Safine leaves assistant principal position, assumes new role as district’s HR Director

January 21, 2020 — by Kaitlyn Tsai

 After working at the school for 17 years as an assistant principal, Brian Safine has been picked to be the district’s director of human resources, a promotion that will allow him to serve the needs of both Saratoga and Los Gatos High. He is replacing Annette Grasty, who left the district recently to take another position. 

The school is in the process of hiring a permanent assistant principal to replace him. For second semester, social studies and P.E. teacher Rick Ellis, who received his administration credential in 2018, will serve as interim assistant principal. Safine will also continue to aid the administration through this transitory process. 

“I’m working very hard — morning, noon and night,” Safine said. “It takes a lot of energy to embrace a new job while still wrapping up the previous job the right way.”

Having also worked as a core teacher at Redwood Middle School for eight years prior to starting at Saratoga, Safine said he “couldn’t refuse” the opportunity to serve students, teachers and parents district-wide. 

As HR director, Safine’s role will shift from interacting with students, parents and staff to hiring and supporting teachers, administrators and other staff members. 

“I think there’s a couple of things that will be very exciting in the new job, one of them being hiring the best possible people at Saratoga and Los Gatos to be in front of our students on a daily basis,” Safine said. “I’ve had the good fortune of either hiring or supervising over half of the current Saratoga staff, so I’m very excited to continue hiring and mentoring folks district-wide.”

Aside from these duties, Safine will also serve as a director on the District Cabinet, participating in weekly meetings that discuss issues such as school policies and teaching. With his experience as an assistant principal, Safine said, he can offer valuable perspective on these issues and help chart a course for the school district.

Assistant principal Kerry Mohnike described his departure as “bittersweet.”

“We’re really happy to have someone who knows how schools run — our school in particular — and can support us at the district level,” Mohnike said. “But of course, I’ll miss the camaraderie; he’s a hard worker, he’s thoughtful, he’s intelligent, and I’ll miss being able to go to him immediately.”

Although Safine said he will visit Saratoga and student events often, he said he will miss the intimacy of working so closely with staff and students here. Still, he said he looks forward to continuing to support the school at a broader level.

“I’ve developed a ton of close relationships in a community that I love,” Safine said. “I’ll miss the student energy and the fact that our staff and students are caring people who are committed to each other’s wellness. But I’m really excited to help chart a course for our school district.”

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