LAUSD welcomes new McGaugh Principal

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Dr. Issaic Gates, a former Los Alamitos Unified assistant principal has agreed to return to the system to become the principal of McGaugh Elementary School. Courtesy photo

With his family by his side, Dr. Issiac Gates told the Los Alamitos Unified School Board this week that he was “truly grateful” to be back in the district and looked forward to “doing good work for children.”

He was re-introduced to the community by Dr. Andrew Pulver, Superintendent, who said Gates went through a “robust” screening process with a number of “outstanding candidates” for the position.

“We hate to say good-bye to Ms. Ellis (former principal Roni Burns Ellis), said Pulver but “we couldn’t be more elated to bring Dr. Gates into this role.”

Gates has spent more than 20 years of his professional career “improving the lives of students,” the superintendent said.

He said administrators within the Los Al system had the “good fortune” of meeting Dr. Gates “when we selected him as Assistant Principal of Los Al High School” several years ago.

Gates left the system to become a principal of San Marino, said Pulver, but Los Al is excited to have him

During his first stint with the system, Pulver said Gates “did some amazing work,” and doing so, “set roots in relationships that left a legacy that people still kind of talk about.”

“I couldn’t be more thankful to be back standing before you today welcomed back to the Los Alamitos Unified School District,” said Gates. “Thank you for trusting me with such a large task, particularly with the uncertainties.” 

“I’m excited, I’m proud and I’m humbled,” he said.

“There will be an opportunity to do good work at McGaugh,” said Gates, “because of the strong leadership team at the district and at McGaugh.”

“None of this would have been possible without my family,” said Gates. He especially thanked wife, Dr. Rashida Gates, also a school administrator in a different system.

Gates joked with Pulver saying “never been spoken about with legacy but I’ll take it.”

“I look forward to continuing those relationships,” said Gates, noting the area has a “long memory.”

Two of his youngest children will attend McGaugh, he said. “They are excited too.”  Gates said he and his wife and their three children had moved into the Seal Beach community.

Saying he had moved around as an Air Force kid, he was “happy to be home and really, really grateful to have this opportunity.”

Pulver said the district will at some point set up a socially distant “meet and greet” for Gates soon.

On behalf of the board, I love to welcome you to McGaugh,” said board president Meg Cutuli. “I think it’s a wonderful fit, I think you will love the community and they will love you back.”

“Welcome home,” she said.

“It is wonderful having you back,” said Board member Maryls Davidson. “Thank you for coming back,” she said.

“You bring such joy into everything you do,” said board member, “we’re happy to have you home.”

Board member Karen Russell thanked Gates for his “positivity,” saying she had spoken to many former Los Al students who were when Gates worked there. “They had nothing but fabulous things to say about you. I wish you the best.

“I was so excited to hear you’re coming back, said board member Dave Boyer. You have a diverse group at McGaugh, said Boyer, “you have a special task but I’m so thankful you’ll be there to work with those kids.”