David Jaffe named TPHS principal


Founding Canyon Crest Academy principal David Jaffe has replaced Brett Killeen as principal of TPHS for the foreseeable future, according to Jaffe.
The principal position opened up after the end of the 2012-2013 school year when Killeen accepted a position as Assistant Superintendent of Human Relations at Vista Unified School District.
Jaffe left his position as the principal of Chabad Hebrew Academy, a private school in Scripps Ranch, last school year and was set on returning to SDUHSD as a principal. His preference was TPHS, and when Killeen moved to VUSD the spot opened up and the school board granted Jaffe’s wish.
“Ultimately, I found that my heart and soul is in [SDUHSD], and I’m thrilled to be here,” Jaffe said. “[SDUHSD students] don’t feel entitled to things and they work really hard. It’s nice to be around that population of kids.”
Jaffe, having worked in SDUHSD from 1993 to 2011, is well-known in the community. He started as a history teacher at Diegueño Middle School, then became an assistant principal at La Costa Canyon High School. During his time at LCC, he was appointed principal of CCA, which had not been built yet.
“I was the first employee at Canyon Crest, and I spent the next four years hiring all the staff [and] building the school culture,” Jaffe said.
After his CCA tenure, Jaffe spent three years in the district office as Executive Director of Curriculum and Assessment.
Killeen said he applied for the VUSD job in May, seeing it as an opportunity for “personal and professional growth.”
Killeen’s new position is similar to human resources, but also involves communicating information to the public and marketing the district to bring in more students.
“I’m very excited,” Killeen said. “I believe I’ve made a good decision for my professional life, and I’m enjoying the challenge.”
According to Assistant Principal Cara Couvillion, Killeen served as principal of TPHS for seven years and worked hard to accomplish the goals he set.
“He’s a mentor for me,” Couvillion said. “I was very sad to see him go … but he went for all the right reasons.”
According to the principal’s secretary, Julie Rock, Killeen and Jaffe are alike in their goals for TPHS, striving to make the school the best it can be.
“They’re both real quality people,” Rock said. “We have a very involved community, and they have high expectations for the school.”
Although most students have had limited interaction with the new principal, as the liaison between students and administrators, ASB president Jourdan Johnson (12) has met with Jaffe numerous times.
“He is very enthusiastic about [TPHS],” Johnson said. “He’s very excited about increasing school spirit and is just really enthusiastic about the whole school.”
One possible change they have discussed is making pep rallies “built into the day,” rather than just asking teachers to bring their classes. Time would be allotted specifically for pep rallies, similar to an assembly schedule.
“I think [that would] be awesome,” ASB member Jamie Yu (10) said. “Before, a lot kids didn’t have the chance to go … If it’s [like] an assembly, more kids will be there and involved.”
According to Jaffe, TPHS will see other changes, like the switch to Common Core standards and the renovation of many buildings on campus as a result of the passage of the Prop AA bond, which allocated $80 million to TPHS. Despite the importance of these alterations, he believes the “biggest and most important challenge is [creating] an environment where everyone feels [TPHS] is like a home.”
“One of the challenges in a big school is to make sure every one of the 2,750 kids feels connected to the school,” Jaffe said. “Our job as educators is to give students the very best opportunity to develop themselves and be passionate about something.”
Jaffe spends a considerable amount of time out of his office interacting with students, appreciating the “positivity” of TPHS.
“It’s the first time in a long time I’ve been genuinely happy to go to work; it really is,” Jaffe said. “I smile every day I go to work.”