In a flurry of changes to Lodi Unified School District principal assignments, one Eastside activist has left her longtime post at Heritage School for a new challenge.
Maria Cervantes moved to Joe Serna Jr. Charter School, a K-8 school best known for its dual language immersion program. Students are taught in both English and Spanish. Cervantes took the job just days before the school year began.
Former principal Michael Gillespie was hired as an assistant superintendent for six charter schools in Twin Rivers.
Cervantes has led Heritage Elementary School for 14 years, but had her eye on the Serna position for a year or two. One of her career goals has always been to lead a K-8 charter school. The timing was abrupt, but the job suits her, she said.
“It has been an emotional change, but I have many years as an educator ahead of me. (It is) always good when career allows you to continue to extend learning,” said Cervantes, adding that she shed tears when she realized she was leaving the school she called home.
While at Heritage, Cervantes was a touchstone for the Eastside neighborhood. Parents and neighbors knew they could come to her with their concerns about gangs, violence and crime. Cervantes said that role will not change.
“I’m not even a mile away. My concerns for the community aren’t any different. The school might be different, but it’s still in the heart of the Eastside,” she said.
Jan Glasscow, a former vice principal at Heritage School, has come out of retirement to fill in as interim principal. Glasscow was principal at Julia Morgan for seven years before retiring this year.