Local educator ready to take over as new Buchanan principal

New Buchanan Principal Joe Aiello. (Photo courtesy of CUSD)

Going through the Clovis Unified system as a kid, Joe Aiello knew the “CUSD way of life” at a very young age.

Growing up making his way through Lincoln, Kastner, and Clovis West, Aiello was still trying to find his niche; the one thing that he wanted to do the rest of his life. Thanks to some impactful teachers who made a lasting impact on him that he still remembers to this day, he decided that education was the field for him.

“Ultimately I just realized the impacts that have had an impact on my life was from educators and I wanted to have that same kind of impact on other kids,” Aiello said.

After graduating from Fresno Pacific, Aiello received his first teaching job at Riverview Elementary teaching fourth grade. He would spend time in various positions in Clovis Unified and Madera Unified, serving as an English teacher, athletic director and even deputy principal at Clovis West.

He then moved his way up to the district office for his current position as the Director of Educational services. In that position, Aiello is in charge of overseeing the community day school, school safety at all school sites within the district including emergency plans, police services, and athletics.

He loved that position but he saw that the position to be principal at Buchanan High School was opening up following the retirement of Ricci Ulrich and he did not want to pass that up.

“Over the last year and a half I’ve missed being around and having relationships with students and seeing them reach their goals, and I’ve missed being part of a group where we’re all kind of working towards one goal,” Aiello said. “The position at Buchanan opened up and they’ve been very successful under Ricci Ulrich’s leadership and they’ve really made such great steps to being one of the top comprehensive high schools in the state of California. And the opportunity to come into a situation like that was very intriguing to me.”

Current principal Ulrich does not effectively retire until June 30th so Aiello does not officially become the new principal until July 1st. Until then he will finish his duties as the Director of Educational Services while planning with Ulrich and her staff for the next school year.

Some of the accomplishments and impact Aiello has already made in Clovis Unified include spearheading the new Clovis Athletic Hall of Fame and he’s also had an active role in the State Track Meet and State Swim and Diving Meet. Founding CUSD superintendent Dr. Floyd “Doc” Buchanan, was one of his close mentors during his time as an educator in Clovis Unified.

“I was lucky enough to have a friendship with the late Doc Buchanan and to be able to be the principal at his namesake is an honor that you can’t really put into words,” Aiello said. “The impact he had in Clovis Unified and in Fresno/Clovis just can’t be measured so to have the opportunity to be the principal at a school named after him, to me that’s truly special.”