As prepares for its 63rd year of serving students in the La Mesa and Spring Valley areas, it will do so in 2012-13 with a new principal.
Dana James, who has been with the for 29 years, is taking over for Lisa Conry, who is retiring.
James brings lots of experience to the job, having taught children in kindergarten, and first, second, fifth and sixth grades during her career. In addition, she has specialized in “reading intervention” programs and has served as an English Language Learner coach.
James also has a lengthy list of schools at which she’s taught, so she’s familiar with the district and its students. Casa de Oro, will be her seventh district school, joining Elementary, Elementary, Elementary, Elementary, Elementary, and Sweetwater Springs Elementary.
James told Patch that she is excited about lots of the events the school has planned for the upcoming year, including a Jog-a-Thon, a Community Read-In and a Variety Show Night.
In addition to James, there are a few other new faces joining the faculty at Casa de Oro this year. Kim Nowak, a fourth grade teacher, is moving from Bancroft, and Jacoba Dolloff, a second grade teacher, is moving from Sweetwater Springs.
Parts of the school have been remodeled to update ADA requirements, in addition to a new parking lot.
But the best new feature, according to James, is that of interactive Smart Boards, a line of technologically advanced whiteboards, in each of the classrooms.
"This is a big deal for the students and the teachers because it lets the students interact while they learn on them," said James. "They even have responders where they can text their answers or responses up onto the Smart Board when asked. It is very unique and special to our school!"
James is a resident of Ramona, where she lives with her husband, Jeff. She has two children, Collin (19) and Abby (22). James earned a BA in Liberal Studies, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction, and an Administrative Credential, all from San Diego State University.
In addition to having a love of teaching and for the kids, she enjoys reading, working in the garden, and shopping.