Sunday, August 07, 2011


By C.J. Lin, Staff Writer | LA Daily News |

8/06/2011 - A 24-year veteran of the Los Angeles Unified School District took over as the new principal of Taft High School this week, pledging to keep communication open with the community to continue the school's academic success.

Delia Estrada, 45, became the first principal at the school to be chosen under a new model that allows a committee of parents, teachers, students, staff and administrators to make that pick.

"I'm just thrilled, privileged and honored to have been chosen," Estrada said. "I know parents just really wanted the right person for the job. I feel humbled."

The Los Angeles native began her career with LAUSD as a history teacher at Carver Middle School near Vernon, later becoming its bilingual coordinator.

She also taught at Roosevelt High School and Eagle Rock junior and senior high schools before becoming an assistant principal at Eagle Rock High School.

She was key in getting the school designated the district's first International Baccalaureate World School, which focuses on teaching students to learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. The school is one of three in the state to have the certification.

"What it really did was show students their place in the world, how they see themselves in the world, how they become active and proactive in the world," Estrada said.

Estrada said she plans on collaborating with parents, students and staff to determine how to keep the school succeeding. The school is an academic powerhouse, having won three national championships in the Academic Decathlon.

"They've always exceeded expectations, and yet the world is moving so quickly," she said. "These are wonderful kids who anywhere in the world, whatever is presented to them, they'll know how to solve it."

Estrada is also working on a Ph.D. in educational leadership at Claremont Graduate University. She earned a master's in educational administration at Cal State L.A.

"She's somebody who really loves learning and continues to do so," said Tom Pease, a Taft teacher who was part of the selection committee. "She's a very bright principal, very enthusiastic. I think she's also going to work well with our parents and students and really inspire Taft to the next level."

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