“Opening day at Esperanza was quite an adventure. We were still finishing up some things. We had people putting down sprinkler lines,” Brunner said. Brunner also opened Hillview Middle School – that one in 1993. After starting his teaching career at Del Sur School, Brunner moved to Leona Valley School and then to Joe Walker Middle School, where he was an eighth-grade science teacher and administrative intern in 1977-78 and vice principal from 1978 to 1980. From 1980 to 1983 he was teacher-principal at Leona Valley School, then dean of boys at Joe Walker from 1983 to 1986. “That’s a glorified VP plus other things. I was in charge of boys. That was very exciting,” Brunner said. In 1986, he became principal at Quartz Hill Elementary School. Then he was principal at Joe Walker from 1991 until 1993, when he moved over to head Hillview Middle School. Next he was principal at Cottonwood School from 1999 until he became principal at Esperanza in 2003. “It has been a wonderful experience for me. I’ve met some wonderful children and very supportive parents and super teachers who are very compassionate about children and making sure they learn well,” said Brunner, 59. “He creates an environment that is very reflective of his loving personality,” Rossall said. “Every place he’s gone, he’s been a hard act to follow.” One of the significant changes Brunner has seen during his career is the amount of information that children are required to know and demonstrate in the classroom. “It’s a tremendous challenge for teachers to convey as much information as they are required to convey,” Brunner said. Brunner said he sees value in the emphasis on testing but also notes the pressures it puts on teachers. “There are some expectations that should be held. There should be some accountabilitiy that quality teaching is taking place, but it is sometimes difficult to put teachers in a position when they don’t have input on the students they are getting and to be judged then on the testing.” Unlike private schools that can turn away students, “we accept everyone, even if they are reading three grade levels below where they are supposed to be,” Brunner said. If given another chance, Brunner said he might have stayed in the classroom “because I think that there is where it really takes place. Being in the classroom is very special.” The son of a Long Beach naval shipyard inspector and stay-at-home mother, Brunner received a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in psychology at what is now California State University, Long Beach. He also has a master’s degree in systems management from Chapman University. He and his wife, Mary, live at Lake Elizabeth. They have two sons – one serving in the Army at Fort Polk in Louisiana and another in Washington state – and four grandchildren. email@example.com (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2To give Brunner the proper send-off, a retirement party will be held at 6 p.m. June 15 at the Cascades restaurant. The public is invited, and the cost is $40 per person. To reserve a spot, call the district by June 7 at (661) 722-0716, Ext. 118. Brunner is also known for his extensive Winnie the Pooh collection, started by him and built up over the years through gifts from others, school officials said. The silly bear’s presence has spilled out from his office into the clerical office and entrance area. Brunner often wears Pooh ties. “It’s every type of Pooh memorabilia you can think of – stuffed animals, figurines, pictures, wall hangings,” secretary Carrie Diaz said. “It makes his office so child-friendly. It’s very warm and very inviting for kids. When we have kids come to the principal’s office, it can be intimidating.” Brunner has been at Esperanza School since August 2003 when the campus, plagued by construction delays, opened eight months behind schedule with the main building, which houses the cafeteria and school office, not finished. PALMDALE – Esperanza School Principal Paul Brunner went to work at Westside Union School District in 1971 when it had 1,700 students and four schools with a fifth campus under construction. Brunner, who started out as a special-education teacher at Del Sur School and has worked at seven of the district’s 11 schools, including two he opened as principal, will retire at the end of this school year. “He has been a tremendous asset to the Westside school district. He is probably one of the most loved individuals by parents and students alike,” said Superintendent Regina Rossall, who started the same year as Brunner and with him holds the district’s longest-tenure title. “He’s helped more kids in his 35 years than we could probably count. He’s a very caring individual, very dedicated. He has always been the consummate professional. For me personally – he and I started in the district the same time – I’m going to miss him a lot.”
