Katy Wallace said it was the influences of her mother and upbringing that ultimately led her to forge a career in education.
Wallace was one of just three biological children born to the late Stephanie Kazianka, but she never lacked for a sibling. Kazianka fostered more than 50 children throughout her life and even co-founded a group home for children in need.
That background is what has her prepared for the next step in her career, Wallace said.
Wallace was approved by the Lompoc Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday as the next principal of the Maple Continuation and Bob Forinash Community Day schools. The schools, which are for students who seek a change from traditional schooling and/or are involved in the criminal justice system, are a “perfect fit,” Wallace said, for her first assignment as a principal.
“Just coming from the house that I come from and my mom always saying that every kid deserves a chance to succeed and move forward, that’s why I want to work in that environment,” she said. “I feel like I was cut out of that cloth.”
Wallace, who will begin her new position July 1, will replace outgoing principal Brian Jaramillo, who has accepted a position as LUSD’s director of student services. In his new role, Jaramillo will succeed Art Diaz, who is retiring.
Wallace had spent the last two years as a consultant in LUSD’s Lompoc Apprentice Teacher Support System, or LATSS, program. One of her six school sites in that role was the dual campus of Maple and Forinash schools.
“The staff there is wonderful and they’ve done so much with the kids there in providing them with opportunities,” she said, noting $31,000 in scholarships received by Maple students this year.
A Cabrillo High alumna, Wallace spent 14 years there, much of it as a resource specialist, before participating in the LATSS programs.
Working with kids who may be going through troubling times is a passion for her. When she was in college, she actually managed the group home that was co-started by her mother. Between that and her childhood around so many different types of people, “I’ve seen it all,” she said.
She is excited about starting her new position.
“I think that when provided with positive opportunities for change, kids will rise to the occasion,” she said.
In other action Tuesday, the LUSD board approved a six-month contract extension for Irma Manzo, who was brought on as the district’s interim assistant superintendent of business services in October 2015. This will continue her contract through Dec. 31.