Kibby Kleiman has had this three days of summer vacation.
Now he’s ready to take over the reins as head of Pinole Valley High School.
The veteran West Contra Costa County educator was named this summer as the school’s new principal.
Kleiman took over this past week for Sue Kahn, who is retiring. He’s ecstatic to be here.
“This is the what I’ve been working for. I wanted to be principal at my school,” he said. “This is the only job I’ve ever wanted. I’m not moving on to anything else.”
Kleiman has set three main goals for Pinole Valley High this school year.
The first is he wants the school’s students, teachers and administrators to get out into the community. He also wants the city’s residents to get involved with the school.
“I want to bring the community in and I want to bring us out into the community,” he said. “I want the community to know that this is Pinole’s school.”
The second is setting high classroom standards.
“I don’t want anything to get in the way of academic progress,” Kleiman said. “I want everything that happens in the classroom to be sacred.”
He doesn’t plan to micro-manage teachers, but he will have expectations.
“I want them to get to the standards,” he said. “How they get there is part of the art of teaching.”
The new principal believes that if classrooms are operating at a high levels, then other issues such as discipline will fall into place.
His third goal is to have open and constant communication between all parties from teachers to the community to students to the principal’s office.
He wants to improve the school’s website and get the word out on all that is happening on campus.
“There are a lot of things to celebrate here,” he said.
Kleiman grew up in Southern California and graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1985 with a degree in history.
He worked at Kennedy High School in Richmond from 1988 to 2009 as a teacher and then as an administrator.
From 2009 to last week, he worked at Richmond High School as a literacy coach and assistant principal.
He was teaching summer school when he was asked to apply for the job at Pinole Valley High.
Kleiman jumped at the chance. He was hired, finished his summer school duties, took three days off and then strode onto the Pinole Valley campus as its leader.
He’s coming at a time of change.
In fall 2014, Pinole Valley High will undergo a lengthy and major refurbishing. Classes will be moved to portable buildings on the ballfields while the work is done.
But first things first. Kleiman has this year to focus on and classes start on Tuesday.
“We don’t have four years to get good. We have to get good now,” Kleiman said.