HMS’ Fauré Takes Helm as Principal

Alana Fauré
Alana Fauré

Returning Huntington Middle School students will be greeted by a familiar face when school returns this fall.
Alana Fauré, the school’s assistant principal for the last three years, was recently tabbed as the new principal, taking over the helm after Jason Kurtenbach accepted an in-house promotion to the San Marino Unified School District main office.
“It is thrilling to be a part of this process,” Fauré said in an email. “I’ve been committed to the San Marino educational community for 28 years now. I consider it a privilege to be a part of this school district, and it is an incredible honor to be selected as the next principal of Huntington Middle School.”
Fauré will formally take over on July 1.
“It should make for a smooth transition,” said Superintendent Alex Cherniss in an interview on Monday.
Fauré’s time with SMUSD includes stints at both Carver and Valentine elementary schools, beginning in 1990 when she was hired as an ESL (English as a second language) assistant at Carver. She soon earned her teaching credential, at the encouragement of her then-principal.
She was one of eight candidates interviewed for the principal job and emerged as the pick from the three finalists. The SMUSD Board of Education was slated to formally announce her hire at its meeting Tuesday evening, after The Outlook’s publication time.
“We’re very fortunate to have her to lead Huntington Middle School into the future,” Cherniss said. “It was an extremely competitive search process and we had a lot of candidates come forth in the interview process and she was clearly the best candidate.”
Moving forward, Fauré said an immediate goal of hers is to continue adaptation to the national Common Core standards that have been adopted by the state.
“The focus is on student engagement and meaningful learning,” she said. “Educators everywhere are in the process of transitioning their practices to be designers of engaging learning experiences, facilitators of learning, if you will, and moving away from the type of direct instruction most of us grew up with in the past. This is where my passion for instruction and leadership is going to be focused as we move into a new school year.”
After 24 years in the classroom, Fauré said she hoped to reach a larger group of students with her educational efforts, leading to her administrative role as HMS’ assistant principal.
“For me, teaching became a deeply rewarding endeavor over the years,” she said. “I loved to see my students learn and grow. Each year, I worked hard to improve my skills as a practitioner and design experiences that excited my students about learning. After a couple of decades in the classroom, I felt a pull to apply my expertise in a broader setting where larger groups of children could be impacted. Administration was the natural next step.”
Fauré becomes the third new principal in three years for SMUSD schools, following the immediate footsteps of Michael Lin at Carver Elementary and Issaic Gates at San Marino High School. Valentine Elementary School Principal Colleen Shields retains her seniority among the district’s principals.
“HMS is an incredible school,” she said. “I feel I’m new enough to say that objectively and definitively. The students, teachers and staff are incredibly dedicated and hard-working. The programs provide rich and rewarding opportunities for young people to try new sports, arts, music, drama, clubs and ASB service. The children who seize these opportunities find fun and fulfillment developing talents they never knew they had. I am so proud to be part of this educational organization.”
The HMS vacancy was created in April when the district hired Kurtenbach as its executive director of curriculum development, a role whose tasks Kurtenbach had largely absorbed after the retirement of Gary McGuigan last summer. Kurtenbach is finishing his fifth year at HMS.
Fauré, born in Taiwan, speaks conversational Mandarin. Her husband is a retired educator and all three of their children went through SMUSD.

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