New principal at Piedmont's Havens kicks into high gear

  • September 29, 2012

By Linda Davis

PIEDMONT -- Havens new Principal Cheryl Wozniak is off and running -- literally -- as she dashes from classrooms to meetings to workshops as part of her 15-hour day.

She makes time for fun as well, dressing in a Wonder Woman T-shirt one day to encourage her 505 students to embrace the "Lasso of Truth" and be honest, upstanding citizens.

"I want to support the teachers and address the different range of learners," Wozniak said.

To do this, she is scheduling 30 minutes with every teacher and support person on staff to get to know them and gather feedback.

As part of her super-busy schedule, she is taking a 50-hour course to get certified for the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, one of the few things she had yet to accomplish on her extensive resume.

Reading and literacy are close to Wozniak's heart. Students are welcome to come into her office and select one of her many "super hero" books she has in her library. She came from San Lorenzo's school district, a more diverse student community with many English Language Learners. Encouraging reading is universal, however, she said.

Wozniak, 49, moved to California in 2000, following her three sisters, all of whom are professionals. The eldest of five children, she grew up in Ohio, attaining a bachelor's in education from Kent State University, a master's from the University of Toledo and later a doctorate in education from the University of San Francisco in 2010.

She and her husband live in Berkeley. They have a 27-year old daughter who is a chef and hopes to teach culinary school.

Wozniak was named Teacher of the Year in 2004 for the San Lorenzo school district, working there from 2000 until her appointment as principal at Havens. No wonder. She admits she is a planner and overachiever; her resume is overflowing with coaching, mentoring, workshops, teaching and publications: A writing coach for Walnut Creek's school district, workshop for St. Leo the Great school in Oakland, presenter for Berkeley's Bay Area Writing Project, an adjunct professor at Cal State East Bay in Hayward and Touro University in Vallejo. About the only position she had not held was that of a principal. No principal openings were available in San Lorenzo, so Wozniak started applying at other school districts and was hired by Piedmont.

"We feel so fortunate to have Cheryl join Piedmont," Superintendent Connie Hubbard said. "She brings years of expertise and dedication to our team. She is an expert in the reading and writing programs in which our tri-school efforts are focused. She will provide a stable transition for Havens students, staff and parents. Her openness and infectious smile say it all."

Wozniak is committed to supporting children and their education.

"I am impressed with the level of support from parents in the Piedmont school district. I'll take pride in getting to know everyone," she said.

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