The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

Palm Avenue Middle names new principal, vice principal

 

Last updated 2/6/2022 at 7:45pm | View PDF



Zachary Ellis, formerly vice principal, has been names princiapl of Palm Avenue Middle School. Sandra Bailey was also promoted from dean of students to vice principal.

After Palm Avenue Middle School’s principal Oscar Luna was promoted to a district position, the school needed a new principal.

Ellis is originally from Orland, California where his family has owned a large ranch since the 1860s.

“We are family of farmers,” Ellis said. “A Sacramento newspaper did a story on our family ranch operation several years ago.”

Ellis was able to sit down for a discussion about his new position and the goals he will be setting for the remainder of the school year.

One of his goals is to see students embrace all cultures and he is happy when students are successful. He commented on how well last year’s joint graduation ceremony went and was pleased that everyone could work together smoothly.

While a transplant from Northern California, Ellis has become an integral part of the newest campus in the district. Originally a business economics major at California State University Bakersfield, he decided to get his teaching credential after meeting his wife and graduating in 2004. Ellis previously worked in the oilfields where making money became less important than being fulfilled and finding his passion.

“I ran into the Principal of James Forrest Elementary School Steffanie Pollard one day at the store, and we knew each other from class when she said she had a 5th-grade position open,” he said.

He taught TK, first grade and 5th grade and moved to the middle school where he realized he was able to fulfill his passion for not only teaching, but being able to interact with students and parents.

“I feel it is important to know each student’s name and I spend a lot of time doing that,” Ellis said. “I spend a lot of time outdoors with the kids establishing relationships with each student.”

Ellis emphasized how much he enjoys working out and spending time with his family in his spare time.

“I love being with my wife and kids and also being outdoors,” he added. His family is also involved in church activities.

The Tribune was also able to catch up with the newest Vice Principal Sandra Bailey.

Even though Bailey has been in her new position for two weeks, many know her as the Dean of Students at Palm Avenue.

Bailey graduated from West High School and taught physical education at Thomas Jefferson beginning in 2004.

“I felt so welcome in the district,” Bailey said. “At first, I was very nervous, but excited.”

Bailey worked hard as dean on leadership and making sure students knew they were able to move up at Palm Avenue.

“I would love to see more investing in student activities,” Bailey added. “I can’t wait until we can get back to normal with school activities.”

Bailey believes that student social growth is essential and said that students are very resilient.

“I found that the first day, students were shy; however, very shortly they were ready to communicate,” she said. “They are a very social group.”

She also complimented the teachers at Palm Avenue.

“We have a good team and we are all together,” she said.

Bailey is also a believer that in order for a student to do well academically, there has to be a focus on the whole person.

“At lunchtime, teachers are outside with the kids,” she said. “School is a safe place.”

 

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