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Melissa Leal is married to her high school sweetheart and together they have two boys and a “wild 75-pound rottweiler puppy” named Shea. From left, Melissa Leal, Joe Leal, aged 7, Patrick Leal, aged 3, Josh Leal, and Shea Leal. Photo submitted

New incoming principal at C. Roy Carmichael

As of Jan. 2, Melissa Leal will be the new principal at C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School. Leal took a moment to answer a few questions before she steps up to her new position.

Leal has been a Portola resident for quite a long time, she said, “My dad was transferred to Portola with the railroad when I was 4 years old, and I lived here until I graduated from high school. At this point, I went away to college, started a career, choosing to then return to the area 10 years later.

“I love our community and our ‘all hands on deck’ approach to raising our kids. I wanted my own children to experience a Plumas County childhood, so my husband Josh and I chose to plant roots here. It’s been 10 years since my return and I’ve never looked back.”

Leal has been in the education field for 14 years, but entered into teaching thinking that she would “always be a teacher.”

Leal said, “About three years into my career, I realized that leadership was where I would eventually end up. I did want several years of teaching experience under my belt first, however.”

Leal has definitely been able to fulfill her goal of teaching. She has had experience teaching first and second grade at CRC from August 2010 to June 2014. Leal also took on the position of reading specialist at CRC during that time. “I also completed an administrative internship and was the substitute principal under Bruce Williams from 2012-2014. In 2014 I was hired as the districts’ elementary instructional coach, so I spent one day per week at CRC coaching teachers and providing professional development on California State Standards, or Common Core.”

Leal has also spent time most recently with Long Valley Charter School, overseeing programs related to curriculum, instruction and assessment. In addition, Leal added, she spends about 20 percent of her time as an instructional coach.

“In August 2016, I was promoted to Assistant Director, which expanded my oversight of people and programs,” she said.

When asked about her upcoming position at CRC, and her inspiration to take on the challenge, she said, “My mentor and friend, Bruce Williams, inspired me to take on this role. I’ve dreamt of being the principal at CRC for a few years now, but did not want to apply for the job until I had a little administrative experience. The time was right this fall, and I went for it. I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

As an educator, Leal’s passions are curriculum and instruction. “I love helping teachers problem-solve situations and create a plan to make positive instructional shifts,” Leal said. “Teachers are critical thinkers by nature, and there is so much joy in helping them plan and work through issues to help them achieve their very best, whether that is a lesson or an activity.”

As Leal prepares to enter this position, she is thinking about her future goals. “My goals coming in are to have excellent customer service, to build strong relationships with my staff and families, and to help support my teachers in serving our students.

“This year I plan to do a lot of listening, asking questions and learning. There is a lot that goes into leading a school and much of the learning comes from simply doing. Each day I will learn more and gain more experience. I’m grateful to have such an amazing leadership team and district office team to help me navigate the newness.”


One thought on “New incoming principal at C. Roy Carmichael

  • Get rid of Common Core! It is ruining our schools, hurting our children and making good teachers leave. I’ve heard Plumas County teachers say this quietly too, but if they say it out loud they can get into trouble. It’s all about the funding, not about the kids. Wake up parents!

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