Not to a deluxe apartment in the sky, however, but to a rundown high school down the street
Annie Rinaldi is graduating from Mammoth Middle School and moving onto Mammoth High School, and it only took her eight years.
After 8 years as MMS principal, Rinaldi has been chosen as the new MHS principal to replace Chris Powell at the end of this school year.
Her promotion represents the first hire of new Mammoth Unified School District Superintendent Jennifer Wildman, who will be replacing Lois Klein at the end of the school year.
Rinaldi was chosen from among 5 applicants whom Klein called, “all strong candidates.”
She was interviewed by a panel that included both the outgoing and incoming superintendents, Powell, the Elementary School Principal, teachers, parents, the athletic director, and one student.
“Annie rose to the top,” Klein said. “She was the number one pick of every panel member, not only for her answers in the interview but also for the work she has done in the district.”
Mammoth Middle School was chosen as a California Distinguished School this year. It is the first Mammoth school to win the distinction since the high school won in 2011, and is one of only 162 middle and high schools in the state chosen for the award.
Klein noted this achievement as an impressive part of Rinaldi’s resume.
Wildman made the final decision to hire Rinaldi.
“She is so energetic and smart and focused,” Wildman said of Rinaldi. “She will help people focus on the right thing, the kids.”
Wildman said that Rinaldi’s competence at collaboration was her most attractive asset as a candidate.
“Everybody (on the panel) mentioned that they wanted to be more collaborative, to work on school culture and more school pride … That’s something that she will easily bring to the job.”
Klein said that Rinaldi demonstrated her ability to collaborate during her tenure as MMS principal. She worked with staff and administration from the other schools, as well as with a third party consultancy called Focused Schools, to make the school district more cohesive.
“We are closer to K-12 than we were a few years ago,” Klein said.
Rinaldi is a native Spanish speaker. Prior to her role as the MMS principal, Rinaldi was an elementary school principal at Crescendo Charter in Los Angeles, and before that she was a teacher in L.A. Unified for 10 years. This will be her first foray into high school.
“It will be a learning experience, learning high school culture,” Rinaldi said.
She is fortunate that she already knows many of the students at MHS, as the majority of them came through her middle school.
Rinaldi believes the highest priority for a high school is ensuring its students are college and career ready.
“That’s going to be the biggest challenge,” Rinaldi said. “And making sure that it is done in a safe environment.”
Chris Powell said that he is leaving his role as principal in part because he had too much on his plate as the sole administrator of MHS. Rinaldi said that she anticipates to have similar problems, but that she is, “looking to staff to find better ways of managing the responsibilities.”
Mammoth Uniifed School District must now begin the search for a new middle school principal.
“The only sad thing,” Wildman said, “is that for Annie to be the HS principal she can’t be the middle school principal.”