For the fourth time in six years, Moorpark High School will be getting a new principal. Jason Peplinski tendered his resignation to the Moorpark Board of Education and a new appointment has just been announced. Carrie Pentis, currently an assistant principal at MHS, will be replacing Peplinski as of July 1.
Peplinski submitted his resignation in order to accept a new position as principal at Santa Susanna High School, a performing arts and technology magnet school in Simi Valley.
Peplinski said he had mixed emotions about his decision, but felt the opportunity at Simi Valley matched up well with his academic background and interests.
“I used to be a drama and choral teacher,” he said, “so I do have a passion for the arts. They also have a strong academic program.”
Looking back on his two-year administration, Peplinski noted that the school had taken great strides in improving its academics.
“I think the high school has made significant advancements in its API (Academic Performance Index) scores. Last year we went up 22 points. We’re now at 812. In addition, the staff morale has really improved,” he said. API scores range from a low of 200 to a high of 1000 points.
Peplinski has also overseen the school’s most recent accreditation process by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (link: http://www.wascweb.org) (WASC), which should be completed by next year.
No stranger to education in east Ventura County, Peplinski taught leadership and AP Spanish at MHS from 2000-2004. He then served in Simi Valley as an assistant principal at Royal High School for three years and as principal at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, also in Simi Valley, for two years before returning to Moorpark High in 2009.
In terms of his years at MHS, Peplinski acknowledged his gratitude to Moorpark community members.
“I want to thank them for all their support,” he said. “It’s been a great experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m also excited for Carrie Pentis. I feel like the school is in really great hands.”
Pentis has been working for the Moorpark Unified School District in various capacities since 1994. She received an undergraduate degree from California Lutheran University in business management and a master’s degree in educational counseling from the University of LaVerne.
Currently, as assistant principal at MHS, Pentis is in charge of preparing the master schedule and overseeing student safety, which includes a strong partnership with the school resource officer. She is also well versed in response to intervention, student instruction, counseling, athletics, attendance and student activities.
Looking toward the future of the school, Pentis knows the fiscal challenge that lies ahead.
“I have 16 years of experience with the district and this is the hardest time I’ve ever seen,” said Pentis, “but we have a dedicated staff of teachers and parents who are extremely supportive.”
Pentis believes, however, that whatever happens with the state budget in Sacramento, the Moorpark community will continue to rally.
“I think it has a lot to say about our community,” she said. “Everybody is stepping up to provide support for our students.”
Once she steps in as principal, Pentis will continue to work on providing a well-rounded program for students.
“We will continue to develop professional learning communities with a focus on all students,” she said, “to create an effective learning environment that supports a well-rounded education. Student learning will remain at the center of all we do in our attempt to foster mature, humane scholars (MHS).”
For Pentis, her opportunity to provide leadership at MHS is an exciting challenge.
“I’m really looking forward to working with staff, students and parents at MHS,” she said. “I think that Mr. Peplinski has laid a solid foundation for me to move forward.”