Stonegate Elementary principal will be IUSD’s next director of elementary education

An experienced IUSD principal with expertise in curriculum, instruction and operations has been selected to serve as the district’s next director of elementary education, Superintendent Terry Walker announced Friday.

Stan Machesky, who oversaw the opening of Stonegate Elementary and has since successfully managed that school’s rapid growth, will succeed Lauren Sipelis, who announced recently that her family is pursuing a unique opportunity to live overseas.

“Stan has been an exceptional leader in this district, excelling in a number of roles and under a variety of circumstances,” Superintendent Walker said. “As such, he brings a breadth and depth of expertise in so many areas, including instruction, curriculum and assessment, technology integration, facilities planning and budgeting. He has also capably managed the accelerated growth in one of our newest communities, and he is highly respected by parents, students and his colleagues.”

Now comes the task of finding a successor to Machesky, and there will undoubtedly be a large pool of qualified candidates. District officials said they will seek input from the Stonegate staff and community before selecting his replacement.

Machesky began his career in IUSD in 1996 as a teacher at the former Alderwood Basics Plus School, and in 2001 he was named principal of Santiago Hills Elementary School. Four years later he became principal at Plaza Vista School, a K-8.

Machesky later moved to Westwood Basics Plus, where he oversaw a smooth transition for the staff and community to a new home in Irvine’s Stonegate village in 2009. In August of that year, Machesky left Stonegate Elementary to serve as fiscal director for the Irvine Unified School District. But he returned the following year to fill a principal vacancy at the school.

Since returning to Stonegate, Principal Machesky has led efforts to accommodate a temporary surge in enrollment spurred by new residential development. Yet even with the larger student population, Stonegate has earned a string of recent accolades.

The campus earned a National Blue Ribbon in September, and earlier this month it was named the No. 1 elementary school in the county by the Orange County Register. In addition, it was recently announced that this year’s Elementary Teacher of the Year is from Stonegate, as is one of four IUSD Teachers of Promise.

Machesky, in an email to his community, acknowledged that his decision to leave was a difficult one.

“The part that is most difficult,” he wrote, “is the fact I will be leaving all of YOU, the wonderful families of this still growing and vibrant community. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed our time growing and learning together and we have accomplished much since our start.”

Machesky has a master’s degree in educational administration from Cal State Fullerton and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University. A resident of Lake Forest, he is married with three sons, ages 8, 9 and 13.