I am so excited and honored to be the new school principal at Brisbane Elementary! As many of you know, I attended BES from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade, and I could not be more humbled to be back at my childhood alma mater. I have truly come full circle.
I was lucky enough to have participated in the Highly Effective Teaching (HET) model as a student and teacher. HET taught me all about Lifeskills and Lifelong Guidelines such as: caring, responsibility, initiative, trustworthiness, and more. Due to my personal experience in HET, I am a firm believer in the power of hands-on learning experiences.
Looking back on my time at BES, I have fond memories as a student. BES instilled in me the drive to always do my personal best. For instance, I can remember the sense of joy I felt while persevering through complex and difficult math problems or when completing a large project-based learning unit. Read-alouds that took place in class were always something I eagerly awaited. I remember reading the story, “Little Bear,” by Else Holmelund Minarik, as it was the first time I can remember connecting with a story as a reader. Also, I often reminisce on all of the engaging and real-world learning opportunities like going to Hidden Villa Farm in kindergarten, dissecting owl pellets, and playing and reviewing new video games and then being featured in the magazine, MacAddict.
What stands out to me most is the warm and welcoming community that embraced each and every student. We often would have the opportunity to meet with the Brisbane Police and Fire Departments, as well as, would get tours of City Hall to learn all about how our town works on a daily basis. Additionally, many students, including myself, were involved in the Brisbane Dance Workshop. I can remember how much courage it took to perform our pieces in front of large audiences, and the sense of pride and excitement you would feel when on stage. As a student at BES, we went on many hikes on San Bruno Mountain where we learned about all of the native plants and history of Brisbane which helped to peak my curiosity in nature.
All of these moments helped to provide me with authentic learning opportunities that challenged me to develop my problem-solving and critical thinking skills. As the new school principal, I am really looking forward to supporting our staff with providing our students the same wonderful opportunities that I had. I hope to collaborate with the Brisbane Elementary community to help our students be happy, engaged, respectful, and motivated learners!
I want to thank Andrea Katotakis, my predecessor, for all of her hard work and dedication to Brisbane Elementary. Her drive and passion for education was evident in her work as principal. Ms. Katotakis’ husband works for the Raiders Football Organization, and they have moved to the Las Vegas area in anticipation of the team’s relocation. She will be greatly missed at Brisbane Elementary and we wish her well in her new life in Las Vegas!