This story is the first in a two-part series about our new Administrative Vice Principals.
Jessica Magallanes, one of our two new Administrative Vice Principals, is fully prepared to bring positivity and excitement to her first year at M-A. “I want students to feel safe and happy, but beyond that, to associate school with joy and fun,” she said.
As a high school student at local Santa Clara High School, Magallanes was a devoted journalist, had an astute interest in science, and was in the marching band. After graduating from UC San Diego with a Bachelor of Science and later from Stanford University with a Master of Education, Magallanes stayed close to her native Bay Area, spending eleven years working in the district as both a biology and environmental science teacher as well as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher at Sequoia High School. This year, she will oversee the science, visual performing arts, and AVID departments at M-A. “I’m looking forward to supporting students with what they’re passionate about, whether that’s musicals, sports, or art, and seeing students in their happy place,” Magallanes said.
As the first Latina AVP, Magallanes also highly values building safe spaces for communities of color. She is currently organizing a BIPOC staff community-building event and also works to contribute to our diverse community by talking to bilingual parent coordinators and attending meetings for the English Learner Advisory Council (ELAC), a council exclusively for M-A’s Spanish-speaking parents. Because of her background in science, Magallanes is also extremely passionate about encouraging BIPOC students to take advanced science courses. “I really want to make sure students can see themselves in the science classroom. If 60% of our students are students of color, then, theoretically, if I walk into an AP Physics class, it should look the same,” she said.
Magallanes also would like to start changing the reputation of the AVP office this year. She said, “We want the AVP office to be a place where you can come for support. Not necessarily because you’re ‘in trouble’, but just because it’s a safe space where you have resources and adults that care about you.”
Most of all, though, she is enthusiastic about learning students’ names and finding out more about the M-A community. “I’m trying to be very proactive about being out and about around campus. I’m really excited for all the events, including football games and our Summer Send-Off dance, and to just see students having fun and doing things they love,” she said.