By Natalie Hardy
This year Alameda High has welcomed new principal Robert Ithurburn to its campus. Originally from Yuba City, Ithurburn travelled the globe before landing at AHS. He most recently led the staff at Willard Middle School in Berkeley and is also an avid traveler who enjoys reading and sports. This is his first year at AHS and his fourteenth year as a principal.
Teachers and staff describe Ithurburn as approachable, funny and passionate about his work and, while he is a leader, he makes sure individuals feel welcome to talk to him. They also explained their excitement about working with him.
English teacher Rick Teixeira described Ithurburn as a friendly and an innovative person. “He’s very approachable, dynamic—loves what he does,” Teixeira said, adding that Ithurburn has a “positive energy [and] fosters community.”
Vice principal Michael Lee explained his enthusiasm for Ithurburn as well. “I look forward to him continuing to lead [and] move the school [ahead].”
Students also feel Ithurburn’s positive energy throughout the school. Junior Paulina Jasso described him as a cheerful person. “I haven’t really gotten to know him but [he seems] jolly,” she said.
Ithurburn describes his previous school, Willard, as smaller and younger than AHS.
“Because it was middle school [they were] not as mature, but it did have a great diversity and families,” Ithurburn said of the Willard community.
Before becoming a principal, Ithurburn taught a variety of courses, including US history and government in high school, as well as English and social studies in middle school.
Ithurburn explained that he wanted to be the principal at AHS because he was ready to return to a high school that had a lot to offer.
“I wanted to go back to high school, and I wanted a school with a diverse population and definitely [a] public school,” Ithurburn said. “Alameda is the whole package,” he added.
In addition to wanting to be a part of school culture, Ithurburn meets with leadership frequently to discuss ways to improve the school, which includes programs such as Caught-In- the-Act. The idea of Caught-In-the-Act is to reward students if they are seen doing good acts around the school.
Ithurburn wants to help “refocus teachers to look at the positive in students,” hesaid. “Positive reinforcement can increase positive behavior,” he added.
Although he has been at AHS for a short period of time, Ithurburn describes his experience as enjoyable and promising. He also says the level of responsibility and student empowerment is incredible. He said he looks forward to getting to know students and finding new ways to strengthen school culture, and to encourage students and teachers.
“Every day I’m impressed by the students, parents, staff [and how] supportive they are,” Ithurburn said. He also looks forward to going into classrooms and observing students work, as well as watching school sports.
Teachers also appreciate his ideas. “His focus on collaboration [with] common core and different departments,” Teixeira said, will help the faculty prepare for new changes in the curriculum.