It’s orientation week at . The sound of drums can be heard as the marching band holds one of its first practices. Basketballs bounce on hardwood floors as the girls’ basketball practices inside the gymnasium. New students walk around and take it in, absorbing the scenery of their new homes. On the digital board outside, the school welcomes the new class of freshman.
They aren’t the only ones new to Benjamin Franklin High School this year, though. Deborah Madrigal will serve as Franklin’s new principal.
Madrigal was selected for the job by an interview panel which included the local superintendent, local director and magnet coordinator, UTLA representative Monica Whalen said.
Whalen who also attended the interview, said what stood out about Madrigal was her background. At her previous school she was a teacher first before becoming vice principal.
“She was a special [education] teacher, so I think she will really understand the needs of students who face challenges,” Whalen said. “Having that background will help her meet the challenges facing Franklin.”
In addition, Whalen said that Madrigal has shown strong leadership and loyalty.
“When her previous school was having a lot of transitions, she felt that the school needed permanent leadership so she became a vice principle,” Whalen said. “She was at the school a really long time so she’s going to stay at Franklin. Franklin really needs someone who will be there a long time and will be dedicated to the school.”
Previous Franklin Principal Joseph Narcorda began his assignment at the school at the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year. He was the school's 25th top administrator in the last decade, Whalen said.
The search for a permanent vice principal is still continuing, following the departure of the two former vice principals. Whalen said that the school will not replace one of the two vice principals because of a decreased school enrollment size, but is actively looking for a permanent replacement for Gus Barrientos, the vice principal in charge of counseling.
In the meantime, Whalen said, an interim temporary replacement will serve this fall.