Fresh and Familiar Faces for School District Principal Offices


    The Orinda Union School District (OUSD) welcomes three new principals, two of whom are familiar faces in the district.
    Megan Natal is the incoming principal at Glorietta Elementary, following the retirement of Tracey Lewis. Natal’s former position as the associate principal at Orinda Intermediate School (OIS) is being filled by Ashley Appel who has been with the district for 13 
    Eric Acosta-Verprauskus, from West Contra Costa Unified, takes the helm at Wagner Ranch Elementary.
    “So far, it’s been a great transition,” said OUSD Superintendent Aida Glimme of the staff changes.
    “I have the institutional knowledge and I know the community really well,” said Natal, emphasizing her longevity with the district.
    Natal began at Wagner Ranch in 2005 and taught fourth grade for many years before switching to kindergarten. She transferred to OIS, working the past two years as associate principal.
    She highlighted a positive approach to her skills in problem-solving and a goal to work collaboratively with district leadership, parents and staff to help support students.
    “I’ve always had student-centered learning as just a pinpoint for everything that I’ve done, whether it was [as] a teacher or now as an administrator,” said Natal. “I’m always focusing on the students and what is best for them.”
    Family is very much an interest for Natal, whose two daughters attended Wagner Ranch and will attend OIS this year. She resides in Martinez.
    “I loved my time at OIS and the team I worked with,” said Natal, expressing her excitement at the opportunity to return to her elementary school roots.
    Acosta-Verprauskus, with 10 years’ experience as a school administrator, taught in the classroom and won Teacher of the Year in his district.
    “In those 10 years of administration, I had a strong track record of building safe, positive and inclusive student culture and climate,” said Acosta-Verprauskus. “Making sure our students all feel at home and feel safe to be who they are, to express who they are at the school site.”
    The ability to recruit and retain high impact staff is a source of pride for Acosta-Verprauskus, who emphasized the importance of working in partnership with parents and making sure they feel comfortable accessing the school and guiding its vision and mission.
    “I have really enjoyed working to improve enrichment opportunities for students,” he said, ensuring multiple opportunities for art, music and gardening.
    “Improving and increasing the mental health services on [school sites] has always been really important to me,” the principal added. He is looking forward to supporting the recently implemented wellness centers at the Orinda schools.
    A resident of the May Valley Community in Richmond, Acosta-Verprauskus has three young children, two of whom will join him at Wagner Ranch. He enjoys being outdoors, camping, fishing, archery and is an avid reader.
    Appel’s tenure in Orinda includes classroom teaching and math coaching.
    “A strength I bring is understanding the community and knowing a lot of the families and the students,” said Appel. “As a math coach, I worked at all five school sites, which really familiarized myself with getting to know those students, so it’s really fun.”
    Appel enjoyed seeing students during her math coaching at OIS who she had previously taught in second or third grade.
    A resident of Oakland, Appel was a professional dancer prior to becoming a teacher. She teaches dance at a studio in San Jose in her free time and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
    Appel has two children, and, as a Bay Area native, feels fortunate to have a lot of family and friends nearby.
    Looking to the future, Appel expressed her excitement and emphasized an “amazing” support system including principals, teachers, parents and community members.
    “I’m just really grateful for the opportunity,” said Appel. “And I’m really looking forward to the school year and growing more and learning more from amazing people at the district level and at the school sites.”

Andrea Madison can be reached at

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