CALIPATRIA — A wealth of experience helps anyone transition into a new job, but what makes Kelley Marmolejo stand out as an education administrator is her zeal to serve.
After performing well as a secondary language arts curriculum coordinator for the Imperial County Office of Education (ICOE) these past four years, she currently serves as the principal for Fremont Primary School.
“School begins on August 28, but I have already started,” said Marmelejo. “I see this as an opportunity and if there is any sense of nerves it is because I want to do a good job on behalf of all our students.”
Marolejo began teaching first grade at Witter Elementary School, then seventh grade at Barbara Worth Junior High School and was a categorical resources teacher at Oakley Elementary School: totaling ten years’ worth of experience. And while at ICOE they implemented the best instructional practices around the Common Core State Standards.
“I had the privilege of working with Calipatria faculty,” recalled Marmolejo. “It was clear the moment I stepped on campus that teachers cared deeply about students and were passionate for their work. As Fremont’s principal I can empower teachers. I’m 100 percent looking forward to it.”
Her top priority is to help students meet new Common Core Standards. She also praises Calipatria High School Superintendent Doug Kline’s motivating of students to achieve at higher levels.
“I’m looking forward getting to know the community as we all to make a difference in the lives of students.”
Enthusiastic about the decentralization of the state’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) budgets, Marmolejo called the LCAP a guiding light to what the school district’s goals are moving toward. The flexibility of the Local Control Funding Formula allows stakeholders of the district to allot funds to those students who need it the most.
“We have to promote a stronger first teaching of skills and then we don’ rely so much on extended day tutorials,” said Marmolejo. “I’ve noticed Calipatria already purchased new language arts and math curriculum (updated texts with digital components) that should help.”
Marmolejo also celebrated long running programs such as Mock Trial, a student competition that illustrates the rule of law and the Migrant Education Debate Tournament as powerful tools to foster college and career readiness in real world settings.
“And California Dashboard (online program tracking achievement scores) is a positive model of how we should look at student data,” she said. “It also looks at attendance, graduation, expulsion rates and other standards that gives a fuller picture of how every district is performing. Dashboard is looking at all our students assessing how much they’ve grown in the past year.”
“Marmolejo’s tenure as teacher and curriculum instructor gives her [a] well-rounded understanding of education,” noted Kline. “This next step she’ll incorporate all the prior aspects of her career,” said Kline. “And the fact that she’s been training teachers gives her an advantage coming in and working in our district.”
Kline also praised Todd Finnell, Imperial County superintendent of schools, as an authentic leader and changing education in the Valley for the good of the citizens. “Freemont Primary is a well performing site,” said Kline. “And Kelley has performed very well at every level in her career so far. So we don’t expect to see anything less here.”
Doreen Johnson, ICOE senior director of leading and learning, recalled how Marmolejo adjusted teachers to the emerging Common Core Standards these last few years.
“Kelley approached her coaching more as a mentor than instructor,” said Johnson. “We’ll miss her at ICOE but she’ll do a wonderful job at Fremont Primary.”
Staff Writer William Roller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3452.