BY SARAH SOGHOMONIAN
FRESNO—The Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School is kicking off its 40th year with a new principal.
Nora Kassajikian will replace retiring Principal Zar Der Mugrdechian in July. Kassajikian comes to the Central Valley from Southern California where she was most recently teaching at a private elementary school in Hacienda Heights. Prior to her employment in Hacienda Heights, she taught at an international school in China and for San Diego Unified School District and Chula Vista Elementary School District.
“I hope to bring energy as well as the love of learning to our students, staff and parents,” Kassajikian says. “I want to make education interesting so that students can have fun and be engaged while learning.”
The CKACS Board of Education worked with a search committee to find a principal that would best lead the school and achieve its overall mission of academic excellence by providing a comprehensive standards based educational program while creating a healthy, moral and safe environment for students to thrive.
“There is no reason why the Armenian Community School cannot and should not be every parent’s first choice when it comes to quality private education in a Christian environment,” says Marshall Moushigian, Board of Education Chairman. “There is a renewed sense of energy at the school, with an improved pay scale for teachers and a new principal at the helm.”
The Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School is located in Clovis, California, adjacent to Fresno.
The Central Valley has a rich Armenian history. Armenians first came to Fresno in the 1880s. Following the Armenian Genocide more immigrated to the region. It is estimated that close to fifty thousand Armenians call the Central Valley home.
Kassajikian says she looks forward to engaging herself in the local community.
“We can accomplish all things together,” Kassajikian says. “Parents, churches and community groups need to play an active role towards the upbringing of our children. I want CKACS to play a vital role for our students. I would like to make education exciting and interesting for them so they can excel in middle school as well as high school.”
The Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School is working hard to re-establish connections with area churches and alumni.
“We have been laying the foundation for our school to not only grow and thrive, but to do so on such a scale that we are put in a position to fine-tune our Master Plan to locate and acquire new land and develop a new campus for future generations of Central Valley students,” Moushigian says.
The Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School is the only Armenian school in the Central Valley. CKACS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
“Armenian schools provide an appreciation for the Armenian culture as well as the language,” Kassajikian says. “I find that students who don’t have a strong sense of their culture and an understanding of where they came from often struggle with their day-to-day life.”
Registration is underway for grades Pre-K through Sixth. Classroom instruction is in English. Armenian language, arts and Christian education are part of the curriculum. CKACS offers small class sizes and afterschool programs.
Anyone interested in enrolling in grades Pre-K through Sixth can visit CKACS.org or call 559-323-1955 to learn more.