I’m Grateful for the Opportunity to Join the NACP Community as the New Principal
I was the principal at New Academy of Science and Arts (NASA), our sister school, for about a decade. In that time, I had the opportunity to visit NACP and get to know the campus and its programs a little bit. I was always impressed with the community here and all the wonderful things this campus had to offer. So, when the school board asked if I would be willing to become the next principal of NACP, I was so excited! Although it’s a different school, I’m grateful to continue to be a part of the NEW Academy Family.
I feel as though my experiences at NASA prepared me for my new role as principal at our school. Although the communities are quite different, the families are the same. I understand that what communities want is to know that I care about the educational success of our children. Like NASA, the NACP community is filled with hard-working and dedicated families who are struggling through these challenging times to make sure that their children receive the best education. It’s easy for me to resonate with this because it’s what every parent wants for their children. I was raised by foster parents who didn’t have much money, but always taught me that getting a good education would help me reach my goals.
Something else I learned from my experience at NASA that I’ll be bringing into my new role is the importance of communication. Because so many NASA parents spoke or understood very little English, it was important to me to be intentional in the way I communicated with them. I will continue to make sure that I am effectively communicating with our families here at NACP and I am so happy that our Parent Liaison Vanessa Garcia is such a tremendous support to me.
I think part of my success as an administrator is due to understanding the importance of being a good listener. Many challenges our schools face can be addressed by proactively listening to the concerns of everyone in our community. This means considering the experiences and opinions of students, parents, staff, and administration. Something I truly believe in is that, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” To me, this is a reminder that we can find solutions to problems through collectively working together and bringing everyone’s voice to the table.
A huge part of being a good listener when you’re an educator or administrator, is considering parents and families. I’ve come to believe that any successful educational program starts with strong, positive parent participation. Our children thrive when the home and the school are moving in unison towards our common goals. This partnership doesn’t always necessarily mean that all voices will agree. However, what it does mean is that we will work together to find common ground, even when it means respectfully agreeing to disagree.
In addition to my work in schools, I’m also a published author. My book, “A Principled Principal, 12 Life Lessons I Have Learned About Principled Leadership,” is a collection of personal stories that have informed my views around leadership. I share my journey of growing up in New York to becoming an educational leader at some of the premier charter schools on the west coast. My book allowed me to share my experiences and what I’ve learned over the years, but it also reminds me that leadership is something we can all keep working on and learning from.
In thinking about the future of NACP, my plan as principal is to build on the great work that was started prior to my arrival. I hope to establish a school community that is known for developing the best and brightest students in The Valley, while also being thought of when people speak of one of the most impactful organizations in the community. NACP is a place where families are strengthened and our community is stronger because we are here. I’m grateful to be a part of this community and I’m looking forward to working together to create a school that we can all be proud of!