Nermin Kamel, who took the reins at Alhambra High in May of 2011 from a very popular principal and 30-year district employee, said her first months on the job were not easy.
"Coming in to my first year as a high school principal certainly posed some challenges," she said Monday, "not least among those was following a principal who had been a beloved member of the community for over 30 years. I would be lying if I said that there weren't some growing pains in that transition. Certainly, all true learning experiences involve those. Each made me a stronger person and a better leader."
However, contrary to published reports about her announced departure, Kamel said she and her husband have decided that she should take a job closer to home.
"Conspiracy theorists will be disappointed to learn that my reasons have little to do with Alhambra or Martinez," she said. "My husband (newly wed in September) and I have talked things over and for personal reasons I am choosing not to share publicly at this time, we have decided that it would be best for our family if I held a different post that didn't require the long hours of being a high school principal at a school nearly 40 minutes from our home."
She said she gave early notice to the district to leave plenty of time to find the right candidates.
"Looking back at my time at Alhambra, what I feel mostly is pride in what we have accomplished together. In a very short time, we have added more than a dozen new courses, launched a comprehensive anti-bullying program, brought a College and Career planning program to every student in the high school, begun a successful internship model with UC Berkeley, and multiplied several times over the integration of technology in the classroom."
It was Kamel's first job as principal. She was recruited by the district from her assistant principal position at San Ramon Valley High School. However, she said she leaves her present post with a sense of sadness, and of pride.
"I was touched when I first walked in the door at Alhambra by the sign that read, 'Once a Bulldog, Always a Bulldog.' It is a statement I take with me proudly."