2004-09-03 / Schools

Simi educator joins High School at Moorpark

By Saria Kraft
kraft@theacorn.com

By Saria Kraft kraft@theacorn.com

JAMES FARRALLY/Acorn Newspapers  ON BOARD-Dennis Rast, acting principal for the High School at Moorpark College, will keep an eye out for ways to improve.JAMES FARRALLY/Acorn Newspapers ON BOARD-Dennis Rast, acting principal for the High School at Moorpark College, will keep an eye out for ways to improve.

Dennis Rast, a 38-year veteran of Simi Valley Unified School District, has been appointed acting principal of the High School at Moorpark College.

Ventura County Community College District trustees approved the appointment during a recent board meeting.

Rast assumes the post vacated by Andie Mallen, who headed the alternative program for high school juniors and seniors the past four years. Mallen, a former guidance counselor at Moorpark High School, has taken a position in the Palm Springs area.

"We’re very appreciative of the work Andie has done and look forward to the next chapter of the program," said Victoria Bortolussi, dean of student learning at Moorpark College.

The college has begun the search for a permanent replacement, she said.

"Dennis is a wonderful transition person," Bortolussi said. "I’ve worked with him for many years, and it was fortunate for us that he retired from the Simi district."

Rast was the principal of Simi Valley High School from 1996 to 2000, and served as assistant principal at the campus for 25 years. He joined the SVUSD in 1966 and retired as activities director at Royal High School in June.

As interim principal, Rast oversees instructors who are employed by Moorpark Unified School District. The administrator led the first faculty meeting of the semester last week.

"There’s an incredible culture of support here for kids and for the educational process," Rast said of his staff.

During back to school week, Rast said he was impressed by the level of maturity in the juniors and seniors.

"Our students are venturing out into an academic environment that really challenges them, and many are stepping out for the first time," Rast said. "They’re making an important transition that’s happening during their high school years, not after. Students are working on their life goals and their career goals right now."

Along with collegians, students of the High School at Moorpark College started classes on Mon., Aug 16. In addition to college courses, they study high school curriculum from noon to 5:25 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

The High School at Moorpark College has grown each year since its inception in 2000. It has a current enrollment of 117, up from 106 last year.

"We’re very proud of the program," Bortolussi said. "It’s a model program in education that helps students become connected to their future dreams."

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