National

Dec 24, 2012 6:00 PM by Lauren Molenburg

Twins paired up as co-principals of California school

OAKLAND, California (AP) -- Students at a Northern California middle school are looking at double the trouble if they misbehave.

Two 36-year-old educators who are identical twins are sharing the job of principal at an Oakland's Claremont Middle School this year. And parents and staff say the novel arrangement involving Ronald and Reginald Richardson has been good for the public school and its 410 students, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/WJF80M ).

"There's a huge difference in the school culture," said Paul Kagiwada, father of a seventh-grader at Claremont, told the newspaper. "It's cleaner, nicer, quieter. There's an expectation of respect at all levels."

The Richardson brothers have followed the same academic and career paths all their lives. They were principals at neighboring elementary schools in Richmond before they were hired to work in Oakland last summer.

Before that, they both attended San Francisco State University on track and field scholarships, earned teaching credentials, and then master's degrees in education from UC Berkeley. Their grandmother also was a principal in Oakland and their mother taught school in the city.

"We both have this passion for leading," Reginald Richardson said. "Teaching was a natural fit for us. Fortunately, me and my brother had identical goals."

Although hardly anyone at school can tell them apart, the co-principals prefer leading by example over taking advantage of the situation to try to catch students telling fibs or breaking the rules.

"The students see us together, working well and respecting each other, and hopefully it sets a standard for the whole school," Ronald Richardson said.

Photo: Mike Kepka, The Chronicle / SF

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