Dr. Paul Astin has been appointed principal of in Agoura Hills for the 2012-2013 school year.
"I'm honored to be asked to lead this remarkable young school as it seeks to
offer an alternative model of education to children from kindergarten through
eighth grade," Astin said in a press release.
He commends the commitment of the parents for furthering the district's vision for alternative education.
"I have a lot of ideas and visions about education that will now have an opportunity to grow," Astin told Patch. "I will have an opportunity to mentor teachers and all of the kids in our community."
Astin was our March 2011 Teacher of the Month. .
He joined the Las Virgenes Unified School District in 2010, teaching fifth grade at the school. This past year, he split his duties between teaching sixth grade and serving as assistant principal.
Astin was born in Illinois, raised in Maryland, and moved to California in
1973, attending public middle and high schools in West Los Angeles. He
attended Colgate University in New York and received his Bac:heIor's Degree in
Prehistoric Studies in 1983.
Astín also has a Master’s Degree in Latín American Studies, a Doctorate in Educational Leadership (both from UCLA), and a bilingual/ bicultural teaching credential from California State University-Dorninguez Hills. His doctoral thesis, focusing on middle school reform and adolescent development, received the 2008 Outstanding Dissertation Award from UCLA.
In 1988, he founded and directed Los Vecinos Grassroots Development Organization, a non-profit corporation that developed health
education programs for several years in squatter settlements outside of Mexicali, Mexico. After two years as a private school Spanish teacher, Astin began a full-time career in the Lennox School District where he was a bilingual primary teacher from 1997 through 2003.
In 2001, he received the BRAVO Award from the Los Angeles County
Performing Arts Center for his integration of arts into the general education
classroom. From 2003 to 2008, he taught sixth grade at Topanga
Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. During his tenure
at Topanga, Dr. Astin’s sixth-graders raised over $23,000 for many global service projects including tsunami relief in India, refugee education in Sudan, and tree planting in Guatemala. Astin received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Topanga Chamber of Commerce in 2008.
ln addition to teaching, Astin is a professional jazz pianist who has performed at over 30 venues in Southern California and has recorded several CDs of original music. Astin and his wife, artist and teacher Ienny Griffiths, have two daughters, Amalia and lla, and reside in Topanga Canyon.
Lough and his family are moving to Northern California to raise their
children in a region where they have frequently vacationed.