Disney and Jefferson Elementary Schools to Exchange Principals


Principals at Thomas Jefferson and Walt Disney Elementary Schools announced that at the end of the current school year, they will be trading places.

As of June, 2013, Sandra DeBarros, who has been the principal at Disney Elementary School for six years will become Jefferson’s principal. Likewise, Melissa Kistler, principal at Jefferson Elementary School for the past four and a half years, will become Disney’s principal. According to Dr. Tom Kissinger, Director of Elementary Education, this is a positive change, and one that allows the District and school communities to take advantage of the strengths and skills of two talented principals who have already been successful in the District, but have expressed an openness to change.

When Dr. Kissinger approached the two principals about this idea, both welcomed it and have communicated a genuine willingness to work in school communities with different challenges and opportunities. “Melissa (Kistler) and Sandra (DeBarros) are both highly skilled and very talented individuals,” said Kissinger. “The Superintendent and I have every expectation that they will continue to be successful at their new schools.” Kissinger also pointed out that the principals who are moving will have the added support of their curriculum specialists, who will be making the change with them.

Before coming to Burbank, Ms. DeBarros taught Kindergarten and 3rd grade in the Mountain View District in El Monte. She began her career in Burbank as a teacher in 1995. In 2002, Ms. DeBarros was selected as the District’s Teacher of the Year. Ms. DeBarros, who has a Master’s Degree from UCLA, has been the principal at Disney since 2007.

Ms. Kistler began her teaching career in the Covina Valley Unified School District in 1993. She served as an assistant principal in Temple City and has been the principal at Jefferson since January of 2009. Ms. Kistler earned her Master’s Degree at USC and is currently enrolled in USC’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership.