Del Mar Hills Academy principal resigns, interim principal appointed

By Karen Billing

Del Mar Hills Principal Carrie Gammel has resigned; her last day at the school will be Friday, Sept. 13. The Del Mar Union School District was notified by the Newport Mesa Unified School District last week that Gammel was a final candidate for the principal position at Lincoln Elementary School and that it would be made official by the Newport board on Sept. 10.

Parents and staff were notified on Friday, Sept. 6, although the board did not vote until this week.

“It is with a very heavy heart that she is leaving,” said Jason Romero, DMUSD assistant superintendent of human resources.

Gammel had been the principal at Del Mar Hills since 2011, during which time she commuted from Corona Del Mar.

“She had been commuting quite a distance every day because she loved Del Mar and her job, but an opportunity arose to work at a school 10 minutes from her home and she decided to take that opportunity,” Romero said.

Romero said Gammel’s resignation caught the district by surprise as it just recently had principal vacancies at two of its schools — Sycamore Ridge and Sage Canyon.

They posted the Hills position immediately and Romero said they are fortunate that due to their other two district openings they have had a lot of great candidates contact them after those other two positions had closed.

“We have a good pool of candidates already so we hope to bring a candidate before the board at the Sept. 25 board meeting,” Romero said.

Starting Monday, Sept. 16, Patty Arendt will serve as interim principal at Del Mar Hills. Arendt is a retired school administrator who most recently served as the interim principal for Sycamore Ridge School.