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Sonoma Charter names new director

Former Windsor High School principal Marc Elin has been tapped as the new director of Sonoma Charter School.

Elin, 55, signed his contract with the SCS Governing Board on July 31 and began work on Aug. 1.

Elin began his career as an elementary school teacher and, later, served as a K-6 principal. At the district level, he has run alternative education programs, including overseeing an independent study program, teen parent programs and support, adult education programs; administrating an alternative high school; and serving as the liaison to a district sponsored independent charter school.

More recently, during his nine years as the principal at Windsor High School, Elin was responsible for helping develop a number of innovative interdisciplinary project-based learning programs that operated as small learning communities within WHS.

Elin said that taking the post working with younger students is both a return to his roots and a much-desired opportunity to work with middle school students.

“I’m really excited to work with students earlier in their educational career,” he said.

Elin noted that he was impressed Sonoma Charter’s commitment to providing a well-balanced educational program delivered through the Montessori Method and project-based instruction.

“At this point in my career, I can be picky about what I do next,” he said. “I was attracted to Sonoma Charter because it is a place where my talents can really contribute to the success of the school.”

Elin said that one of his strengths and passions is creating a clear vision and a powerful identity for a school.

“I want to help re-tell and really communicate the Sonoma Charter School story,” he said.

Sonoma Charter Parent Jason McCabe, vice chair of the SCS governing board, said that it was not only Elin’s depth of experience but also his inspiration style that impressed the hiring committee.

“Marc’s desire to empower those around him, including staff and students, really spoke to us,” said McCabe. “He wants to lift everyone up and he really knows how to rally the troops.”

Nelson Staffing assisted with the six-week search.

Elin received his bachelor’s degree from Union College, his teaching credentials form National University and his administrative credentials and master’s in education from Sonoma State University.

He currently lives in Santa Rosa with his wife, Diane, who is also an educator, and his 20-year-old- son, who has special needs.

The Charter School also announced the hiring of four new teachers for the new school year. Courtney Adkins has joined the school as a grade 7/8 math and science teacher. Charley Bensley is a new math specialist. Andrew Crawford is a new sixth grade teacher with a background in STEM and maker-based education. Shawn Mallonee is a new reading and English language development specialist with experience in both in reading intervention and art. Becky Perkins has joined Charter as a new fifth grade teacher who has a background in social-emotional wellness.

Sonoma Charter’s former director of three years, Kevin Kassebaum, announced in June that he would be leaving the school to move back to Southern California.

​Sonoma Charter School is the ninth oldest charter school in California. The school was founded in 1993 by a group of Sonoma Valley parents, teachers and community members who were seeking an alternative educational opportunity that could serve the families within the Valley and the surrounding areas. It is a free public school.

Contact Lorna at ourschools@sonomanews.com.