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Dunbar Principal Jillian Beall moves on

Dunbar Principal Jillian Beall moves on

School community applauds promotion; will miss her leadership

By Tracy Salcedo

Jillian Beall, who has served as Dunbar Elementary School’s principal for five years, has accepted a new position as Director of Educational Services with an emphasis on student wellness and inclusion with the Sonoma Valley Unified School District (SVUSD).

News of Beall’s appointment and imminent departure from the Glen Ellen campus was met with surprise and sadness by staff, who were informed of the change on Aug. 25 in an onsite meeting with Superintendent Adrian Palazuelos and Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Elizabeth Kaufman. (Full disclosure: The author works at Dunbar as the school’s library media specialist.) Palazuelos cited Beall’s accomplishments at Dunbar, where she instituted the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) program and built a strong, collaborative community, as instrumental in the decision to offer her the district-level position.

“Ms. Beall’s track record of advocating [for] and empowering students, coupled with her outstanding leadership, will benefit Sonoma Valley Unified School District,” said Palazuelos in a press release announcing the appointment.

Both Beall and Palazuelos assured staff that Beall would not be leaving her post at Dunbar until new leadership is in place, and that Beall would be a part of the leadership transition.

“Dunbar has been an amazing place to serve and work,” Beall said in the press release, and in a letter to staff she expressed gratitude for “all the joy you bring and for allowing me the opportunity to serve in our amazing Dunbar community.”

In her new role, Beall will “take the lead” on fostering student wellness and inclusion through the Supportive, Achievement-based and Flexible Environment (SAFE) grant, family resource center development, and implementing the social, emotional learning, and inclusion elements of the district’s multi-tiered systems of support plan, according to the release. “I am thrilled at the prospect of engaging the greater SVUSD in the same student-centered and supportive manner I have at Adele and Dunbar,” Beall said. Prior to her tenure at the elementary school, Beall served as vice principal at Adele Harrison Middle School.

Beall took the helm at Dunbar shortly before the 2017 Nuns Fire and established a wellness center in the school’s library to help both students and teachers navigate the aftermath of evacuation and destruction of the kindergarten play structure, outdoor stage, and school garden. She also ensured students, families, and staff were well supported through implementation of PG& E’s public safety power shutoffs, the pandemic closure in March 2020, distance learning through the 2020–2021 school year, and subsequent reopening of the campus, both fully and in the hybrid model in 2021.