October 24, 2014

New Principal at Topanga Elementary

 

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER 2014

New Principal at Topanga Elementary

Principal Steve Gediman in his office at Topanga Learn Charter Elementary School. He started on July 17 with meetings and paperwork to prepare for the fall semester.

When the kids return from vacation to Topanga Elementary on Tuesday, August 12, a new principal will be there to greet them.

Steve Gediman was chosen to replace Principal Nicole Sheard, who moved to a school closer to her home, Canyon Charter Elementary, in Santa Monica.

But Topanga kids will be in very good hands, with an experienced and caring administrator.

Most recently, Gediman, 52, was principal at Pinewood Elementary in Tujunga for six years and before that, as assistant principal at Sylmar Elementary.

Gediman lives South of the Boulevard in Woodland Hills with his wife, Laurie, who is a nurse and their 10-year-old son, Eric, who attends Woodland Hills Elementary.

Oh, yes and Eric wanted us to know that they are cat people; they have a large orange striped cat named Vinny.

Even though they live in the Valley, the family already has a special connection to Topanga, having hiked in the State Park for years, not realizing that he would end up working just a few hundred feet up the road.

They also love hiking in Yosemite (Gediman’s brother is a Forest Ranger there) and the family just returned from a cruise in Alaska, where they hiked on a glacier.

Gediman has a Masters in English and Critical Theory from UCLA. As a result, he is very articulate when it comes to educational philosophy.

“As someone who has spent almost his entire life in the public school system (first as a student, now teacher and administrator), I believe strongly in the necessity of free, appropriate education for all,” Gediman said. “Living in the richest and most powerful country on the planet, we have an obligation to ensure that all our children have access to the best education (and health care) possible.”

When asked what he would like to accomplish now and in the future, he was quick to answer.

“Topanga Learn Charter Elementary [School] has already accomplished so much,” he said. “I would like to help and encourage further collaboration between parents, teachers and students to continue to challenge our children intellectually, emotionally and artistically.

When asked if there were any specific programs in mind, he was thoughtful on the subject.

“First, I have to learn all about the programs we have! I've already made a good contact with one of our parents concerning a science grant that would involve students from UCLA working with Topanga students,” Gediman said. “It's in the planning stages now, but it sounds exciting.”

Overall, Principal Gediman seems to be a good fit for Topanga, for the kids, parents, and teachers.

“This is a very special place," he said. "I've had a great welcome from the staff and parents I've already met, not to mention the positive calls and emails I've received. I'm pleased with the sense of community and overwhelming degree of parental involvement here at Topanga — we are going to have a wonderful year together.”