The job of a school principal is no easy task. Too often these academic directors are called upon to demonstrate unerring expertise in instructional, financial and community relations. And all while facing the reality of shrinking budgets and resources.
Launched by Burbank Business Partners in 2010, Principal Partners connects local business and community leaders with Burbank schools. The idea was to match school principals with business leaders to create a mutual mentoring experience where principals receive support and professional advice — on marketing, communications, fundraising, staff and facilities management, technology, and more — from local business experts, and in turn these community members experience and appreciate firsthand the challenges principals face every day.
For the 2014-15 year, the Principal Partners Program has grown to 13 teams of principals & business professionals, the largest program yet.
We as a community need to ensure our school principals have the resources and skills to be effective and, more important, successful in guiding the educational, social and emotional development of our children.
Principal Partners Testimonials
I really enjoy the time I spend with Jen. I am learning a lot about elementary school and the many hats she wears every day. She is an instructional leader who supports and guides her teachers while balancing the needs of her students and their families.
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
Lisa provides a sounding board for me; someone I can bounce ideas off of. I appreciate the support and advice she offers and she has become very involved with our booster club and helping us grow our outreach into the community.
Providencia Elementary School
John Muir Middle School’s Greg Miller and I have had a chance to explore how schools and local businesses can cooperate and make a powerful difference in the community. This program provides a mutual mentoring opportunity and I can confidently say that it has been successful for both of us. We’ve been active in the community, attending events together and finding new ways to engage local organizations to benefit students.
Logix Federal Credit Union
Being new to Burbank, Principal Partners has helped me learn more about the community and the people who make Burbank an outstanding place to live and work. And, just as important, Alethia [Calagias] is aware of Muir’s strengths and its challenges, and she is a hardworking ambassador for our school. Burbank is truly a community that cares about its schools and through this mentoring program, I’ve seen this firsthand.
Dr. Greg Miller, Ph.D.
John Muir Middle School
I have been partnered with Michael Stumpf, Principal of Bellarmine-Jefferson High School, for a little over a year. Through our collaboration and the efforts of Burbank Business Partners, the high school has received tremendous benefit from the business community including donations of more than $5,000 to assist the school in buying Chromebooks for the entire faculty and administration, and much needed carpeting supplied by Richard Raad, alum and owner of Beauty Kiss Carpets. Burbank studios have also shown support. Warner Bros. donated equipment and furniture for the school library and classrooms, Cartoon Network provided a mentorship for a student artist, and Nickelodeon provided a career day at Bell-Jeff, where students interacted with producers, directors, talent directors, and marketing and social media directors.
Michael and I worked together to create a finance committee which includes business professionals such as local attorney John Gerro, and Michael created a new school community advisory board with the help of alumni and business owners Marcia Amoroso, Brian Arial, and Chris Augustine. Deacon Douglas Cremer, Ph.D. and Dean of Transdisciplinary Studies for Woodbury University, has joined that board. While there is a lot of work to be done, strong strides have been made to move Bellarmine-Jefferson forward.
I became a part of the Burbank Business Partners Principal program at the end of my first year as Principal at Bellarmine-Jefferson. I was new to Burbank and found out quickly how much support there is for schools in this community. The support of Burbank Business Partners is invaluable especially as a new principal. My partner Vic Georgino has been a great support for me and the Bellarmine-Jefferson High School community. I enjoy spending time with him and getting his advice and ideas for our school. Vic’s experience and wisdom has helped me tremendously. Vic helped us to form our new Consultative Board of which he is also a member. In addition to all he has done he has become a close friend. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this great program.
Bellarmine-Jefferson Catholic High school
I was thrilled to be paired with Dr. Kistler for the Burbank Business Partners Principal Partners Program. There is something special about the opportunity for “Disney to support Disney”. I look forward to building upon the amazing work the students, teachers, administration and parent community has accomplished, and help to expand their reach within the Burbank Community.
Jamie Keyser Thomas
Manager, Los Angeles Community Engagement
The Walt Disney Company
Principal Liz Costella and I are working together to expand McKinley Elementary School’s relationship with the community, and to create more effective relationships that benefit this school. This program allows us to share and build on the long history that we both have in Burbank and provides a mentoring opportunity that has been beneficial and rewarding for us both.
Cusumano Real Estate Group
Being in the Principal Partners Program has been a huge help to me as a new principal. Michael Cusumano and I have focused on opportunities to increase parent involvement at McKinley. Along with a committee, we organized and executed an incredible community fair that included neighborhood organizations. Michael is helps me think outside the box and provide incredible advice. I really enjoy being part of the program.
Principal, McKinley Elementary
The program has been great. I’ve been a principal for a long time and I’m retiring, but it was pretty cool to realize I could still learn new things.
Retired Principal, Emerson Elementary School
- Alethia Calagias
- Community Relations
- Logix Federal Credit Union
- Oscar Macias
- Luther Burbank Middle School
- Vic Georgino
- Georgino Development
- Michael Stumpf
- Bellarmine-Jefferson High School
- Eric Foster
- Director of Community Relations
- Burbank City Federal Credit Union
- Allison Castro
- Providence High School
- Ron Davis
- General Manager
- Burbank Water & Power
- Deborah Madrigal
- John Burroughs High School
- Megan Martin
- Vice President
- Intellectual Property Counsel
- Warner Bros. Entertainment
- Molly Hwang
- Walt Disney Elementary School
- Susan Georgino
- Adjunct Professor
- Woodbury University
- Jennifer Kaitz
- Emerson Elementary School
- Lisa Rawlins
- Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
- Warner Bros. Entertainment
- Jennifer Culbertson
- Providencia Elementary School
- John Mazur
- Christina Desiderio
- R.L. Stevenson Elementary School
- Mary-Elizabeth Michaels
- Director of Community Affairs
- Warner Bros. Entertainment
- Brandi Young
- George Washington Elementary School
- Michael Cusumano
- Managing Director
- Cusumano Real Estate Group
- Liz Costella
- William McKinley Elementary School
- Stephen Swofford
- Vice President, Client Services
- The Walt Disney Company
- Martha Walter
- Bret Harte Elementary School
For More Information:
Michael Cusumano, Chair
Principal Partners Committee
More important, every one of your efforts to contribute is another step forward to enriching the lives of our teachers and students and promoting a sense of community throughout Burbank schools.