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San Clemente High Principal Moves to Ladera Ranch Middle School

George Duarte will close out the school year at SCHS, then start a new chapter.

San Clemente High School Principal George Duarte will be leaving that post at the end of the school year to become a principal at Ladera Ranch Middle School.

Duarte replaces Karen Gerhard, who announced she will retire in June, according to a Capistrano Unified School District Press release.

The move means Capo Unified will start the 2013-14 year with possibly three new high school principals. A new principal at Tesoro was just named, and the district is looking to fill the spot at Junipero Serra High School.

Duarte sought the position to gain middle school experience and to take on new challenges, the press release states.

“During his tenure at San Clemente High School, George has overseen a marked improvement in academic achievement as well as increased graduation and college attendance rates,” Superintendent Joe Farley said in a prepared statement.

“We believe George’s experience leading a large, complex, and successful high school community will translate to continued success for the students at Ladera Ranch Middle School,” Farley said.

Duarte began his career in education as a history teacher at Redondo Union High School in 1992. He then taught at Desert High School in Antelope Valley for four years before becoming an assistant principal.

In 1999, Duarte joined the San Clemente High School staff as an assistant principal. He was promoted to principal in 2006.

Laura Arnone April 18, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Best news I've heard ALL YEAR! ADIOS!
concerned parent April 18, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Why? (I don't know anything about him.) Karen Gerhard has been an exceptional principal, in my opinion, and will be missed terribly.
V. Duvall April 18, 2013 at 09:14 PM
That's what I say. My kid was an excellent student there, never got into trouble. A discipline file didn't exist on him until the almost last day of his Sr. year and Duarte caught him in the parking lot with a knit cap on while he was attending something after school on a cool night. He actually wrote him up! My kid also wanted to take Algebra 2 Trig over so he could have a better grade. Duarte said "he had his chance, he doesn't deserve another one". Well, he took it over and got an A. Now he's a mechanical engineer making three times what Duarte makes. and he's only been at it 4 years. All he wanted to do was learn more. What a jerk.
DJ April 18, 2013 at 09:35 PM
I'm extremely sad. He is an awesome person and principal. I have two children at SCHS. His positive attitude and skills made me move my children to SCHS from a private school. He will be missed!!
Tom DeNault April 18, 2013 at 10:37 PM
George will be greatly missed. My daughter is a recent graduate from SCHS and I currently serve on the San Clemente Educational Foundation. George works hard and is respected by both students and teachers alike.
Erika Schulte April 19, 2013 at 05:43 AM
"the district is looking to fill the spot at Junipero Serra High School." Am I missing something? Isn't J Serra a private school, unrelated to CUSD?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) April 19, 2013 at 01:41 PM
JSerra Catholic is a private school Junipero Serra High School is a continuation school. The replacement of its principal is on the agenda for the school board on Wednesday.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) April 19, 2013 at 01:42 PM
And yes, it's confusing! They're probably only half a mile from each other, too!
Erika Schulte April 19, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Got it - thanks for clarifying Penny!
F Denison April 22, 2013 at 11:12 PM
I'm so glad Karen Gerhard is living Ladera Ranch. My child was been bully for the last two years and she did not do anything about it or her assistan principal Maynard. The tax payers paying her $120,000.00 per year and she did nothing to protect my child.
M April 25, 2013 at 02:04 PM
@F it's interesting you mentioned that your child was bullied. We're the parents of these bullies ever held accountable for their children's actions? If not, why not?

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