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Maggard Takes Post As EHS Principal
Ready to join the team, new Escalon High School Principal Jason Maggard is eager for the new school year to begin and looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

Maggard comes to Escalon after spending the last six years as an assistant principal at Pitman High School in Turlock and has also been a teacher and coach in his educational career.

"I felt as if I was in a position in my professional career where I wanted to take a step, for challenge and growth," Maggard said.

He learned about the opening in Escalon - former high school principal Joel Johannsen is now the district's assistant superintendent - through a website called Edjoin that posts available jobs in the field.

Maggard was already familiar with the school district here because his father, Stan Maggard, was the golf coach for both boys and girls for several years.

"Every year, he did a little fundraiser out at the golf course and I helped him with that," Maggard said. "Those were really my first exchanges with the community."

The exchanges were positive ones, he said, and when he knew he wanted to further his career, Escalon was one of the school districts he looked at. But, Maggard said, he didn't really expect a job to be open because of the stability here. Checking out options on Edjoin, he was both pleased and excited to find the principal's job posted.

"I called my dad," he admitted, "and told him the principal's job at Escalon was open."

After successfully getting through the first round of interviews, Maggard eventually emerged as the top candidate and was officially brought on board in late July.

"I'm thrilled to be at a school with such rich tradition, such support from not only the teachers and staff, but also the community."

Maggard was on hand for the Cougar Kick Off on Friday, with students getting back on campus to pick up schedules, get locker assignments and collect books for the coming year, with classes back in session starting Monday, Aug. 16.

"It was great to see parents helping in the various stations, parents here with their kids," he said. "It was just a welcoming environment."

Maggard said though this is his first principal post, he has been involved in the administrative side of education for the last several years and feels it will be a seamless transition from assistant principal to principal.

He comes to Escalon with a degree in sports science from UOP and originally worked in the athletic department at UC Berkeley and also with an athletic marketing group in San Francisco.

"I realized that that wasn't where my heart and passion was," he said of discovering he wanted to have more of an impact on students.

He left San Francisco and returned to Modesto, securing a position as a long-term substitute and coach at Beyer High. He pursued his teaching credential from there and later moved on to fulltime teaching, match and business, in Turlock and coached a variety of sports including football, basketball, track and assisted with golf. He also obtained his administrative credential.

Maggard is now part of a new, blended leadership team, with Ron Costa the new district superintendent, Johannsen the assistant superintendent, Maggard coming in as high school principal and Dave Lattig remaining in his post as assistant principal.

"I'm very excited to have a chance to work with Mr. Costa, pleased to know I'll get a chance to learn from him," Maggard said. "I'm also appreciative of the faith and trust the board had in me."

The new principal promises an 'open door policy' for students and staff to come in and discuss issues and concerns.

Maggard is married with four children, ranging in age from five years to seven months. He is eager to attend Cougar sporting events, drama productions, musical concerts, ag competitions and academic events.

"This is not about me, it's about the kids and being part of a team," he said of his approach to taking over the job. "It has been terrific already and I can tell we have an amazing staff, a very supportive team ... getting the call to be principal in a school, a community like this, it's a great feeling."