by Cheryl Senn
When Sanger High School (SHS) students returned for the 2012-13 school year, a new administrator, Johnny Gonzalez, was there to greet them during registrations and first day of school activities.
“I love it. I honestly love it. No two days are exactly the same,” said new Assistant Principal Gonzalez.
Gonzalez completes the administrative team of Assistant Principals Lynette Campos and Pete Munoz, Deputy Principal Leo Castillo and Principal Dan Chacon. Gonzalez filled a vacancy which was created when previous Assistant Principal Mike Hernandez retired. This is his first administrative job with Sanger Unified, but he is not new to the district or the community.
Born in Arizona, Gonzalez moved to Sanger when he was only a year old. He attended elementary school at Lincoln Elementary and junior high at Washington Middle School, which would later have its name changed to Washington Academic Middle School (WAMS). He attended Sanger High until the end of his sophomore year and finished high school and graduated, in 2001, from Selma High.
Gonzalez said by being enrolled in the Teaching Fellows Program at Fresno State, he was able to work in schools while going to college. He worked at Edison and Washington Union High Schools before coming to Madison Elementary here in Sanger as an After School Coordinator. “I did my student teaching at WAMS. Did my final student teaching here at Sanger High, in English,” continued Gonzalez. “I have been here at Sanger High for the past five years as an English teacher.”
He also coached basketball as a Junior Varsity and Varsity Assistant for both the boys and girls programs which he stated was fun. Unfortunately, in his new role as Assistant Principal he won’t have time for coaching sports this year; however Gonzalez said he still will be coaching, “I will be coaching teachers.”
Not only does he work in Sanger, but Gonzalez also lives in Sanger with his wife of two years, Christina. They both volunteer their time for the March of Dimes, Relay for Life and are big supporters of the SPCA. “I’m a huge animal lover. I love my dogs.”
Gonzalez’s job duties will include security on campus/student safety. “I’m in charge of that and making sure they (the students) are in a safe situation, out of harms way.” Gonzalez is also in charge of the Fine Arts, Visual Arts and Performing Arts on campus along with the Industrial Tech department, and will also be working with the Valley Regional Occupational Program (VROP).
Meeting and interacting with students is important to Gonzalez. “Being out there, during supervision, you get to meet and interact with 3,000 students instead of the 150 that ran through my doors (as a teacher). You meet new kids everywhere. I get to meet them going through a book line, a lunch line. I get to meet them all.”
Gonzalez said he knows there will be challenges in his new role at SHS, but he has always been a hard worker and that is what will help him be successful. “My stepfather, Cipriano Escalera, he always taught me, you know, you have a job, go at it 100 percent…I’ve never done anything at half pace.”
He believes the most challenging part of his new job will be as an instructional coach for the teachers in the departments he oversees and he thinks trust is going to be the key part in his new relationship with the teachers. Gonzalez stated that he is comfortable with the people and now has to get comfortable with the subject content. “I’ve met with all the departments and all the teachers and let them know I’ll be working with them, closely, and they are awesome. I’m excited.”
Gonzalez would like the SHS students to know that he is genuine, honest and very approachable. “I’m never going to be the person, that is, you know, that is going to tell a lie, basically.” Gonzalez went on to state that when he was in his classroom he would be at his door when the bell rang and greet his students asking them about their day, and that he’s able to relate to their interests. “Pretty much, what these kids like, I probably know what it is,” said Gonzalez, in reference to video games, because he plays video games too.
Gonzalez would like SHS parents to know he is approachable too. “There is never a conversation that’s off limits. You want to talk about it. Let’s talk about it. My door is always open. My phone’s always on.”
He believes his new role with parents and students is similar to when he was an English teacher, but now the picture is even bigger, and he looks forward to collaborating with parents in a whole new way. “My work, now, and then, has always been to dedicate myself to preparing students for the future.”
Watch KRL for more Sanger articles from Cheryl.