South­west has new prin­ci­pal

Imperial Valley Press - - LOCAL & REGION - BY MARIO RENTERIA Man­ag­ing Editor

Matt Phillips will be the new prin­ci­pal at South­west High School start­ing July 1 af­ter a Cen­tral Union High School District Board of Trustees’ unan­i­mous vote re­cently.

Phillips will leave the su­per­in­ten­dent po­si­tion at Mead­ows Union Phillips El­e­men­tary School District, a ru­ral one-site school district lo­cated about six miles east of El Cen­tro, to join the Ea­gles.

“Although it’s hard to leave the won­der­ful peo­ple of Mead­ows Union, it’s very ex­cit­ing to be se­lected to lead South­west High School,” Phillips said. “It’s a pres­ti­gious school that de­serves its rep­u­ta­tion for aca­demic ex­cel­lence and su­perb spe­cial­ized pro­grams.”

Phillips will take the po­si­tion af­ter cur­rent Prin­ci­pal Bernardo Valen­zuela de­cided to step down, cit­ing the in­abil­ity to fully com­mit to his po­si­tion due to long daily com­mutes.

Valen­zuela is still liv­ing in La Quinta and made the com­mute daily.

“I was putting seven hours (com­mut­ing) a week and I was feel­ing it at home,” Valen­zuela said. “I’ve al­ways be­lieved in family first.”

Valen­zuela said he leaves with the high­est re­gard for the staff at South­west.

“I loved be­ing here. It’s an awe­some school, it’s an awe­some po­si­tion,” he said.

The search for a new prin­ci­pal started in March ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease from the school district.

“He comes to us with a proven record of ex­cel­lent lead­er­ship abil­ity, en­gag­ing in­ter­per­sonal skills and a phi­los­o­phy of team-build­ing and shared de­ci­sion-mak­ing,” stated the press re­lease on Phillips.

Phillips has pre­vi­ously been the prin­ci­pal at Wil­son Ju­nior High School and worked with the CUHSD closely.

“I have al­ways been im­pressed with the pro­fes­sion­al­ism and ded­i­ca­tion of the staff,” Phillips said. “The high stan­dards for aca­demic ex­cel­lence have been ap­par­ent to me for many years.”

He and his wife re­garded South­west so well, they sent their son to study there.

“On a per­sonal note, my wife and I chose South­west for my son Jonathan so that he could join the renowned orchestra pro­gram,” Phillips said. “We saw our son thrive and grow at South­west and we are grate­ful for the fine high school ed­u­ca­tion he re­ceived.”

Jonathan is now at­tend­ing the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia in River­side.

“I am hon­ored for the op­por­tu­nity and I look for­ward to the new chap­ter in my ca­reer,” Phillips said.

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