First published in the June 4 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The search for a new principal at Dolores Huerta Middle School ended Thursday with the Burbank Unified School District announcing the hiring of Kenneth Knoop, a longtime BUSD employee who has served as an assistant principal at John Burroughs High School for more than eight years.
John Paramo, BUSD assistant superintendent of educational services, beamed with pride when delivering the news during a Board of Education meeting Thursday and said that Knoop was the right person for the job because of his “incredible detail to follow through” and remarkable people skills.
“I’ve had the honor and privilege of working very closely with him, coaching him and mentoring him along with many of our district staff,” Paramo said. “To see him perform today and excel in his interview was just an incredibly proud moment for me and the rest of the staff. He does so many things really well. I think that we have a good match here, and I think there are going to be a lot of people very happy.”
Knoop, who has worked with the district for 16 years, has history at the school, being a John Burroughs High School alumnus and having worked at David Starr Jordan Middle School — which officially changed to Dolores Huerta Middle School last year — as a teacher before moving on to become an administrator at Burroughs.
“I can’t express how happy and excited I am,” Knoop said. “I went to [Dolores] Huerta. I love that school. I taught there for almost a decade. I met my beautiful wife, who was an instructional assistant there. Our two older children both went to Huerta. So, I have a lot at stake in this. I want this school to be absolutely perfect.
“It’s not a job for me; it’s more like a family business,” he added. “This is what we do, and I don’t go to work every day. I don’t do this as a living. This is who I am. I just want to thank everyone in this room for giving me this opportunity.”
Knoop succeeds Jennifer Meglemre, another longtime BUSD employee who served as principal at the middle school since 2018 and was instrumental in changing the school’s name from David Starr Jordan, the founding president of Stanford University and a controversial academic, to Dolores Huerta, a civil rights activist and labor leader who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association along with Cesar Chavez.
Knoop said he wants to keep the positive momentum going, and the board seemed to believe he will.
“It’s all about who you are. You already are wearing Huerta [Middle School] colors in your tie because everything you’ve always done from the moment I’ve known you has always been about the betterment of wherever you are because it’s meaningful to kids,” said Board President Charlene Tabet. “I’m so excited for you, for your family, for all of us.”