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By Jeff Pack
Writer 

Fallbrook High principal resigns

 

Last updated 7/1/2019 at 2:07pm

Shane Gibson photo

David Farkas, Ph.D., seen here presiding over the class of 2019 graduation ceremonies at Fallbrook Union High School earlier this month, announced he would be resigning his position at the school last week.

Fallbrook High School parents and stakeholders received an email Tuesday, June 18, indicating that school principal, David Farkas, Ph.D., could be resigning.

"I want you to know that I am in the process of accepting a promotion and will most likely not be returning to our wonderful school," Farkas said in the release. "It is not easy for me to say goodbye because Fallbrook is such a special place. This new opportunity presented to me is one that doesn't come along too often, so I need to pursue it."

By Wednesday, June 19, Fallbrook Union High School District made it official, saying Farkas was indeed leaving the school.

The news comes at a strange time for the FUHSD as newly hired Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez won't start her first day on the job until July 1.

Stephen B. Halfaker, Ed.D., interim superintendent for the Fallbrook Union High School District, confirmed in an emailed statement that Farkas was leaving.

"Dr. Dave Farkas, the principal of Fallbrook High School, announced Wednesday that he has accepted a promotional opportunity in the San Ysidro Union School District as their executive director of human resources," Halfaker said. "Dave was integral in bringing the International Baccalaureate program to Fallbrook High School, which was authorized as a candidate school last year and is awaiting an authorization visit to become an IB World School that complements the AP and college prep programs. He has also been successful in providing site leadership for expanding opportunities in Career Technical Education, band and the large Ag programs; and he led the effort to secure the maximum six-year Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation.

"Dave's belief in teamwork and his professional communication style will be missed," he said.

According to Halfaker, the district would be posting the job opening as quickly as possible in order to get the most qualified candidates available in for interviews.

The email from Farkas started off innocently enough.

"As we begin to enjoy summer, I want to thank you all for your dedication to Fallbrook High School," he said in this email. "FHS is a wonderful school with so many incredible students, families and staff members, as well as tremendous programs. All of which makes this message incredibly difficult for me."

He went on to say that he thought the school was in capable hands and heading in the right direction.

"The future at Fallbrook High School looks so bright, and I will be staying connected to watch all the great things happening in the near future," he wrote. "This is incredibly difficult for me because of all the special relationships I have been privileged to develop. Keep striving to improve and always work together. Know that I will always have a special place in my heart for the WARRIORS."

He has not responded to requests for comment by the Village News.

Farkas assumed the job in late 2017 replacing embattled principal Larry Boone, who abruptly submitted his resignation Nov. 8, 2017, citing "urgent personal matters."

Boone had held the principal position since July 2015.

Farkas beat out 20 applicants for the position and came to Fallbrook High from the Hemet Unified School District, where he spent 12 years in administration, including nine years as a principal.

Farkas served as principal of Cottonwood School (K-8) from July 2008 to June 2013 before being named principal of Hamilton High School in July 2013.

Farkas left the principal post at Hamilton during the holiday break when he landed the job at Fallbrook.

"It's a new challenge for me," Farkas said of his new job at the time. "I was at a smaller school so it's exciting to have a bigger school and a new challenge."

At the time, in an interview with the Village News, Farkas assured faculty and students that he would be staying at Fallbrook High for quite a while.

"This isn't another piece of a resume that has some other career goal," Farkas said. "I'm excited about where we are and where we're going, including seeing the school succeed in every way, whether it's student interactions and culture, and, again, those assessment points like our state testing, our graduation rates, everything that goes with SATs and college entry."

However, Farkas is now leaving the school which was recently approved as a candidate to become an International Baccalaureate program. In March, the FUHSD board unanimously approved moving forward with the process of qualifying to add the program.

While authorization may still be a ways off, students will start to see the impact of IB as early as next year, with the launch of the "Fallbrook Global Village."

The global village will offer ninth and 10th grade courses taught by IB-trained teachers with the goal to prepare students for the IB diploma and career-related programs in their 11th and 12th years.

Fallbrook's hope is to have next year's ninth-graders in the Global Village become the first class for IB if the authorization process is successful and completed on time.

The IB program aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge as well as students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically.

"We expect to have 150 entering the Global Village as freshman next year," Farkas at the time. "These students will then begin to prepare to take IB classes when they become juniors. In a few years, I expect FHS to have an enrollment of over 2,100 students and over 400 in the IB program."

Village News correspondents contributed to this report.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.

 

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