PIEDMONT -- Beach Elementary School has a new principal who grew up in a household of educators and said helping students "grow as learners has always been my passion."

Michael Corritone took up the post Tuesday. His appointment fills the vacancy created by Julie Valdez, who requested reduced hours to pursue a doctorate at UC Berkeley.

Valdez will work on a part-time basis as director of special education for the Piedmont Unified School District. Valdez was principal at Beach since 2007. She succeeded beloved Principal Nancy McHugh, who retired. Corritone appeared with his family at the June 25 school board meeting. Corritone is the father of two sons, 9 and 11, and he and his wife, Angie, reside in Danville.

"The Piedmont schools have a great reputation. I can't wait to meet all the parents and staff. I hope we can take Beach to new levels," he said.

Corritone is enthusiastic about his new post.

"I can't wait to start at Beach. I'll be looking to learn more about the great work that is going on at Beach so I can help us to make their work even stronger in the years to come," he said.

"The Piedmont school district and Beach Elementary have stellar reputations, and I am honored to become a part .... There is a tradition at Beach of providing a stimulating, nurturing and challenging environment for our students and I want to keep that tradition going.


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"We will keep the best interests of our students in mind at all times so they can grow as creative, curious and passionate learners and young people."

The new principal came from a family of educators.

"My parents were both teachers, and later in his career, my father was an elementary principal. Working with children and helping them grow as learners has always been my passion," said Corritone, who grew up in Walnut Creek.

He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in sociology and a master's in education. He holds a pupil personnel services credential and a professional administrative services credential.

Corritone was at Corte Madera School in the Portola Valley School District, where he served three years as principal. Before that, he was assistant principal at Windemere Ranch Middle School in the San Ramon Valley. He also served as a school psychologist for nine years at elementary and middle schools in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The comprehensive selection process, Superintendent Connie Hubbard said, included gathering input from Beach staffers, parents and community members.

"I am very excited to welcome Mr. Corritone to the Piedmont Unified School District," said school board President Andrea Swenson.

"His background as a school psychologist and as a principal who has had experience in the implementation of the new Common Core state standards makes him the perfect complement to our strong elementary administrative team," Swenson said.

Beach Elementary School has 365 students and 30 teachers, and the school's students score consistently high on California's Academic Performance Index scores. Their 2013 API score was 965, out of a possible 1,000.