Linda Peralta Vranesh, an elementary school teacher from Valencia, has been named the new principal at Brookside Elementary School in Oak Park.
Vranesh officially begins the $53,813-a-year position Aug. 1, but is spending this week in the Oak Park district working with outgoing Brookside Principal Jeff Hamlin. Hamlin will become principal of the new Red Oak Elementary School in Oak Park, which is scheduled to open in the fall.
Vranesh, 43, who just received her master's degree in educational management, said she was attracted to Oak Park by its emphasis on progressive education.
"You're on the cutting edge here. I think that is important," Vranesh said.
Brookside is the oldest school in the fast-growing Oak Park Unified School District.
Vranesh has been a teacher for 16 years, the last five in the Saugus Union School District, where she was a head teacher and mentor teacher at Rio Vista Elementary School.
Vranesh helped write a proposal that resulted in a national Blue Ribbon award for educational excellence, which is given by the U.S. Department of Education. Rio Vista was one of 228 public and private elementary schools across the country to receive the award; another was Oak Hills Elementary School in Oak Park.
She was also one of five nominees for teacher of the year in the Saugus district.
Vranesh said she has already experienced the warmth of Oak Park school officials. Last week, after she was selected for the principal's position, the district sent a balloon bouquet to her sixth-grade classroom.