Terra Linda High Grad Named New Tam High Principal

Dr. Julie Synyard, a Marin native and principal of St. Helena High School since 2009, will become the new leader of Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley.

Dr. Julie Synyard, the principal of St. Helena High School since 2009, will become the new principal of Tamalpais High School this summer.

A Marin native, she starts July 1 and will make $142,912 a year.

Superintendent Laurie Kimbrel said Synyard has “an amazing amount of positive energy” and is “a great builder of relationships.”

“She is a truly gifted leader who cares deeply about the growth of each and every student,” Kimbrel said.

Synyard replaces Tom Drescher, who announced in December. that he would resign in June, then left abruptly at the end of January, saying a "personal circumstance" caused him to leave the job before his planned exodus. He transferred to a district position as Principal on Special Assignment for the remainder of his time at TUHSD.

Bob Vieth, principal of San Marin High School in Novato, stepped in as the interim principal until the end of the school year.

Synyard said she’s looking forward to taking the reigns this summer. 

“I am extremely pleased to be joining the school community," she said, "and will cultivate an educational environment that promotes engaged learning, offers diverse opportunities for self-expression, and provides each and every student with the skills necessary to navigate the 21st century.”

A resident of Berkeley, Synyard grew up in Marin and attended Terra Linda High School in San Rafael. She earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in educational administration from St. Mary’s College of California, and a B.A. in history from the University of California, San Diego.

In addition to her previous role as principal at St. Helena, she’s served as a vice principal, athletic direct, student activities direction, and has taught English and social science.

Kimbrel said the district received 48 applications for the position, and interviewed eight initial candidates. From there the district narrowed it down to four, and then interiviewed two finalists before hiring Synyard.

“The administration worked closely with our staff, students, and community to determine criteria for our new leader, and we then conducted an extensive search in order to select the leader who would be the best fit for our needs at this time,” Kimbrel said. “We are pleased with our process and the outcome, and look forward to working with Synyard.”

Mill Valley School District board member Leslie Wachtel said she’s looking forward to meeting her.

“I think everyone is very excited, and anxious to get to know her,” Wachtel said.

And Synyard feels the same way.

"I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as the principal of Tamalpais High School,” she said. “I am excited to contribute to the ‘spirit’ of Tam, and I look forward to working with its incredible students, staff, parents, district administrators, and community members to continue championing academic excellence.”

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