– Monica Harmon Los Angeles Think like Americans Your March 1 headline reads “Valley commuters score victory,” and Monday’s editorial is headlined “Victory for 405.” It sounds like a simple car-pool lane is a major accomplishment for mankind. Such braggadocio over a 10-mile traffic lane to serve 10 percent of commuters – and not to be completed for another six years – is absurd. This is America, the country that built the Panama Canal, Hoover Dam and the interstate freeway system and that sent man to the moon in about the same time to be taken to design and pour this pad of concrete. Let’s start thinking like Americans again and build it overnight for one-fourth the proposed cost and open it to all motorists alike. – Robert L. Rosebrock Brentwood Cardenas responds Re “`Fair’ politics” (Our Opinions, March 2): I represent Woodley Park and the many families surrounding the park who oppose having the four-day San Fernando Valley Fair in their backyards – and for good reason. Bottom line: While fair organizers were vying for the new Woodley Park location, they failed to mention to the community that alcohol would be served for four days straight, music would be playing until midnight, and the main traffic thoroughfares would be closed off. Not a good game plan in an area highly concentrated with families and children. Secondly, the fair board already has an existing contract with the city to host the event at Hansen Dam, a more appropriate location, this year as well as next year. In fact, the city put $70,000 into plumbing and electrical infrastructure there to accommodate the fair’s animals. We even waived fees and found additional parking for the event. Fair officials made the decision to leave. Maybe they thought making a buck was more important than considering community impacts. It shouldn’t only be about making money; it should be about how the San Fernando Valley Fair best serves the people of the San Fernando Valley. – Tony Cardenas Councilman, Los Angeles Thanks for nothing Re “`Fair’ politics” (Our Opinions, March 2): Your recent editorial supporting keeping the San Fernando Valley Fair in the Valley should have noted that the previous Hansen Dam site is actually located within Council District 7, whose seat is now vacant but possibly to be reclaimed by its former occupant, newly elected Assemblyman Richard Alarcón. Neither Alarcón nor Councilman Tony Cardenas did anything to retain the fair within the Valley. Quite the contrary, it was Cardenas’ political power play more than two months after the city signed the agreement to use Woodley Park that forced the fair to leave the Valley entirely. Thanks for nothing, guys. – Glenn Bailey Encino Anti-troop? There is proposed legislation to give troops proper equipment and training – for the first time during this war – that is being called anti-troop. How can this be? As the cousin of a man who led the first wave into Baghdad and survived a 14-month tour without proper body armor, I feel this has gone beyond all acceptable bounds. How can it be bad to give troops proper equipment and training? I can’t think of a single reason how this could be, and I am left baffled and horrified. We need to send a message to our politicians that this is unacceptable. – Alex Manugian Sherman Oaks Seems like a cop-out It would have been more realistic if President Bush had gone to the less-affluent parts of New Orleans that are still in shambles. Instead, he went to some rich person’s house that was rebuilt to talk about what has been accomplished. His remark that “if the rest of the city is having problems with the rebuilding, they should have the state contact the federal government” seemed a cop-out to me. – Donald Jolliff Van Nuys Needs a rewrite Re “Levine wants to put teeth in pet population control” (March 2): Lloyd Levine needs a new light bulb if he thinks his spay/neuter bill is going to reduce pet overpopulation while guaranteeing that any purebred dog or cat can remain intact. There is certainly no evidence that purebreds are healthier than mixed-breed pets, as verified by reports on puppy-mill puppies or by reviewing the genetic health defects rampant in purebred dog or cat bloodlines. This is nonsensical legislation, which proposes funding spay/neuter service for millions of dogs and cats statewide from $500 fines paid by lawbreakers who refuse – or perhaps can’t afford – to alter nonpapered pets within 30 days. Spaying and neutering pets, both mixed and purebreds, is a good thing. Levine needs to have the strength of his convictions, call it what it is, and write it so it works. – Denise A. Justin Los Angeles Marathons Re “New course a site to see” (March 5): I once lived in the San Fernando Valley, and as a former resident I was glad that the course of the marathon has begun a new era with the starting line moved to Universal City. I am also glad that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had to use extra trains to bus the runners and walkers from downtown L.A. to Universal City. Boy, what a sight to see! On that same day, I competed in the fifth running of the Little Rock Marathon in Little Rock, Ark. Let’s hope that they are held next year with both events running on the same day. – John Huerta Warren, Ark. Marathon head start I must say it came as a shock to me when I found out that women get a 20-minute head start in the L.A. Marathon. I find this somewhat sexist in an age of gender equality. Is Los Angeles guilty of admitting that females are the physically weaker sex and need special considerations? Does Los Angeles follow this policy when hiring females in physically demanding jobs, such as jobs of firefighters and police officers? – Jeff Shirey Woodland Hills Palmdale airport Re “Flight plan is taking shape” (March 3): Finally, after a very long time, something is being done to utilize Palmdale Regional Airport. Even though it may have a modest beginning, the potential for growth is wonderful. Good luck. – Cliff Hall Chatsworth160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Re “Valley sites to house homeless” (March 6): I have a question for Mayor Villaraigosa: Are you not aware that those sites where you want to build housing for the homeless are in gang-infested areas? By building those housing units in those areas, you are putting the citizens in jeopardy – by putting them in the middle of drive-by shootings and other violent crimes. In my opinion, there is a lack of common sense in building these units in the area that the mayor has indicated before cleaning up the gang problem. – Mort Sherman Woodland Hills Financial disclosure Re “Officials soft-pedal cop threat” (March 3): Councilman Bernard Parks states, “It was put into place to instill public confidence that we have an honest police force.” Because of Parks’ poor leadership and lack of management skills, the Rampart corruption scandal occurred right under his nose when he was chief, and the consent decree was implemented. The Los Angeles Police Department also lost 1,000 officers during Parks’ tenure. Now our LAPD officers are dealing with the consequences of Parks’ failure, and our city is at risk to lose more than 600 LAPD anti-gang and narcotics officers if asked to disclose their financial records. I wonder how our politicians would be reacting if they were asked to disclose their financial records.