Principal's Message » Principal's Message

Principal's Message

Hello Tiger families, students, and staff and welcome to the 2023-24 school year!

I hope everyone has had the opportunity to enjoy some much-deserved rest and relaxation over the summer. I have found as an educator over the last 30 years that nothing is more valuable to students and their families than having the ability to take time to unplug and recharge as well as travel whenever possible. The summer break is such a critical part of our students' social and emotional well-being as well as maturity and growth that all of us look forward to it eagerly knowing the benefits that it brings. I myself had the ability to spend three weeks in Italy with my wife and my older daughters, exploring Venice, Florence, Rome, and Sicily where my family originated from more than 100 years ago. The benefits of being able to have that time for myself and for my family are difficult to understate; suffice to say there were a lot of magic moments, a lot of great food, and an ability to experience another culture, which is so invaluable to me personally and as an educator.

Back here on campus, lots is happening even though summer school has ended and campus is quiet. Our Plant Foreman Ray Alarcon and his extremely capable team have had the opportunity to deep clean and beautify the campus to make sure that the high school is ready to receive students and staff on day one. I think our teaching staff will be pleased with how incredibly clean the campus and their rooms will be and I know our students will appreciate it as well.

This summer we have had some changes in personnel as staff have moved on to other positions of leadership or retired. One of our most notable changes is Assistant Principal Mr. David Santiago-Speck who is moving on to the La Canada school district to become principal at Palm Crest Elementary. We are sorry to see our friend go but so proud to see him advance in the career field that he loves so much. Our beloved Athletic Director Mr. Anthony Chan is headed back to his old high school in Temple City to become an Assistant Principal; a loss for us for sure but we are tremendously proud of him as he takes his next step as a leader in the educational field. And finally, longtime counselor Ms. Tracy Ishimaru has retired; her wise counsel was invaluable to myself and our counseling team but we all agree that after 38 years in education she has more than earned her endless summer. Replacing Mr. Speck is Mr. Chad Bryant, who will be moving over to the high school from the district office of Instructional Services; stepping into Ms. Ishimaru’s spot is a 13-year veteran of high school counseling by way of LAUSD Mr. Omar Jimenez; and finally, we are working on a replacement for Mr. Chan who will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.

Other new staff joining us this school year: with the retirement of our social worker Mrs. Natasha Prime, Mrs. Natasha Stebbins will come over to us from the middle school. Mr. Edgar Calderon will join our math department; Mr. Will Hoadley-Brill will join the LOTE department teaching Spanish after the departure of Ms. Ana Fraley; Mrs. Katherine Buck will join our physical education department after the departure of Mr. Ross Spaulding; and Ms. Mo Yang will teach Mandarin part-time at the high school as well as continue her assignment at the middle school. We are very fortunate as a high school to be able to bring aboard such very capable people to continue to provide our students with the very best educational experience.

Lastly, whether you are a new or a returning parent, I urge all of you to get involved on your campus. The SPHS Booster Club, Bingo, Music Boosters, and PTSA are all organizations that are critical to supporting the student experience at SPHS as well as an excellent way for you to be able to stay abreast of what happens here on campus. Please join me in becoming a member of these organizations to help provide students and staff with a level of support that can only be found here at South Pasadena High School. I look forward to seeing all of you at the many events that take place throughout our school year starting with the PTSA coffee in front of school on Monday, August 14. Thank you and once again welcome back!