‘A vibrant community of learners’

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Work at Barranca Elementary helped Dean move up to asst. superintendent

By The Staff

Looking back at Paula Dean’s career as principal of Barranca Elementary School, there is a long list of accomplishments achieved and milestones reached.

Dean has been the principal at Barranca since January 2006, where she has worked to ensure student safety, develop a strong collaborative culture among staff and foster openness with the Barranca community.

2008 Teacher of the Year Scott Johnson said he was pleased with the selection. “I am excited for Paula because I know she has vision and can help build our district into a vibrant community of learners,” Johnson said. “Paula has helped our staff identify students struggling with academics and work better as a group to address the needs.  She has made us all take responsibility for all students and that has resulted in higher achievement throughout Barranca Mesa.”

Dean has spent her time establishing effective communication strategies within the school and total school community, which will bode her well as she transfers into her new position next month.  

At Barranca, Dean used data to influence decisions regarding student achievement, student welfare and family needs. The whole child approach is one that will be successful in today’s economic climate where students are faced with a variety of situations at home that can lead to a huge impact on performance and learning at school.

Shannon Trujillo, special education contact person and one of Barranca’s speech-language pathologists, has worked at the site for seven years. “I think Paula has been a great leader at Barranca and will be an outstanding asset to the district. Paula is fair, supportive and keeps student needs a primary focus when making decisions. I am going to miss her sense of humor and positive attitude,” she said.

Sandy Secret, Barranca secretary, credits Dean with being willing to listen to all viewpoints before making a decision.

“I am so happy for Paula but also so happy for the district. Paula will bring so much experience to the job of assistant superintendent. She will do great things for the district I’m sure.” Secret said. “Personally I will miss her and how easy a person she is to work for.  She will be very hard to replace.  It was a wonderful five years at Barranca with her as principal.”

Leaving Barranca will be no easy task for Dean.

“The decision to do so was hard because this school family — staff, students and parents — are without exception the most wonderful, generous, dedicated group of people I have been honored to work with,” she said. “I only console myself with the reminder that I’m not going to South America, Bali or even Oregon, but only to 2075 Trinity.”