By Nick Sestanovich
As always, there will be new faces at Liberty High School this year. Chief among them is the person in charge, Zachary Pless.
Pless is the new principal at Liberty High, taking the reins of JoAnn Severson who retired in June after 31 years with Benicia Unified School District. Pless received his master’s degree in educational leadership from UC Berkeley and has lived in Benicia with his family since 2003. However, during that time he has mostly been working in other districts. He was a history and theater teacher at Rodriguez High School in Fairfield, a coordinator for summer and after school programs at Berkeley Unified School District and a vice principal at Martinez Junior High School, where he has worked for the last three years. Now Pless will join Benicia Unified as the new administrator at Liberty, and he is excited to be able to work in the district.
Particularly, he is looking forward to being able to work at a continuation high school.“We have a lot of flexibility at a continuation high school,” he said. “It’s a small staff, small community, small classes. This is a school where every single kid is known by every single staff member. You can’t ever say that at any comprehensive high school of any significant size.”“There are students who often times have struggled in school in the past,” he added. “It really is an opportunity and an ability for us to turn things around.”