PUSD Update

August 1, 2021


The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) welcomes two administrative leaders as schools prepare for the start of the new school year. School begins August 12, 2021, with full in-person learning on campus.

Maricela Brambila, Principal Willard Elementary

Maricela Brambila has been appointed Principal of Willard Elementary, an International Baccalaureate School. Ms. Brambila replaces Dr. Angela Baxter who accepted a director position in another district.

“I would like to thank Dr. Baxter for her visionary leadership at Willard and congratulate her on her new position,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald, Ed.D. “Although we highly value the input of parents and staff in the selection of new principals, with the full reopening of the new school year just weeks away, we have to move quickly to appoint a new principal. I am pleased to appoint Maricela Brambila as principal of Willard Elementary, an International Baccalaureate (IB) School. Ms. Brambila is an experienced school administrator with strong experience in IB programs.”

Ms. Brambila served as Assistant Principal of Pasadena High School from 2019 to 2021. Before that, she was Assistant Principal at Blair Middle and High School from 2011 to 2019 and served as the IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator. As a secondary English Learner program specialist in LADD from 2006 to 2011, she supported English learners and facilitated the committee that developed the International Academy at Blair. Ms. Brambila joined PUSD in 1994 as a bilingual instructional aide, and was an English teacher at Blair from 1995 to 2005.

Ms. Brambila is an alumna of John Muir and the mother of PUSD students who attended Willard.

"I am so excited to join the Willard Elementary School, an IB World School, community,” said Ms. Brambila. “I have always had a profound respect for the great work of Dr. Baxter and the staff at Willard and I am honored to have an opportunity to continue and build on that work within the IB Primary Years Programme. As a former Willard parent, I have a great appreciation for the warm and supportive environment of the Willard community and I can't wait to be part of the team that provides that to the current and future generations of Wildcats! I look forward to meeting, and learning from, our students, families, and staff, and most importantly, to an amazing school year!"

Jovan Jacobs, Ed.D., Executive Director, Special Education

Dr. Jovan Jacobs joins PUSD as Executive Director of Special Education with 21 years of experience and expertise in successfully leading and developing programs and services for students with disabilities, both as a teacher and as an administrator.

As Executive Director of Special Education in PUSD, Dr. Jacobs has a critical leadership role that directly impacts the acceleration of improving the academic outcomes of students with special needs. She is responsible for coordinating the efforts of all relevant agencies, organizations, and key stakeholders to provide services needed by PUSD students, working to eliminate disparities in achievement and ensure college and career readiness for students with special needs.

“Dr. Jacob’s leadership and expertise in the area of special education, along with her focus on inclusion and equity will positively impact all of our students, programs, and staff,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald. “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Jacobs to PUSD.”

A major emphasis in Dr. Jacobs’ career has been improving academic achievement for all students, with a particular focus on inclusion and equity. Dr. Jacobs has effectively developed educational opportunities for students with disabilities through best practices in leadership development, teacher professional development, and parent community engagement.

Dr. Jacobs previously served as the Executive Director of Special Education/Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) for Stockton Unified District. Prior to SUSD, she served as the first SELPA Director for Compton Unified in 2012. Dr. Jacob's first administrative position was the Director of Special Education and Support Services with the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

Dr. Jacobs obtained a B.A. in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego, an M.A. in Special Education from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and an M.A. in Administration with an emphasis in Urban Leadership from California State University, Sacramento. In 2012, she received her doctorate for K-12 Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California.

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