LCHS’ McFeat Moves to District Post, Cartnal Named Interim Principal

OUTLOOK file photo Ian McFeat was recently promoted to executive director of student services for the La Cañada Unified School District and Jim Cartnal was named interim La Cañada High School principal.
OUTLOOK file photo
Ian McFeat was recently promoted to executive director of student services for the La Cañada Unified School District and Jim Cartnal was named interim La Cañada High School principal.

La Cañada High School Principal Ian McFeat has been promoted to executive director of student services for the La Cañada Unified School District after expressing a long-term interest in a district-level position.
“He’s articulated that,” said LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette in a telephone interview on Tuesday. McFeat, who has been the LCHS principal since 2012, had asserted he could perform well in the executive director role, she said.
At the same time, the district appointed Jim Cartnal to be the interim LCHS principal and oversee the duties of the three assistant principals there. He is slated to take over the principal position on a permanent basis after an interim period. Cartnal had been serving as executive director for pupil programs and services at the district.
Both appointments took effect Monday, after an announcement last Friday.
Sinnette said the moves fit in with the LCUSD Governing Board’s desire that reorganization of the administration at the district’s campuses should be one of the superintendent’s goals.
“It is so that things are cohesive and make sense and optimize talents and we can maximize services for students, staff and parents,” Sinnette said.
McFeat had introduced the teachers development group to the LCUSD administration and had an essential role in ensuring the group focused on the best methods to teach mathematics, according to a district statement. McFeat also led the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Academy, a program that matches LCHS students with scientists at JPL, among his accomplishments.
“Midyear shifts are a little bit unusual but we had Jim Cartnal, who always wanted to be a site principal,” Sinnette said.
Sinnette said Cartnal was previously an LCHS associate principal and his knowledge of the school is helpful.
“We thought we could enact a seamless transition to really place both of our administrators in positions that they felt were optimally suited to their talents and their career interests,” Sinnette said.
She said the two were not simply swapping roles, because McFeat’s position will include additional duties such as student programs, furthering career technology education initiatives, community outreach and fundraising.
“We have a need for someone who is going to work on federal and state funding programs,” Sinnette noted. “What he’ll be doing is picking up the mantle and creating an amalgamation of position and opportunity that really suit his skill set.”
Cartnal’s role is important because LCHS is heading into an accreditation year, and the principal will work with assistant principals and others to ensure the school continues to be highly rated.
“Bringing Jim in at this time as the interim [principal], we’ll have him in at the ground floor as we assess his role in the position and the school site,” Sinnette said.
As for the likelihood of Cartnal’s becoming the permanent principal, Sinnette said, “Yes, that’s the [Governing Board’s] interest, for sure,” Sinnette said. “I was sharing with some people we’ve had really excellent results with our recent appointments.”
She mentioned the recent appointments of former Paradise Canyon Elementary School Principal Debra Cradduck as district executive director of personnel services, former LCHS Athletic Director Kristina Kalb to assistant principal at the school, and Paradise Canyon assistant principal Carrie Hetzel to principal of that school.
She said Cartnal’s transition will also allow students, parents and staff to get acclimated to him while he can adjust to the position.
Sinnette said she doesn’t anticipate any more significant administrative changes.
“Part of it is we make sure we roll out changes and get enough time to get used to them,” she said. “We’re very fortunate as a small district that there’s a lot of cross training between the district level and site administration. The cross training naturally exists, which is great.”
As executive director, McFeat will earn $146,764 and Cartnal’s new position will pay him $143,184, she said.

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