Ben Furuta, assistant principal of Northview High School in Covina, has been named principal of the combined West Covina High School next year.
The school board on Tuesday named Furuta to head the 2,200-student school, which in September will become the West Covina Unified School District's only high school. Under a consolidation plan approved earlier this year, the Edgewood High School campus will become the district middle school, serving grades 6, 7 and 8. Hollencrest and Willowood junior high schools and Cortez Elementary School will be closed as part of the consolidation plan, which has created turmoil within the district.
Furuta was picked from 20 applicants, Supt. Jane D. Gawronski said. Two screening committees, including parents, staff members, teachers and administrators, examined the applications, she said. In the end, finalists made oral presentations on what it would take to make the consolidation successful.
"He rose to the top in being able to articulate his goals and presenting his ideas," Gawronski said.
Furuta said he was attracted to the job by the challenge it presents.
"The community, the school district and everyone realize there were problems in the past and some harsh steps had to be taken," he said. "Now we're ready to take the next step. . . . In a way, we have a new opportunity to solve the problems and come together as a group."