LAUSD Confirmed Juliet Herman Will Take Over as Principal
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
When Palisades Charter Elementary School asked Joan Ingle to come out of her fairly recent retirement to serve as interim principal for the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, no one could have predicted what was in store for her.
“I got a call at the end of July on a Friday from the director who said, ‘The principal’s left, will you be an interim?’” Ingle, who took over for departed principal Gary Saunders, recalled. “I went over there on a Monday or Tuesday after August 1, and there had been six feet of water in the basement.”
Ingle discovered that the school’s basement was flooded, leaving the plumbing and electricity out of commission.
“That’s how I was welcomed back to the school,” Ingle shared with a laugh.
As the district worked to repair the damages, Ingle worked with her staff out of the Marquez Charter Elementary School office to complete enrollment and get the year started.
Then, a few months into the school year, without a replacement principal hired, Ingle faced her next obstacle: fire season.
“We had fires,” Ingle said. “Two of them were on my street on consecutive Mondays and the third, we had to close the schools down for three days.”
As the search for a new principal continued, the pandemic hit in March—forcing Pali Elementary to close down its campus through the end of the year.
“It’s been quite a year,” Ingle said. “I don’t know one person that hasn’t worked twice as hard since the beginning of March. Everybody—my friends, the principals, teachers—it’s just an incredible amount of work.”
After four cycles of interviews in 2019, the district had not yet found a replacement for Ingle. When they started the search up again in March, they selected their hire: Juliet Herman.
“She’s very smart and personable,” Ingle said of the incoming principal. “I’m thankful that the interview committee waited to find the right person, so I think she’s going to be really good.”
A spokesperson from LAUSD shared that Herman is “excited to join the Palisades community and looks forward to establishing relationships and building on this already high level of instruction at the school.”
And even as she departs following a tumultuous year, Ingle said that she is not worried about her former students.
“I read every report card every grading period, so I know how smart they are,” Ingle said. “They’re smart, they’re good and I know they’re going to be just fine when the schools reopen.”
As a parting gift for Ingle and the culminating fifth graders, parents at the school had a full-size photo of her printed and placed near the campus marquee so that students could jump out of their car and take a picture with it.
For the foreseeable future, Ingle, who lives in the Palisades, said that she is staying put.
“I always say to people—last time and this time—don’t say goodbye,” Ingle said, “always say, ‘Until we meet again,’” adding that she hopes to run into students and families, whether it’s at CVS, Gelson’s, Starbucks or while she’s out walking in the community.
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