Meet the new principals for Alderwood, Bonita Canyon, Culverdale, Springbrook and Venado

Talk about tough acts to follow.

In June, Principal Robin Beacham of Bonita Canyon Elementary School retired after 26 remarkable years in IUSD. Ken Horner similarly put the final touches on a stellar career as principal of Alderwood Basics Plus. And Creekside High’s Paul Mills, who spent 25 years in the field of adult and alternative ed, also decided to hang ’em up.

In fact, it seems this district bids farewell to at least one legendary principal every summer, either by way of retirement or the call of new pursuits. While it’s always tough to see the good ones go, there is this silver lining: Principal vacancies in Irvine tend to draw some pretty high-caliber applicants, meaning IUSD gets to pick from the best of the best.

This year’s pool of candidates was particularly deep, and when all was said and done, five IUSD campuses are getting topflight leaders. Without further ado, here they are:

Bob Curley, Bonita Canyon Elementary School. A familiar face has been tapped to replace Robin Beacham, who recently retired after 12 years as Bonita Canyon’s top administrator.

Bob Curley will take over at B.C. after serving as principal of IUSD’s Springbrook Elementary for the past seven years, which followed his nine years at South Lake Middle School.

Curley, who taught math and science before joining the administrative ranks in 1999, undoubtedly has some big shoes to fill at B.C. Yet the same could be said for his successor at Springbrook. 

Elaine Keeley, Springbrook Elementary School. With Curley transitioning to Bonita Canyon, Elaine Keeley was picked to be Springbrook’s next leader.

Keeley comes to Irvine from the Orange County Department of Education, where she served as an administrator of instructional services for four years, leading a team of curriculum and instruction coordinators who delivered professional development training in core curricular areas. 

Keeley attended UCLA and received her master’s degree from California State University, Long Beach, and her doctorate in education from USC. Before arriving at the county, Keeley was an elementary principal in the Huntington Beach City School District. She also taught for 13 years and served as an assistant principal in Santa Ana.

Cindy Chaffee, Alderwood Basics Plus. Cindy Chaffee takes over at Alderwood for Mr. Horner, who retired in June after a long and illustrious career in Irvine.

Chaffee stepped into her first administrative assignment in 1988 as an assistant principal and director of student services after serving as a mathematics and music teacher in Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach.  For the past 18 years, she has worked at two different schools in the Centralia School District while also serving as the visual and performing arts coordinator. In the latter role, she has worked with both county and IUSD personnel. 

A graduate of the University of Vermont, Chaffee received her master’s degree from Cal State Long Beach and her doctorate from the University of LaVerne.

Aaron Jetzer, Culverdale Elementary School. After starting his career as a technology teacher in Los Angeles Unified, Aaron Jetzer headed south to Tustin Unified in 2003, continuing his technology leadership while teaching mathematics. 

In 2006, Jetzer joined the Ocean View School District as an assistant principal before being named principal of Village View Elementary. He is well versed in many of IUSD’s current initiatives, including Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Response to Instruction (RtI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

Jetzer completed his undergraduate work at the University of Arkansas before heading back to California to earn his master’s degree from National University.

Craig Hauke, Venado Middle School. Veteran educator Craig Hauke was hired to replace Keith Tuominen, who is moving to the District Office as the new director of secondary education.

Hauke served in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District for 19 years, the first 10 as a teacher of primary and secondary grades and adult education. In 2001, he moved into the administrative ranks as assistant principal of Benton Middle School. He was appointed principal of the campus in 2004.

Hauke received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and his master’s degree from National University.