Blanca Cavazos , a former Arvin High School principal and current Kern County Superintendent of Schools office administrator, has been offered the job of superintendent of the Taft Union High School District.

Taft's board of trustees is set to vote on an employment contract at its Thursday meeting.

Cavazos is the KCSOS chief instructional officer. In that role, she has direct oversight of Valley Oaks Charter School, which is run by KCSOS; is the point person for any charter school-related issues countywide; and is the liaison for Kern County high schools, overseeing staff development for principals and teachers.

Before that, Cavazos spent 13 years as Arvin principal.

If the contract is approved as expected, Cavazos will start before the end of the month.

She takes over a district of 980 students at one traditional high school and a continuing education school, succeeding interim Superintendent William McDermott.

McDermott had come out of retirement to serve as interim superintendent in October while the district looked for a permanent successor to Mark Richardson, who left to become superintendent of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

In his short tenure, McDermott had the misfortune of presiding over a tragic school shooting in January in which a student was badly injured in the chest and abdomen.

Bryan Oliver, 16, is charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a firearm in the wounding of that student and the targeting of another, and one count of assault with a firearm in the wounding of a teacher grazed by a pellet. Oliver is in custody awaiting trial.

The peers of Taft High School science teacher Ryan Heber have nominated him to represent the school in the Kern County Teacher of the Year competition sponsored by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office.

Heber and campus supervisor Kim Fields were credited earlier this year with talking a boy who allegedly shot a fellow student into laying down his weapon.

Heber was grazed by a pellet during the Jan. 10 incident.

The county winner, to be announced this spring, is eligible to compete in the state finals and possibly go on to nationals.

Begun in 1972, the California Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the California Department of Education.

The national winner traditionally spends a year travelling the United States as an inspirational speaker.

The deadline is March 15 to apply for some of the more than $425,000 in scholarships and prizes to be awarded this year in the Kohl's Department Stores Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program.

Ranging from $50 Kohl's gift cards to $10,000 scholarships, more than 2,300 young volunteers who have made a positive impact on their communities will be selected.

Nominations for children ages six to 18 will be accepted through March 15 at

Two Kern High School District schools have received state honors for the quality of their civic education programs.

Golden Valley High School was one of three high schools in California to receive the top tier Award of Excellence. Centennial High School was one of five high schools to receive the second tier Award of Distinction. A total of 22 high schools were honored.

California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and a committee of civic leaders organized the Civic Learning Summit to examine successes and barriers to increasing civic literacy in California. Winners announced at the summit were selected by an expert panel based on the depth and breadth of their civic learning courses or programs.

The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office announced winners of the 30th annual Kern County History Day, held March 2 at the Larry E. Reider Educational Center .

History Day encourages students to explore a historical subject related to a yearly theme. This year's theme was "Turning Points in History."

Winners in each of six categories are eligible to participate in the History Day state finals April 26 and 27 in Sacramento. State winners can advance to the National History Day competition to be held in June in Maryland.

The winners were:


Individual Documentary

Grace Moore / Centennial High School -- Split at the 38th Parallel: A Turning Point for the Korean Peninsula

Individual Performance

Manooshree Patel / Stockdale High School -- A Turning Point in History: The Tuskegee Airmen

Historical Paper

Brooke Richter / Liberty High School -- The Creation of Israel: The Turning Point that Fueled the Fires of the Middle East


Group Performance

Miguel Vargas, Sadie Armijo, Stevie McNabb, Jake Beardsley & Dylan Pearson / Chipman Junior High -- No Turning Back

McKall Henrie, Taylor Urner & Reiley Pike / Thorner Elementary -- A Right to be a Child

Individual Performance

Cassidy Porter / Fruitvale Junior High -- The Story Never Dies

Madeline Abernathy / Country Christian -- The Berlin Wall

Group Documentary

Jaime Morena & Alejandro Quirino / Mountain View Middle -- Turning Points in American Educational History: Mendez vs. Westminster

Sahil Alim, Philip Felizarta & Aaron McKenzie / Earl Warren Junior High -- The Fall of the Stock Market in 1929: An Important Turning Point into the Great Depression

Individual Documentary

Jessica Jensen / Endeavour Elementary -- Apple and the Personal Computer: An Insanely Great Turning Point

Elli Cunanan / Fruitvale Junior High -- Wage Earners Organize: Turning Points in History of Labor Unions

Group Exhibit

Caitlyn Richter & Kaitlyn Moss / Fruitvale Junior High -- Black Gold -- First American Oil Strike Launches Petroleum Industry and Transforms the World

Vedant Vaidya & Michael Lynch / Earl Warren Junior High -- Apollo 11 to the Moon

Individual Exhibit

Christopher Martinez / Mountain View Middle -- Dust Bowl Migration Reformation

Caleb Garcia / Chipman Junior High -- Black Rains, Blinding Skies

Group Web Site

Mitchell Caughron & Jonathan Hakker / Chipman Junior High -- Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse: A Turning Point in Animation and Family Entertainment

Roy Valdez, Lucas Giumarra, Isaac Quiroz & Donte Davis / Thorner Elementary -- FDR's Alphabet Soup: New Deal America

Individual Web Site

Niteesh Kuchakulla / Earl Warren Junior High -- Creation of the Internet: Start of the Digital Age

Sumanth Dara / Earl Warren Junior High -- The Real Mother

Historical Paper

Reena Somani / Earl Warren Junior High -- The Rise and Fall of the Iron Curtain

Ariana Almaraz / Thorner Elementary -- The Voting Rights Act of 1965: An Awakening of an Electorate

Group 2-D Display (4-5 grade only)

Jacob Cook, Dailyn Grills, Carson Peters & Malachi Maguregui / Highland Elementary -- Triangle Factory Fire: From the Ashes Rises a Safer Tomorrow

Sandra Foxx, Javier Navarro, Caleb Enos, River Swallow & Charley Briggs / Highland Elementary -- Hoover Dam: Rise of Power in the West

Individual 2-D Display (4-5 grade only)

Kimberly Jensen / Endeavour Elementary -- Two Steves, A Case of Cream Soda, and a Turning Point in History

Lauren Bittle / Endeavour Elementary -- Paws of Loyalty

-- Courtenay Edelhart, Californian staff

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