Roseland school district promotes principal to superintendent

Amy Jones-Kerr, the founding principal at award-winning Roseland University Prep and Roseland Collegiate Prep, has been selected as the next superintendent of Roseland School District in southwest Santa Rosa.

Jones-Kerr, 40, was named to the top post of the district of 2,440 students on a 4-0 vote Wednesday night. Gail Andrade Ahlas, superintendent of the district since 2003, announced her retirement effective June 30 in January.

“Our charter school is a model and she is one of the architects with Gail,” board member David Rosas said. “We know the culture is so unique in Roseland, it was better to groom someone from within.”

Ahlas, along with board members, approached Jones-Kerr about taking the position. The opening was not advertised outside of the district.

“We did not open it up,” Ahlas said. “When you look at our success in Roseland, it's really working for us. We are sure of Amy's dedication and heart for kids. We are sure of her work ethic, we are sure of her philosophy.”

Jones-Kerr taught first, second, third and seventh grades in the district before being named assistant principal at Roseland Accelerated Middle School in 2003. She was named Roseland University Prep's inaugural principal when the school opened in 2004.

In 2012, with Jones-Kerr at the helm, RUP was named the seventh-best high school in California and 40th best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

In 2012, she was named founding principal of Roseland Collegiate Prep, a school that will serve seventh, eighth and ninth graders in the fall. It is expected to add a class of students each year until it serves seventh through twelfth graders.

Jones-Kerr said she was “wowed, flattered and scared” by the prospect of becoming superintendent and hopes to keep the district growing and offering college-prep curriculum to a predominantly Latino and socio-economically disadvantaged student body.

Three-fifths of Roseland students are considered English-language learners, and the majority come from homes where at least one parent is not a high school graduate. More than 90 percent of the district's students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

“Me being here for so long and experiencing so much with Gail and our district, (students) can see my heart is in what I do through the things that I have done for the district,” she said. “I think that means more to them than anything.”

Jones-Kerr's salary will be $155,000 plus a $300 monthly travel allowance, Ahlas said.

(Staff Writer Kerry Benefield writes an education blog at extracredit.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. She can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com or on Twitter @benefield.)

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