Principal's Message

Hello Taft Family!
It is my hope that you have all enjoyed your summer and that you continue to do so as you still
have a few more weeks before you all come back to your second home:) As I promised my wife
and daughters, I was able to disconnect and enjoy an extensive amount of family time outside of
the country. Our trip consisted of visiting Mexico City, El Salvador, and Belize. It was definitely
a spiritual journey as we visited historical sites in Mexico City and my daughters walking around
El Salvador with their grandpa (Frances is half Mexican and half Salvadorean). Belize was the
perfect place to end our summer vacation as we experienced crystal clear waters that I had only
seen in a catalog. Although we saw some beautiful places, we also visited many impoverished
towns in all three countries. I was reminded of how extremely grateful I am that my parents
migrated to the United States so that my brother and I could have endless opportunities. It is this
same hope that many of our immigrant parents have for our Taft students.

Taft Family Members Pursuing New Adventures

Over the summer, some of our Taft family members made some difficult yet exciting life
decisions. Katie Williams accepted a King High School teaching position as a theater teacher.
Yes, she will be teaching a subject that she is very passionate about. Aimee Perlstein also took a
leap of faith and accepted a Multi-Tiered-Support Systems Liaison position at Gage Middle
School. She will take her rich and extensive teaching experience and support the Gage staff.
Rebecca Manly will be pursuing a job with more hours. She will be missed as well as she was
part of the strong supervision team “The Avengers”. Kiana Byers, SPED Aides, has transferred
to Alcott as she is following her assigned student. We wish them all well in their new position
and/or school.

Welcome New Taft Family Members
I am excited about our new additions to the Taft Family:) Valerie Dombrowski will be part of
our first grade team. She recently taught virtually and was actually a Taft intervention teacher
back in 2016-2017! Celene Martinez will be joining our third grade team. She brings with her
some experience with working as a reading intervention teacher and primary grades. Miranda
Simpson comes to us from Highgrove Elementary as our 1st/2nd grade SDC teacher. She comes
to us with one year under her belt and fully ready to engage with our students. Orlandez
Smotherman will be our new 3rd/4th grade SDC teacher. He comes to us fresh out of the
credential program, eager and excited to make a difference in our students. Josline Verduzco
will be our new health clerk. She comes to us with experience and a willingness to support our
students, staff, and parents. Rana Eid will be our SDC Kindergarten Instructional Aide II. After
effectively completing a long term substitute assignment last year, I’m happy to say that she will
now be “officially” part of the Taft family. Michael Toner will be our full time (yes, you read
correctly, full time) Multi-Tiered Support Systems (MTSS) Counselor. He brings ample middle
and high school experience as he will play an intricate role in supporting and implementing an
effective schoolwide student behavior and SEL approach. Brandi Bauder will be our new
MTSS Liaison for our school cluster. She comes with extensive teaching experience and is very
excited about getting to know our staff and supporting you all in any way possible. It is my hope
and full intent that you feel part of our big Taft Family. I am excited about the positive impacts
you all will have on our Taft students.

Important Dates
July 18th: Staff has access to classrooms. Teachers may pick up their keys from Katie. Summer
hours are from 8:30am - 2:30pm. Hours will be extended for the week of August 1st.
August 1st: Taft Leadership Team Meeting; 8:30am - 2:30pm
August 4th: Welcome Back Staff Meeting; 8:30am - 10:30am
August 4th: SPED Team IEP Calendaring Meeting; 1:00pm - 2:00pm
August 4th: Taft PTA Class List Party; 5:00pm - 6:30pm
August 5th: Instructional Staff Meeting; 8:15am - 10:15am
August 5th: Kindergarten Orientation; 10:30am - 11:15am
August 8th: First Day of School
August 11th: Back to School Night; 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Taft Focus Areas
Please click on this document, 2022-2023 Focus in order to see Taft’s blueprint for the 2022-
2023 school year. Our staff meetings and team meetings will be planned around the initiatives on
this document. For teachers, it is my hope that your weekly PLC meetings will also center
around these focus areas.

RUSD 2022-2023 District Leadership Theme: Engaging, Expanding, Empowering
All district administrators will be gathering on July 28th-29th with Superintendent Hill and
Cabinet members. The theme for these two days and for the remainder of the school year for
administrators will be, “Engaging, Expanding, Empowering”. After these two days, I will have a
clearer understanding of Superintendent Hill’s expectations for administrators as it pertains to
these three verbs.

2022-2023 “A Collective Effort”
If this letter is causing some stress as you’re thinking about coming back to work, please take
solace in knowing that your Leadership Team and Administration will be working meticulously
in strengthening systems in order to support all aspects of our jobs. In the meantime, enjoy time
with your loved ones for the next few weeks and I’ll see you all on August 4, 2022!