La Canada High School Principal McFeat Outlines Campus Improvements

The “Big Time” is alive and well when one takes a walk around our campus these days. The buildings have almost all been sanded, scraped, primed and painted. Surfaces have been repaired that haven’t been touched in ten years, and signs will be installed in the next few days to help make our campus easier to navigate. I spoke with one of the contractors on site recently about our bid and the painting process, and he explained that this was the most detailed, thoughtful, planned out, purposeful painting project he has ever seen in public education. Either this speaks to the fact that we are a really picky community, or we just expect perfection. I would like to think it is the latter. Many thanks to our painting committee, Board Members, Boosters, PTSA, Mark Evans our Chief Business Officer, and Wendy Sinnette, our Superintendent, for all of their work on this project. Thank you also to our community for your support and input throughout the process. The success of this project dovetails nicely with our Spartan Spirit Campaign, which is fully underway. I will send a kick off note about Phase II in the near future, but I did want to send a quick note of thanks to our Boosters who have taken on our Fitness Center redesign and delivered a huge upgrade in equipment and facilities. We will have a grand reopening this fall so look for this communication in the next few weeks.

I would like to have you join me in welcoming our newest Assistant Principal, Mary Hazlett. Mary comes to us from Glendale where she taught for the past 17 years. While Mary is new to administration, she is not new to its policies and procedures. Mary has, for many years worked as the coordinator for ASB, and in various other leadership roles at Glendale High. Mary brings a confidence and know how that will serve us well at the 9-12. Please welcome her when you get the chance.

Like last year we have some staffing changes we are proud to announce. In the Math department we have a new teacher joining us. Mr. Brian McDermott comes to us from Alliance College Ready Public Schools in Los Angeles, where he taught high-level mathematics before taking his post here. In addition to Mr. McDermott we also welcome Sarah Beattie, a former student here, who, as you remember, helped us last year as a full year substitute in Social Science. We have quite a few transfers and shifts to mention as well. One particularly exciting shift is that Bob Phillips joins the English Department after years of his exemplary work with our yearbook and Media Arts. Also in English, Daisy Kim joins us from the 7/8, and looks to bring her knowledge of best practices to our students. From the 7/8, Sean Mispagel joins the ranks of our History Department. Sean has been a pillar of the 7/8 teaching staff, and we are thrilled for his addition at the high school. Two transfers join the ranks of our counseling team: Kimberly Lauxen joins us from LCE, and Susan Maljian joins us from PCR. Both of these new counselors will join our three new college counselors in our redesigned department. Melissa Kukta and Greg Jackson both join our redesigned counseling department from their previous posts at Westlake High School. Both come to us with a knowledge and dexterity of purpose in college counseling and will add years of experience. Finally, Irene Yu joins our counseling team from Pacific Academy High School in Irvine. Lastly, one of our openings in counseling has created an additional opening for our Pep Squad Advisor position. This has been filled by Cindy Calm, who returns to Pep as not only an alumni of our school and program, but a past advisor as well.

Our students have commented that all of our facility upgrades have made them feel more comfortable and focused in their classes. And, we have many fantastic initiatives with instruction that will remain a large part of our programs. So much of our instructional focus this year will be on honing in on the foundational work we have began with Professional Learning Communities, (PLC’s) and our Common Core implementation. Our redesigned and realigned math courses, along with our pedagogical work with Teachers Development Group training, will bolster our already stellar offerings. Finally, our good news continues with the beginning this year’s JPL Academy. The academy, an extension of the program initiated last year, will continue to offer students first hand experiences with JPL, offering students opportunities and insights that uniquely position them to understand and explore engineering applications and space exploration. All of this is to say that this year’s instructional focus is less about new initiatives, and more about sustaining and strengthening these programs.

I hope to see you around campus, at our activities, sporting events, concerts, and community gatherings.

Ian McFeat – Principal

La Cañada High School, 4463 Oak Grove Drive, La Cañada, (818) 952-4200 or visit



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