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Laura Austin Photo / New Superintendent Donald Beene interacts with REALM students.

REALMS Charter School recently recruited new leadership

REALMS Charter School Elsa J. Hennings President, REALMS Governing Board– After a rigorous search for a new Superintendent at the local public charter school, Ridgecrest Elementary Academy for Language, Music, and Science (REALMS), including two days of interviews with the Personnel Committee and another round of interviews with the Governing Board, the REALMS Board announced the appointment of Donald Beene as the new Superintendent, effective May 20, 2024.  Beene had previously served as the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for REALMS since December 2022. 

With a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Language and a Master of Science in Educational Administration, along with experience teaching in both the Soviet Union and Japan, Beene started his teaching career in the United States with significant experience in foreign cultures and languages.  When REALMS (previously Ridgecrest Charter School) opened its doors for the first time in September 2001, Beene served as the school’s fourth-grade teacher, eventually transitioning to teach eighth, first, and second grades before being promoted to Director.  Beene went on to serve as a teacher and administrator in other schools within California. Still, he agreed to return to REALMS in 2022 when his strong instructional background was required due to the effect of distance learning brought on by the pandemic.

Nancy O’Sullivan

Nancy O’Sullivan was appointed to fill Beene’s vacant position as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, effective July 1, 2024.  O’Sullivan comes to Ridgecrest from Lone Pine, CA, where she most recently served as the high school principal and adjunct instructor at Cerro Coso Community College (Bishop campus). Still, she has served in a variety of teaching and administrative roles in California.  O’Sullivan has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Science in Education with a Physical Education emphasis, and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.  O’Sullivan brings a wealth of capabilities, including fiscal management, interpersonal skills, and a strong work ethic.  She also enjoys outreach opportunities within the community and volunteers her support to several non-profit organizations.

During the Superintendent search, Ernie Bell, the retired Superintendent of Sierra Sands Unified School District, has been serving as the Interim Superintendent at REALMS.

His leadership and support have been invaluable during this transition period.  “I’m amazed at the diverse program that REALMS offers, especially the elementary music program, and believe that the school will be in great hands with Beene and O’Sullivan.

“The people here are wonderful, and although it’s a free public school, it has a private school feel that made me feel very welcome,” stated Bell.  He has graciously agreed to continue supporting REALMS during the charter renewal process next year, ensuring a smooth transition and continuity in leadership.