(The following is from a press release)
The Las Virgenes Unified School District Board of Education and its leadership team proudly announce the appointment of Clara Finneran, Ed.D., to the position of Assistant Superintendent of Education. Finneran will be replacing Mary Schillinger who is retiring after 40 years of dedicated service. As the Assistant Superintendent of Education, Finneran will be responsible for the coordination of curriculum, curriculum assessment and related professional development and categorical programs. She will oversee the development and implementation of the District’s Local Educational Agency Plan (LEAP), the District’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), provide oversight to the Directors of Elementary and Secondary Education and manage student discipline. Finneran will serve as an active member of the District’s management team and the Superintendent’s Cabinet.
“Dr. Finneran brings 13 years of administrative grade level and district experience, a breadth of curriculum and assessment knowledge, and excellent managerial and interpersonal skills to our team,” said Dan Stepenosky, Las Virgenes Superintendent of Schools. “Her vision and executed direction have grown two school sites into collaborative, successful, student-centered environments. We are excited for her to lead our Educational Services department to continue our work providing the best services for the children of Las Virgenes schools.”
Finneran is currently serving as principal of Pleasant Valley School of Engineering and Arts (PVSEA). As principal, she has favorably rebranded the school, refined its focus areas to include arts and engineering, increased base enrollment by almost 20 percent, expanded to middle school grade levels, introduced a makerspace and achieved a near 1:1 student to technology ratio. Concurrent with this role, Finneran has coordinated and collaborated on several special projects for the Pleasant Valley School District, such as the survey development and analysis for LCAP and LEAP.
Prior to her tenure at PVSEA, Finneran served as principal of James Monroe Middle School. There she initiated and executed the implementation of data-driven staff and student programs including professional learning communities, Response to Intervention (RtI), Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), and WEB orientation for 6th grade students. Finneran’s leadership resulted in an Academic Performance Index (API) increase of 80 points. She also facilitated the school’s staff preparation and successful implementation of the California State Standards.
Finneran received her doctorate from the University of Southern California (USC). She holds two master’s degrees: one in education leadership from the University of San Francisco (USF), and the other in teaching from the University of Portland (UP). She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Notre Dame. Finneran began her career as a Spanish teacher and has taught English, English Learners, and served as the Dean of Students at Burroughs High School in the Sierra Sands Unified School District. She is fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language.
Finneran extended her professional knowledge and insight from 2009-2014 at both regional and state levels to the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). She served successively as the East Kern Charter Secretary, Vice President and President. Her leadership role continued as she contributed strategic planning talents as a member of the State Leadership Summit and State Strategic Planning teams, as well as the Middle Grades Council Region XI Representative. She was the Region XI Middle Grades Principal of the Year in 2014.
Las Virgenes Unified School District serves approximately 11,100 students from Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills and the Los Angeles County portion of Westlake Village. The District encompasses sixteen schools, spanning preschool through high school. LVUSD offers a multitude of distinctive programs, serving the diverse needs of its student body and offers award-winning music, theater, and athletic programs. The District and its individual schools have received numerous accolades including, most notably, a National Blue Ribbon School, Gold Ribbon Schools, College Board’s AP Honor Roll, California Distinguished Schools, High Performance District in American Institute for Research, and many more.