After 14 years of service at Horizon Community Learning Center, John Tamburino is stepping down from his position as high school and middle school assistant principal.

He may be leaving his current post after this school year, but students will see him in the classroom and around campus next year.

“I knew it was time,” he said. “The last year or two, I’ve known and even though it has been a rewarding year, it’s time to move on.”

Tamburino said he made his decision last July and related it to the late co-founder of HCLC, Jan Gleeson.

“I want to spend more time with my family,” he said. “But we have great kids here and we have been preparing them to be leaders when they get to the next level. And I know that is exactly what they will be.”

Tamburino, who worked in restaurants and owned several back in his home state of New York, has 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry and will return next school year to teach two classes in the culinary arts.

He has taught cooking for four years at HCLC.

“I love watching the kids really get involved in the process of cooking,” he said.

Tamburino went to work with future HCLC co-founder Larry Pieratt at Kyrene Centennial Middle School before joining him after the school opened.

“Larry was a visionary,” Tamburino said. “As far as charter schools went, we were sort of pioneers. It was very exciting and very challenging at the same time.”

HCLC had 320 students when it first opened. Tamburino joined the school in 1997 as a secondary facilitator, for grades seventh through 12th.

“The biggest change I have seen in my years here has been the type of student at Horizon,” he said. “At first it was viewed as an alternative school but over the years, the curriculum has grown and maintained the high standard by which we stand by today.”

There is no doubt Tamburino has played a significant role in how HCLC has evolved. He may be leaving his current post, but will continue to serve the school through his other passion - cooking.

Current teacher Scott Gotham is set to replace Tamurino for the 2011-12 school year.

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