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Alhambra Principal Leaving For 'Family Reasons'

Nermin Kamel says that despite some initial growing pains as a new principal, her decision to leave is for purely personal reasons.

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."

Marshall Cochrane February 27, 2013 at 02:47 AM
40 minute commute too far from home???Right, that's adequate reason to leave a challenging job as a high school principal...Sounds like someone who is overwhelmed by the challenge...Too bad...Selection process must be reengineered if the stick factor is only 2 years...I've never had a job which wasn't at least a 60 minute commute...can't appoint to pollianaish administrators at a time when really hardnose, creative and inspirational leadership is required to provide the quality of education and educational challenges necessary to equip our young people to compete in a very aggressive high tech future world.
Martinez Parent February 27, 2013 at 04:40 AM
I have the last of my 3 kids now at Alhambra High, and I can tell you this Principal has been as positive a force at the school as I've ever seen. There was for years a real lack of accountability at this school, as there is in the district overall it seems to me, and that has changed some recently. I hope we aren't back to slackery & indifference after Ms Kamel, but fear the worst. My son says improvements at the school has been noticeable over the last year. From my perspective teachers now respond to communications, seem to give more feedback on papers and grade things quicker, etc. There are all sorts of new initiatives, and a new focus on academic achievement. If you know our high school, you know that is not the history and culture, sad to say. In my prior experiences when I complained about teachers having poor follow through or not doing their job, I was told that's the way it is and nothing can be done. Our district officials talk reform but don't even know where to begin. They give lip service but have no follow through. Ms Kamel in my experience is 'hard nosed, creative, and inspirational' in the best sense. I for one notice a palpable difference, and from talking to others at least some other parents feel the same. Thank you Ms Kamel Fraser for your many contributions to our school. I'm sorry we aren't better equipped to take advantage of your abilities and enthusiasm, & our family wishes you the very best wherever you end up!

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