Principal named Hayward educator of year

Ochoa Middle School principal Ariel Dolowich has been named educator of the year by the Hayward Chamber of Commerce.

Dolowich has been principal at the school since 2010. In that time, his school's API score has gone up by 86 points, to 784, making Ochoa the highest-scoring middle school in Hayward.

The principal has started a number of things to motivate students, including weekly prize raffles for students who exhibit positive behavior. Dolowich visits classrooms, and if he spots a student who is actively taking part in the lesson, he slips the person a "Doughnuts With Dolowich" slip of paper. The slip entitles the student to share doughnuts with the principal and talk about what is working, or not working, at the school.

"We make the students the center of everything we do," he said when the API scores were released.

Before taking over at Ochoa, Dolowich was vice principal at Hayward High School for two years.

The chamber also chose Pam Russo of St. Rose Hospital as businessperson of the year, Battalion Chief George Silva as firefighter of the year and Detective Ryan Cantrell as police officer of the year. The four will be honored Jan. 26 at the chamber's gala at Cal State East Bay.

New Haven Unified students, staff holding food and school-supply drives

Students and staff at Conley-Caraballo High are holding a holiday food drive, district spokesman Rick LaPlante said. Donations of nonperishable food items can be made to any room at the high school, at 541 Blanche St. in Hayward. The school will forward all donations to local food banks.

For more information, contact Joshua Straley at jstraley@nhusd.k12.ca.us.

Employees working at the school district's Centralized Enrollment Center are accepting donations of nonperishable food and school supplies -- including paper, pens, colored pencils, crayons, folders and backpacks -- and personal items, such as toiletries and laundry supplies.

Donations can be dropped off in the center's office, which is in the annex next to the Educational Services Center, at 34200 Alvarado-Niles Road in Union City.

For more information, contact Blanca Snyder at bsnyder@nhusd.k12.ca.us.

Newark school board welcomes new board member, two incumbents

The newly elected members of the Newark Unified School District board were sworn in Tuesday. Incumbents Jan Crocker and Ray Rodriguez and newcomer Gary Stadler were automatically elected because each ran unopposed.

Crocker and Stadler were sworn in by Newark Mayor Al Nagy, while Rodriguez was sworn in by Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle.

Stadler won the seat vacated by Janice Schaefer, who decided not to run for re-election after serving 18 years on the board.

Crocker now will serve as board president.

Homeroom is a weekly roundup of news from schools in greater Hayward and the Tri-City areas.