The middle school principal sees the potential in every student

Shanna Sarris Courtesy Sam Lenkov

Shanna Sarris learned during her 22 year educational career that participating in sports and other extracurricular activities leads to classroom success.

Sarris started a ROTC program while serving as assistant principal at the Royal High School in Simi Valley and coached a girls’ soccer team to six Los Angeles city championships at El Camino Real High School in the San Fernando Valley.

Sarris, 44, now brings her experience as the new headmistress to the Monte Vista Middle School in Camarillo.

Monte Vista students participate in athletics, band, cheerleading, and other after-school activities. Sarris said she would encourage students to discover their passion.

“I’m always happy when children take part in activities outside of the classroom. I think that’s important to the culture of a school community, ”she said. “If they are interested in sports or music, the only option they have is to find a home at a school and see themselves as part of it.”

Prior to being hired by the Pleasant Valley School District, Sarris was the director of Apollo High School at Simi Valley Unified, a continuation school for students who lagged behind on graduation credits.

Sarris said working with children faced with academic or family challenges is one of the most rewarding aspects of their careers.

“Ever since I started teaching, it has been a natural attraction to connect with children who are struggling in school and just to be someone who can be trusted to give them positive feedback when things are going well and To have an ear for them to talk to, ”the headmaster said.

Sarris will bring the same passion for helping youngsters at risk into her new job, which works with students from diverse backgrounds.

“I really see potential in every student and I think as an educator my passion is making sure that every student knows that they are capable of anything and can achieve anything they want,” she said. “I enjoy working with them to make them the best version of themselves and to help them become successful people in our society.”

She grew up in the San Fernando Valley, where she lives in kindergarten and 10th grade with her husband and two children. When she’s not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and family movie nights every Friday.

Sarris graduated from Cal State Northridge, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in educational leadership.

She was the assistant principal of a middle school, but this is the first time she has been a middle school principal.

Making the leap to middle school can be challenging for many students.

“It is a time when they sometimes lose interest in school. I think it’s a great time and a challenge to keep them occupied and excited and keep learning, ”she said.

Although middle school students are too young to be in the ROTC, military service is something that for many students, according to Sarris, is well worth a visit.

“Many children have no idea what they want to do in life. I have had a lot of kids who have told me they want to join the military, so this is a great way to see if this is really something you want to do, ”she said.

Sarris said she applied for the position after hearing great things about the school and the district, and was glad to hear she was hired.

“I was so excited. I was really excited. I’ve just heard so many great things about the school and I was super excited and ready to jump right in,” she said. “I’m really excited to get to know the school’s community and families and look forward to working with you. ”

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