Portola High School’s new principal is already a familiar face around campus — she’s vice principal Sara Sheridan.
It’s been only eight years since the 34-year-old Sheridan landed her first teaching assignment at Portola High School. She taught 10th-grade social studies and physical education.
And though she is no longer a PE teacher, there are still sports balls next to her desk. The 5-foot-10-inch former basketball player hands the balls to students and encourages them to play.
Her love of sport has already been passed on to her own children: 14-year-old Erin; Emily, 10; Mary, 8; and nearly 5-year-old Connor.
Erin, who will be a freshman at Portola High next year, likes her mother’s change of assignment. “She prefers mom to be principal because the vice principal does all of the discipline,” Sheridan said.
To illustrate the point, Sheridan points to the line of chairs outside of her office where students wait to meet with her.
While discipline is her primary duty as vice principal, Sheridan also assists the principal in whatever way she can.
She will be working closely with outgoing principal Kristy Warren for the next few weeks as the pair wrap up the school year and work on the master class schedule for next year.
This will be the first time that Sheridan won’t be on the class list. As vice-principal, which is a half-time position, Sheridan spent the other half of the day teaching.
“I will miss being in the classroom,” Sheridan said, but thinks that administration is a good fit for her. “I like the interaction with the parents, the students and the community,” she said.
She will also be dealing with budgets, maintenance and teacher evaluations — new areas for her.
“There are so many different facets to this job,” she said.
Warren thinks Sheridan will ease into the job smoothly. “I can think of no one better to take this,” she said.
Sheridan has had some firsthand experience already. During her first year as vice principal, she filled in for Warren when she went on maternity leave. “It was on-the-job training,” Sheridan said. “I plan to hit the ground running.”
While she is running Portola High School, her husband, Dan, takes care of other responsibilities.
“My husband is a stay-at-home dad, which makes this all possible,” she said.
There were 17 applicants for the Portola High School principal job. After a paper screening, six were interviewed.
Sheridan interviewed with two panels at the high school, completed a writing assessment and then interviewed at the district office.
Sheridan thinks that one of the areas that set her apart is her commitment to the area. “For the next 15 years, I will have a child in this high school,” she said. “I have a lot invested here — career and otherwise.”
Sheridan grew up in Calpine and attended Loyalton High School. She attended Chico State and earned her teaching credential at University of Nevada Reno. She completed her student teaching in Loyalton.
When it came time to start her career, she knew it had to be in the area. “I love the mountains,” she said. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else; it’s in my blood.”
She and her family live in Clio. Her first official day as principal will be July 1.
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