Page 6 August 8, 2019 EL SEGUNDO HERALD
It Was a Very Good Sports Year… First-Year ESMS Principal Nicole
Duquette Is In By Gregg McMullin It for the Long Haul
With the 2019-20 school year starting in
three weeks, it might be fun to look back at the
2018-19 year in high school sports. It marked
the last year of the decade and with it the innocence
of athletes born the same year as the
September 11 attacks on our country. There were
tears and cheers and we lost a dear friend during
the year. Through it all, El Segundo High
School students and athletes stood as one. There
were league champions, playoff teams who
made a run and one state championship team.
We Miss You, Chuck
El Segundo High, our community and athletes
dating back to 1981 mourned the passing of
Chuck Shaffer. He was so beloved and adored
over the past 36 years in helping the football,
baseball and basketball teams that his passing
sent shockwaves through our community. Rest
in peace, my friend. Friday nights just aren’t
the same anymore.
Football: Coach Heck Wraps Up
Eagles Coaching Career
The football team’s eight consecutive years
advancing to the CIF playoffs ended when the
Eagles finished their season with a 5-5 record.
The team’s thrilling overtime 22-16 win over
Santa Monica was also Defensive Coordinator
Dan Heck’s final game. Coach Heck would call
that game the finest his defense had played
all year long.
A Great Season in Cross Country
The 2018 season may have been the best
year for the girls team in school history. The
Eagles hosted the inaugural Eagle XC Invitational
held at The Lakes and finished first
by besting some of the top programs in the
Southland. Next up was the Woodbridge
Invitational where the Eagles were invited to
participate in the Sweepstakes race for the top
teams on the West Coast. Their team time was
the fastest on a three-mile course in California.
They won their fourth consecutive Ocean League
title thanks in part to four-year runners Nikki
Fulcomer and Gabby Lee. Next up was the
CIF-SS finals where the Eagles finished third
for the second consecutive year. They capped
their remarkable season with a third place finish
at the California CIF State championships.
On the boys side, the Eagles demonstrated
how deep the team was and qualified for the
CIF-SS Division 4 finals. It was the team’s
fourth consecutive year to advance to the
finals. Arend Verfaillie led his team, followed
by Christopher Waites, Niall Glynn, Calvin
Liang and sophomores Lucky Schwartz, Cole
Sterba and Cooper Haas.
Boys Water Polo Makes
The Eagles finished second to Santa Monica
in the Ocean League and advanced to the CIF
By Duane Plank
When classes resume on Wednesday, Aug. 29,
El Segundo Middle School (ESMS) will welcome
its fourth principal since the beginning of the
2016/17 school year. Nicole Duquette was selected
in mid-May by El Segundo Unified School
District (ESUSD) administration to replace
Acting Principal Ali Rabiei, who has taken
another position as Director of Operations.
Rabiei became the acting principal last
November when predecessor Dr. Jennifer Hawn
unexpectedly left to join the Whittier City School
District. Hawn’s mid-school-year departure set
the wheels in motion for the elevation of then-
ESMS Principal Dr. Melissa Gooden to the lead
post El Segundo High School, with Rabiei taking
over at the middle school on an “acting” basis.
Aware of the recent quick turnover, Duquette
said she hopes to stabilize the tenure of the
principal position at ESMS. When asked how
long she plans to stay in the ESUSD, she
said she is in “for the long haul and likes the
long-term growth opportunity offered here. “I
would really like to make the ESUSD a longterm
home, serving the families and students
and the faculty for years to come,” she said,
adding that she also does not wish to “load
another U-Haul anytime soon!”
Duquette, who has a Master’s degree in
Educational Leadership as well as Bachelor’s
degrees in Political Science and Journalism,
comes to the ESUSD after a two-year stint as
principal at McKinley School of the Arts in
Pasadena where she focused on increasing rigor,
closing the achievement gap and expanding
their arts program.
A 20-year educator who is in the process of
moving to Marina del Rey, Duquette served
three stints as a high school assistant principal,
as well as accruing seven years teaching in the
classroom and specializing in English, History
Special Education and Student Government.
She was selected Teacher of the Year for the
Deer Valley Unified School District when she
was instructing at Boulder Creek High School
in Anthem, Arizona during 2009/2010.
“My love for public schools and my deeply
rooted commitment to ensuring that all students
are ready to thrive once they attend college
drive me to lead,” Duquette said. “Our school
will develop students who not only feel safe
and loved, but can also thrive in an innovative
learning environment where they feel confident
in taking on this great big world around them.”
Principal Angela Baxter of Willard Elementary
in Pasadena is keenly aware of Duquette’s talents.
“Ms. Duquette is a committed educator who
enjoys celebrating students’ success,” Baxter
emailed. “She is knowledgeable, talented and
is a quick learner who is an excellent model
Duquette was selected from a highly
competitive pool of applicants. ESUSD
Executive Director of Human Resources and
Facilities Dr. Dylan Farris conducted three
focus group meetings with stakeholders to finetune
the list of desired qualities that the new
principal should possess. The hiring process
included paper screening to narrow the field
of candidates, an initial screening interview,
a comprehensive panel interview, a finalist
interview, and a reference check.
Farris reported that the District received 26
applications for the principal position. The top
three candidates were interviewed by ESUSD
Superintendent Dr. Melissa Moore. Farris
emailed that “throughout the interview process,
Ms. Duquette stood out as the most experienced,
competent and knowledgeable candidate. She
exemplifies the qualities deemed desirable by
our teachers, parents and leadership team. She
also came with strong positive references from
her previous employer.”
Farris added, “We are pleased and excited
that Ms. Duquette has agreed to join our team
and we look forward to her stewardship at
ESMS in the coming year.”
After the diligent interview process, Duquette
earned the selection and said she was pleasantly
surprised and flattered when informed that she
was the unanimous first choice to become
principal. “That is rare,” she said, adding that
she is eager to “put my money where my
mouth is” in meeting stakeholder expectations.
Duquette’s selection did not surprise educator
Lauren Paule Sheahan, who sent a glowing
Cam Carlton (32) is surrounded by his friends after scoring a game-high 15 points in his first and last high school game.
ESMS Principal Nicole Duquette
OBITUARIES: Monday at noon.
CALENDAR ITEMS: Monday at noon.
PEOPLE ITEMS: Monday at noon.
CLASSIFIEDS: Tuesday at noon.
LEGAL NOTICES: Wednesday at 11:00 am.
REAL ESTATE ADS: Monday at noon.
AD CANCELLATIONS: Prior Thursday.
LATE CANCELLATIONS WILL BE
CHARGED 50% OF AD
See Sports, page 11
See ESUSD, page 15