The San Ramon Valley school board last week appointed Iron Horse Middle School principal Demetrius Ball as the new principal of California High School in San Ramon.
Ball, a U.S. Army veteran and former social studies teacher who has risen in the administrative ranks in recent years, succeeded Megan Keefer at Cal High effective on Friday, when the new academic year began.
"I'm truly blessed for the next step in my educational leadership journey as I join @calhighgrizzlies this fall as principal! Thank you to my @ihmsjaguars family for allowing me to serve you the last three years!" Ball tweeted Friday.
The San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education voted to hire Ball during a special closed-session meeting on Thursday.
The position came open after Keefer last month announced she was stepping down after three years at the helm to return to the classroom as a high school English teacher. The move also came while Cal High has been steeped in controversy over the administrative reaction at the school and district levels to a contentious and allegedly intentionally misleading social media post about the Grizzlies' cheer and stunt team's unofficial mannequin head mascot.
SRVUSD Superintendent John Malloy confirmed Ball's hiring in a statement to the Cal High community later Thursday.
"Mr. Ball is an accomplished leader and community builder. He is adept at building relationships that focus on creating a safe and welcoming school environment where all students can reach their full potential," Malloy said.
"I am confident you will be in excellent hands with him as your new principal," the superintendent added.
Ball has been principal of Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon since the start of the 2019-20 school year. He joined SRVUSD in 2017 as an assistant principal at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon.
His prior education career includes time as assistant head of school at Vincent Academy in Oakland and as a social studies teacher in Maryland and before that in Tracy.
Before entering education, Ball served in the Army and led deployments in Iraq and Kuwait as a captain of field artillery. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science in human and regional geography
He also holds a Master of Education in secondary education from University of Phoenix and earned his administration certification from Coppin State University. He is currently working toward a doctorate in instructional design and technology from Liberty University.
"He is thrilled about the coming school year and looks forward to working with Cal High’s amazing staff as well as parent/caregiver leaders to ensure that all students have a great school year. Mr. Ball is excited to become a Grizzly and honored to have been selected to lead such an amazing school and community," Malloy said.
Ball lives in San Ramon with his wife and four children, who attend Iron Horse Middle and Twin Creeks Elementary schools in the district.
Ball becomes the fourth principal at Cal High in the past eight years. Following the 15-year principal tenure of Mark Corti through June 2014, Cal High has been led by Sarah (Wondolowski) Cranford from July 2014 to September 2018, Chris George from September 2018 to June 2019 and Keefer from July 2019 to last month.
The district has not yet confirmed the timeline for hiring a new principal at Iron Horse.