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WATTS : Ex-Jordan Teacher Named Principal

August 22, 1993|SANDRA HERNANDEZ

Etta Seamaster-McMahan is gearing up for her first day of school with confidence.

"This is like coming home," said Seamaster-McMahan, who was recently named principal of Jordan High School, where she worked as a teacher 27 years ago.

Seamaster-McMahan has replaced Andreda Pruitt, who returned to Kennedy High School in Granada Hills after only five days at Jordan when parents at Kennedy successfully campaigned to bring her back, according to Los Angeles Unified School District officials. Pruitt was on vacation last week and could not be reached for comment.

Faced with the need to quickly find a replacement, district officials sought out a principal familiar with the intricacies of running an inner-city school.

"We wanted to have someone who had a demonstrated background of experience working with students who would be similar to those at Jordan," said Richard Browning, director of the district's high school division. "Etta had worked at Jefferson High School, which has a similar student body. We wanted someone who understands the curriculum and can inspire confidence among the faculty and the community."

Seamaster-McMahan said that in addition to understanding the curriculum, she understands that inner-city high schools such as Jordan can be mischaracterized.

"I worked here (at Jordan) in 1966 and then there was an image that I didn't find to be true, just as today there is an image of the school that I don't find to be so," she said. "Sure, there are problems around the school, but you can't control what goes on on the outside."

Seamaster-McMahan taught physical education and English at Jordan in 1966 after moving to California from Louisiana. After Jordan, she went on to several schools, including Jefferson High School and, most recently, Peary Middle School.

In her new role at Jordan, Seamaster-McMahan said one of her most immediate concerns is student safety.

"The first thing I'm interested in doing is making sure this campus is safe and conducive to learning, so students can come to school and want to learn and cooperate with teachers," she said. She said she plans to get parents and area residents to work as volunteers supervising hallways and helping teachers when classes begin Sept. 7.

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