ORIGINAL VERSION Mr. Tranchi stepping down next year to pursue doctorate degree in education

Emilie Benyowitz, BP Staff

BACK TO THE LAB: General Studies Principal Phu Tranchi, shown here making ice cream with his AP Chem last year, will teach science and serve as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the 2011-12 school year. He's been accepted into a doctoral program in education at UCLA.

Zev Hurwitz, Editor-in-Chief

Principal Phu Tranchi will be stepping down for next year to pursue a doctorate in education, incoming head of school Rabbi Ari Segal confirmed to The Boiling Point Wednesday. Taking his place will be current Dean of Students and English teacher Roy Danovitch.

Mr. Tranchi will still teach several science classes at Shalhevet and chair the Science Department, while also being in charge of curriculum and instruction — all while studying in UCLA’s Educational Leadership Program, a 36-month program on education and instruction and culminates in a doctorate degree.

The change was his idea, Mr. Tranchi said.

“Theoretically, the idea of stepping down was to remove me from day to day things,” said Mr. Tranchi, who has been principal since 2008. “Instruction and curriculum are areas I want to focus on.”

Although not officially announced to the student and parent body, a broad outline of the coming change became widely known after several teachers and parents related it to students over the past two weeks. Mr. Tranchi and Mr. Danovitch were not authorized to talk to the Boiling Point on the record before any official announcement was made.

But contacted in Houston, where he is currently head of school at the Samuel Beren Academy, Rabbi Segal confirmed that Mr. Tranchi was stepping aside and said new appointments were part of a larger revisiting of administrative positions for the 2011-2012 school year.

“The administration is not a jigsaw puzzle,” Rabbi Segal said in a phone interview. “Faculty and administrators will be given roles based on their different skill sets.”

He also said Mr. Tranchi would be in his new role, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, for the “foreseeable future.”

“[Mr. Tranchi’s] graduate program will focus on these areas so it’s fitting that he will take on a role that involves curriculum and instruction,” he said, adding that a job chart outlining all administrative roles and duties would be available to the community over the summer. “Titles are very broad and we’re going to try to create clarity for who to go to for what issues.”

Rabbi Segal said that Mr. Danovitch’s new title would be Acting General Studies Principal, and that he would also teach English next year. Mr. Danovitch said that in his new role, he would continue his current focus on students.

“Students come first,” Mr. Danovitch said. “A school only functions when students are in class with a teacher and that has to remain our top priority.”

He also noted that next year’s administration would be a “team effort.”

“Leadership isn’t just one, two or three people,” Mr. Danovitch said. “It’s collaborative. Mr. Tranchi, Rabbi Segal, Rabbi Leubitz and I will make a wonderful team. Teamwork will determine our success next year.”