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Berkeley High principal on sudden leave; VP in charge

New Berkeley High principal Sam Pasarow at a preparatory meeting with teachers and staff. Photo: Mark Coplan
Berkeley High Principal Sam Pasarow at a meeting with teachers and staff when he began at BHS in 2015. Photo: Mark Coplan

Beginning Tuesday, Berkeley High Principal Sam Pasarow will be on leave, and Vice Principal Erin Schweng will oversee campus operations, according to a brief email sent to BHS families Monday evening by a school district official.

Few details have been made available, and Pasarow’s email has been disabled.

Former BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi, now an assistant superintendent for the Berkeley Unified School District, sent the email to the BHS listserve just after 5 p.m.

Read more about Berkeley High.


Scuderi wrote that Schweng will “assume the role of lead administrator” immediately and “until further notice.”

He continued: “We understand that the minimal detail included [in] this communication may be concerning for some, yet we are obliged to respect confidentiality whenever private or personnel matters arise.”

BUSD spokesman Charles Burress said no further information could be shared by the district at this time.

One local parent said she tried to email Pasarow at around 4 p.m. Monday, but her email bounced: “That worried me,” she added.

An email from Berkeleyside to Pasarow on Monday evening also received an error message, noting that “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently” because the “email account that you tried to reach is disabled.”


(Update, 8:25 p.m. The email responder has been updated to read, “Mr. Pasarow is currently on leave, please contact his assistant Ms. Jana Jandra or Executive Vice Principal Ms. Erin Schweng.”)

Erin Schweng. Photo: BUSD
Erin Schweng. Photo: BUSD

Pasarow was named to the role of new Berkeley High principal in April 2015 when he was principal at Edna Brewer, an Oakland middle school. He took the helm at BHS from Kristen Glenchur, interim principal, after Scuderi became assistant superintendent for educational services for BUSD. Scuderi had served as BHS principal for four years.

Pasarow got his master’s in education from UC Berkeley, doing student teaching stints at Skyline High School and BHS. He started teaching at De Anza High School in West Contra Costa before moving to Oakland Unified. His undergraduate degree is also from UC Berkeley.

Pasarow began his career in technology sales before returning to school for his master’s.

Schweng has been with Berkeley Unified for more than 14 years, according to her LinkedIn page, and has worked as a teacher and mathematics coach, among other roles.


After getting her bachelor’s in history from UC Berkeley in 1996, she later got her master’s in education leadership from Cal State-Hayward in 2009.

Berkeleyside will share additional details as they become available.

See the complete email from Scuderi below.

Dear BHS Families:

We are writing to inform you that BHS Principal, Sam Pasarow, will be on leave beginning tomorrow, December 6.

Effective immediately, Erin Schweng, our Executive Vice Principal, will assume the role of lead administrator at Berkeley High School until further notice.

We understand that the minimal detail included this communication may be concerning for some, yet we are obliged to respect confidentiality whenever private or personnel matters arise.

We have great confidence in our current team of administrators and anticipate minimal impact on day-to-day operations during this period of time.

Obviously we will update the community with additional information as soon as it is relevant and appropriate to do so.

Respectfully,

Pasquale Scuderi
Assistant Superintendent
Educational Services

Berkeleyside welcomes news tips from readers. Reach our team by writing to tips@berkeleyside.com or call reporter Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

Related:
Berkeley’s 16 schools welcome students back, Pasarow starts as principal at BHS (09.02.15)
Sam Pasarow named as new Berkeley High principal (04.09.15)

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(Note: Pasarow was a principal in Oakland before he came to Berkeley. An earlier version of this story has been corrected.)