Position changes in Maintenance Department announced


Davis Marks/Chronicle

When Jim De Matté moves to his role overseeing the school’s River Park Campus full-time in January, current Upper School Plant Manger Dave Mintz ’87 will take over as Chief of Campus Operations and Construction.

Davis Marks and Will Sherwood

School administration appointed Chief of Campus Operations and Construction Jim De Matté to oversee the construction of the school’s River Park Campus full-time Monday. Upper School Plant Manager Dave Mintz ’87 will succeed De Matté in his previous position following their formal transition Jan. 1.

As Chief of Campus Operations, De Matté oversees many affairs on both campuses, including the maintenance, security, clerical, food service and theater technical staff departments. In his new role, De Matté will lead the construction of the River Park campus, as he did when the Middle School was renovated in the late 2000s.

In an email to Upper School faculty and staff Monday, President and Head of School Rick Commons announced the position changes.

Commons said De Matté’s promotion was a part of the plan for River Park to ensure each campus would receive enough attention and care.

“This transition is part of the long-term strategy for ensuring that we have the requisite time and expertise focused on both construction at River Park and campus operations at the Middle and Upper School campuses,” Commons said. “Three campuses, with one of them fully under construction, is too much ground to cover for one person, so it makes sense to divide the responsibilities between Mr. De Matté and Mr. Mintz.”

In his current role as Upper School Plant Manager, Mintz oversees the Upper School maintenance department as well as all operations on the Upper School campus, including events, performances, special student activities and athletic events. As Head of Campus Operations, Mintz will assume De Matté’s previous responsibilities and work with the administration to search for a new Upper School Plant Manager.

Performing Arts Technical Director and Performing Arts Teacher Aaron Martin, who works with Mintz, said he believes Mintz will be able to lead Campus Operations well because of his dedication and past experience.

“I’m so happy for Dave and this big promotion,” Martin said. “There are a few people who have really given their heart and soul to Harvard-Westlake and Dave is truly one of them. Without Dave Mintz Harvard-Westlake’s Upper School could not be the glowing source of pride that it is today.”

Despite facing some community opposition, the school is working to gain approval from the Los Angeles City Council to begin construction on the Weddington Golf and Tennis site. Following approval, the school would be allowed to move ahead with construction, headed by De Matté.

Tanya Anand ’24, a player for the school’s girls tennis team, reacted positively to the school beginning to move forward on construction on River Park by promoting De Matté.

“The new advancement in the construction of River Park is such good news!” Anand said. “As a tennis player, I spend a lot of time on the courts of Weddington and they do need to be redone/repainted. River Park will benefit the tennis teams by improve the courts, as well as helping improve our practices and who knows, this might even lead to more victories and titles! Knowing that River Park will start construction in the near future is great information for the future of Harvard-Westlake teams and the Studio City community.”

Like her tennis teammate Anand, Clementine Harris ’24 believes that the school pushing forward with its construction phase is exciting, but is concerned about certain aspects of the plans.

“As a tennis player, I feel really excited that we are getting this facility,” Harris said. “However, they are reducing the amount of courts at Weddington, which will make our practices and matches longer, along with the general public getting court time. This development, I’m sure, will have phenomenal results, but I’m currently on the fence about what’s being added and taken away.”