PIEDMONT -- Piedmont High's new principal, Brent Daniels, was introduced to rousing applause at last week's school board meeting.

He'll take up his post on July 1 but was to visit the campus this past week to begin the transition, Superintendent Connie Hubbard said. Daniels is replacing the retiring Rich Kitchens, who worked for the district for more than 30 years.

"The support I received was second to none," said Daniels, the son of two school principals, at the May 22 school board meeting. "Piedmont is committed to educational excellence, and I'm ready to be a Highlander. This is a special night for me and my family."

Daniels, the married father of two college students and one high school student, impressed parents, faculty and administrators with his background and experience.

He has been assistant principal at Burlingame High for 10 years, including serving on numerous programs for special education, English learners, teacher evaluations and athletic boosters.

He also taught for 11 years primarily in Bay Area high schools, including San Mateo Union High School. He taught biology, physical education and physical science and coached boy's varsity basketball, leading his alma mater El Cerrito High to a North Coast Section championship.

Daniels is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley. He attained his master of arts in education from that institution, his teaching credential from Cal State East Bay, and a bachelor's in physical education from UC Berkeley.

"We welcome our new principal after an elaborate selection process. His experience covers everything. We are delighted to have you here," board president Rick Raushenbush said.

Nineteen youth educators also were in the spotlight at the school board meeting. The high school juniors mentor eighth-graders after training in a leadership program to smooth the transition into high school and serve as patient listeners in all aspects of school and personal life.

Four of them spoke to the board about their experiences with 14 weekly meetings held and three retreats. The youth leaders called their experiences life-changing, as they learned to become more open-minded confident leaders; they formed strong bonds with their eighth-grade charges. They kidded that passing out sweets to their group helped the shy ones come out of their shells.

This year's youth educators were: Alanah Anderson, Jack Barney, Mara Blumenstein, Sara Boutorabi, William Brown, Carter Dunlap III, Julia Goodacre, Blythe Hyman, Tia Ikemoto, Sophie MacCracken, Daniella Mohazab, Nora Perry, Joseph Powell, Matthew Price, Ned Stasio, Marie St. Claire, William Strimling, Julia Sweeney and Robert Yu.

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