New principal duo has history with Hollister

Ostoja to Ladd Lane; Espinoza to R.O. Hardin

A pair of new school site leaders will welcome students, families and staff to start the 2019-20 school year at Hollister School District’s R.O. Hardin and Ladd Lane Elementary Schools.

The district made the announcement of Jeanine Ostoja as principal of Ladd Lane and Lilia Espinoza as the new principal of R.O. Hardin at the Board of Trustees meeting in April.

Jeannine Ostoja

“HSD received over 20 strong applicants for these two principal vacancies. Lilia and Jeanine were selected after two rounds of interviews with site staff and district administrators,” said Superintendent Diego Ochoa. “We feel strongly that they will provide great leadership to our schools. I’m excited for the students, parents and staff at Ladd Lane and R.O Hardin.”

Ostoja is no stranger to Hollister schools, working as both a teacher and administrator over the last 13 years. She taught primary grades for three years and then moved on to find her home with the district in 2006. Since then, Ostoja has taught almost everything from kindergarten to sixth grade. Ostoja has served as an intervention teacher and assistant principal at Ladd Lane and Cerra Vista.

“I consider my most important job to be that of a child advocate. My goal is to ensure that all children are healthy, happy and safe,” Ostoja said. “I want students to have the utmost advantage of reaching their full potential. …I am committed to leading a school where teachers want to work and students want to learn.”

It is a homecoming for Espinoza, who attended R.O. Hardin as a child.

“I remember joining my father on Friday evenings while he cleaned the classrooms; my job was to help clean the chalkboards,” she shared. “I would play teacher and call upon all of those students that were never called on to participate. … I decided then that what students needed was a voice, an opportunity to speak.”

Lilia Espinoza

As an English Language Development teacher, Espinoza stressed the importance of language development, researching best instructional practices and effective lesson plan development to target the language needs of her students.

After many years in the classroom, Espinoza was offered the opportunity to serve as an assistant principal at R.O. Hardin, where she shifted her focus to data, formative assessments, on-site coaching and collaboration. She currently serves as the district’s coordinator of English learners and migrant programs.

“The opportunity to call on all of the ‘silent’ students district wide was an opportunity I could not pass up,” she said. “Therefore, I took the opportunity to be their voice.”

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