A Los Angeles educator was hired Tuesday to lead a Temecula bilingual-immersion charter school where parents and the school district have disagreed over direction and leadership.
The hiring of Irma Cobian as chief executive officer of the Language Acquisition Immersion Program (LAMP) was hailed by members of the charter school’s board.
“She’s almost beyond what we thought we’d be able to get,” said Kim Baily, president of the LAMP board. “Our vision was the same as hers for this position.”
Cobian, a bilingual instructional adviser in the Los Angeles Unified School District, will split her time between administrative duties and teaching in the LAMP classrooms at Sparkman Elementary School.
LAMP’s founder and previous chief executive officer, Frank Ohnesorgen, doubled as Sparkman principal. He was popular among parents in the bilingual program, but some elementary-school parents questioned whether he devoted enough attention to the traditional school.
Ohnesorgen resigned in January, touching off a philosophical struggle over the school’s direction and leadership.
LAMP parents later objected to the district’s appointment of a Sparkman principal who doesn’t speak Spanish. However, district officials said in June that a separate administrator would be hired for the LAMP program.
Ohnesorgen, now an elementary-school principal in Visalia, said Tuesday that he also had envisioned splitting the principal and LAMP administrator jobs, but not until the LAMP school had grown larger. It has about 100 students.
Cobian was one of two people to apply for the LAMP position. She said she lives in Vista and had been seeking a job closer to home.
She will be paid $67,395 a year.
The Temecula Valley school board unanimously approved her hiring Tuesday evening, but she began work Aug. 9.
Founded in 1997, LAMP mixes English- and Spanish-speaking students in classrooms, with each group expected to learn the language of the other. It was re-established as a charter school in 1998 to avoid the restrictions of Prop. 227, California’s English-only initiative.