Highland Gets (Nearly) All New Admin Staff

By Nathalia Barraza

It’s not just the freshmen wandering the HHS campus wide-eyed and lost this fall. The new administration team, who joined the Bulldogs late in the summer, are finding their places. At the top of the hierarchy, Principal Chris Grado joins Highland for the 2017-2018 school year. His accompanying admin team include returning Ryan Branch, and first-time Bulldogs Matthew Berryman, Lisa Schmidt, Aaron Foley, and Heidi Morey. 

Some of the administration staff members opened space on their tight agendas to open to their fellow Highland students to address what they would like to achieve through this new school cycle, as well as sharing their persona.

Mr. Branch, VP Athletics administrator on his second year at Highland, is looking forward for another fun year with the Bulldogs. By being the only returning administration member for the year, he shares his thoughts over having new administration joining this year, “It’s great, with the new staff we can get new ideas”.

As Branch looks forward for this year he has sat goals to achieve this year for the athletic department, one of them is to improve Highland’s athletic teams, as he believes it will boost confidence on campus and it will benefit the school overall. Subsequently, to improve student and parent attendance in games is necessary, as he explains that, “ We have students doing some neat things, I want them to be seen”.

Even though sports are his area of work, he also wants Highland students to know that he wants them to be role models, “ Whether you are a student athlete or a student, I want them to be successful”; and if any of the Bulldogs need help, he is always open, “I graduated high school, played college baseball, I’ve been on their shoes before.”

The new administrative staff who are very glad to have joined the Bulldogs for a this new school year, and look forward to their time with Highland students.

The new principal, Mr. Grado, is extremely excited  to be a Bulldog, “ there’s lots of history and traditions here, I am happy to be here”. Mr. Grado was a principal at SOAR high school, which is a school more focused on academic achievements, and now at Highland, he says there are many colors on the spectrum, commenting, “It’s fun to be at a school, where there’s more activities, students and sports”.

Academically this year, he is looking forward for the new programs going on at Highland, and he would also like to improve technology used by students  and the number of students joining Advance Placement courses. The new principal shares about himself to Highland students, “I am a family man, I am married with two amazing boys; I value my students, I want them to graduate high school as brilliant critical thinkers ready to face the world”.

Besides work, Grado likes cycling, reading and coaching his sons’ baseball teams; He played college baseball with Branch–what a small world. About Branch, Grado, says, “back then we had a lot of fun time and we both had hair.”

A new VP Attendance administrator, Ms. Schmidt, also joined the Bulldogs this year. Ms. Schmidt, says of her new position at Highland, “Everybody is nice and polite, I feel welcome.”

Ms. Schmidt, is looking forward to excelling at Highland. “Just build a positive report with staff, a positive moral, more school spirit and pride,” and subsequently, as a new Bulldog , she wants her students know that her doors are open. “I am here for them, every single thing we do is for them, if they need any help, I here for them.”

Aside from her job, she has a new baby and likes to spend her time with her two kids; she also dances, loves shopping and hiking. As a former AVID teacher, she has set goals for her AVID students, “For my seniors, it would be awesome if they all get accepted to a four years college, and in general, I want them all to graduate and be prepared for college and a career, also to improve their organization skills.”

Additional new admin include Matthew Berryman, Assistant Principal, Aaron Foley, Activities VP, and Heidi Morey, who oversees Special Education.

Everybody is excited to start the year with the right foot, students, teachers and of course our administration staff, who have great ideas for the Bulldogs this year. Whether are sports, clubs, academic, or other activities, the new administration want students to achieve their goals for the school year and for them to become innovative and creative people, that contribute positive energy to the world.