Sam Pasarow resigns as Berkeley High School principal

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Update 02/09/2017: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from Sam Pasarow’s letter.

Sam Pasarow has resigned as the principal of Berkeley High School, according to a Wednesday night press release by Berkeley Unified School District.

According to the release, Pasarow’s resignation was effective Wednesday. Pasarow, who joined BHS as principal in July 2015, took an indefinite paid leave of absence Dec. 6, 2016, the reasons for which were undisclosed to the public.

“The District leadership wishes Mr. Pasarow well and thanks him for his service to the Berkeley High community,” the press release said.

The release did not disclose a reason for Pasarow’s resignation.

According to BUSD spokesperson Charles Burress, Pasarow released a farewell letter to the BHS community Thursday.

“Out of respect to him, we’d like the letter to speak for itself,” Burress said.

In his letter, Pasarow did not give a reason for his resignation but expressed his “regret” that he was “writing to say farewell.”

Pasarow described in the letter how proud he was to be part of the BHS redesign, which he believed better unified the school. He also said he was impressed by the student activism he had witnessed during his time at BHS.

“It has been an honor to work with such a vibrant community of students, teachers, staff, parents and guardians,” Pasarow said in his letter. “I have the greatest respect for the quality of education at Berkeley High School and the highest regard for the great students there.”

Burress said he was “not aware” of whether Pasarow will continue to hold a position with BHS or BUSD.

The release also announced that Executive Vice Principal Erin Schweng, who acted as principal while Pasarow was on leave, has been appointed to the principal position.

Schweng began working in BUSD as a teacher at Rosa Parks Elementary in 1998. She became BHS vice principal in 2014 before being promoted to the position of executive vice principal in June 2016.

“Ms. Schweng is a Berkeley resident whose career reflects a long and continuing commitment to the students of Berkeley’s schools,” said BUSD Superintendent Donald Evans in the release. “We are confident that as Principal of Berkeley High School she brings positive and productive leadership to students, staff, and families at BHS.”

Schweng said although she is assuming the role in the middle of the school year, she looks forward to taking on the position and working toward improving the school in areas such as professional development, implementation of common core courses in the math department and continuation of overseeing the redesign of classroom organization.

“I’ve been in the district 19 years and I really love Berkeley High School, so I’m really glad to be here,” Schweng said.

Chantelle Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.