Atwater native elated to be principal at Mitchell School

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comAugust 19, 2013 

HANDOUT ART Christy Lobao, new principal at Mitchell School in Atwater.

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— Christy M. Lobao has realized her career goal — to become a school principal. The 35-year-old lifelong Atwater resident has been named principal of Mitchell Elementary School in Atwater.

Lobao, who most recently was an associate principal in charge of guidance services at El Capitan High School in Merced, now directs education for 503 kindergarten through sixth-grade students.

"I am a very lucky girl," Lobao said. "The district here is quite amazing. The teachers are supportive and the resounding theme here is they love kids and want to do everything possible to make them succeed."

Sandy Schiber, Atwater Elementary School District superintendent, said Lobao is a natural fit for the district and understands what it takes to make a school great.

"She is an instructional leader, has a wonderful work ethic, is passionate about children and values her staff," Schiber said. "I've worked with Christy in the Merced Union High School District for many years and feel lucky to have the opportunity to continue working with her in this new capacity."

As a guidance specialist, Lobao said, she is eager to develop a connection with students and understands the social and emotional situations that children deal with.

"Children have lots of challenges in their life," Lobao said, "which affects them at school. I want to be a resource for students and their teachers."

Sylvia Nelson, principal of Elmer Wood Elementary School in Atwater, said Lobao is passionate about student learning and, like other principals, wears many different hats in her role.

"To say she is a hard worker is an understatement," Nelson said. "She is an excellent addition to our current administrative team. She likes kids and is definitely a collaborative person."

Lobao said she always knew in her heart that she wanted to be a principal at the elementary level. She said she has been meeting with each teacher to offer her support. This year she will be ushering in common core instructional practices, and wants to prepare students for those changes.

One of Lobao's goals is to increase the amount of technology available to the school.

Lobao succeeds Brian Meisenheimer as Mitchell Elementary School principal. Meisenheimer has moved over to become principal of Mitchell Senior Elementary School.

"Brian is an excellent choice for Mitchell Senior," Schiber said. "We are thrilled he accepted the challenge of the junior high school. Brian has done a tremendous job of leading Mitchell K-6 and is ready for this new challenge in his career; Brian is a highly respected administrator in our district."

Lobao received her bachelor's degree, a master's degree in education and her credentials from California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock. She had been an associate principal at Golden Valley High School since 2007 and was principal of the high school district's 2010 and 2011 summer school programs.

Before that, Lobao was an English and language arts teacher for four years at Golden Valley.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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