Tonia Coleman is the interim Berkeley High School principal for the fall semester. She previously served as a vice principal under Juan Raygoza who is on paternity leave until January.
Coleman has worked with Raygoza since she got hired six years ago.
“I learned from him every day,” said Coleman. “His decisions are student centered and he is a model for the vice principals, counselors, and teachers. He does a fabulous job.”
These years of experience have set her up for success for the job, according to Coleman.
“I believe that being a vice principal at Berkeley High for six years put me in the best position possible to be interim principal.” She continued by explaining that the vice principal position involves active participation in meetings and brainstorming. However, as principal, she is included in all the decisions but isn’t the “point person” as she was as vice principal.
When Coleman explained her feelings about starting the job, she said, “I was nervous … I was thinking about getting ready for the school year and getting up in front of the entire staff to do my welcome speech. It went very well and teachers are excited to be back, and I’m really enjoying the work.”
She expressed gratitude for her fellow staff as well.
“I have an amazing administrative team, our vice principals, deans, our support staff, our counselors, and psychologists,” said Coleman.
According to Coleman, this year has been going “extremely well.” New updates include the wellness center opening and a successful welcome assembly. She also noted the significant turnout at sports games, full of positive energy and cheering.
Demonstrations like these inspire administration to continue to host and encourage other school spirit events, including upcoming Unity Week.
“In the past, when we talked about Unity Week, we were not on board,” said Coleman. “But the positive nature (of) students showing up and being engaged. but not out of control, allows teachers to be excited about Unity Week.”
As for other school events, Coleman said, “We are working on a senior surprise,” but declined the request to release further details.
During Coleman’s term so far, she has implemented postive changes such as various students reading out the positive Friday shoutouts over the loudspeaker. She wants to continue to welcome new voices on the announcements .
“I would love for other students to come on and read the shout outs with me and promote their club or whatever’s going on,” Coleman said.
She ended by talking about what she sees her goals are for the term.
“That’s all that we want, for our kids is to be in class learning, enjoying being on campus, and looking forward to school events. It does not get better than that.” Coleman said.