey Badgers and Hamsters.
Kathryn Dedrick will be the new principal at Harvest High.
At Monday’s Ripon Unified school board meeting, Director of Operations Andy Strickland mentioned that he moved the new principal from Harvest to Ripona as part of his facilities report.
The first day of the 2020-2021 school year is Aug. 12 but, due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, instructions will once again be that of distance learning, at least through Sept. 4.
Much has been refined since final few months of the previous school year. “We went from emergency to a distance learning platform,” Superintendent Ziggy Robeson said.
Lisa Fereira returns as principal at Weston Elementary School. She’s been with RUSD since 1992, including 14 of those years as a teacher.
Ripon Elementary School Principal Dana Phelps has been with the school district for nearly 25 years, teaching the various grade levels at Ripona, Colony Oak and Ripon Elementary before earning her Administrative Credential at Teachers College of San Joaquin County.
Cheryl Griffiths, who is the principal at Colony Oak, has been working the kindergarten- through- eighth- grade system for the past 22 years, including the last dozen as an administrator.
Jim Schuller is in his second year as principal at Park View. He’s a longtime educator and former basketball coach and athletic director.
Ripon High alumni Keith Rangel – he’s Class of 1995 – is entering his 20th year at the school. He taught P.E., Health and Special Education before becoming vice principal in 2011. In the 2016, Rangel became principal at RHS.