Get to know our principals: David Van Natten, Stephanie Shaughnessy

e-Connections Post John F. Kennedy John Morse Therapeutic Center

Editor’s note: Great schools begin with great people, and Sacramento City Unified has no shortage of talented educators leading our campuses. The eConnection will be profiling principals new to their campuses this year to help our community get to know our administrative team. Today we chat with David Van Natten and Stephanie Shaughnessy.

David Van Natten, Principal, John F. Kennedy High School

Age: 39

Hometown: San Diego

Very first job: ”I had a cousin who had a mow-and-blow gardening service. I used to work with him in the summers when I was about 13 or 14. I was the mower — if I was lucky. I was usually the guy that picked up the debris. I learned the potential value of a college education.”

Education: California State University, Chico, Bachelor’s Degree, English; Sacramento State, Master’s, Educational Leadership

Previously: Van Natten taught English at Burbank High School before becoming Kennedy’s Assistant Principal. Prior to Burbank, he taught writing at Chico State.

What I like best about being principal: ”I am super happy to be in a position where I can work with the school’s stakeholders … teachers, support staff, students, community members … to shape a vision to be used to move the school forward. Exciting stuff!”

People would be surprised to know that…: ”I’m a total car nut. Old, new…I’ve owned 30 or so in my lifetime. Originally, I wanted to be an auto mechanic.”

Focus for the 2015-16 school year: “We have excellent programs. Yet there’s still work to be done to make sure that everything is equally excellent.”


Stephanie Shaughnessy, Principal, John Morse Therapeutic Center

Age: 56

Hometown: Sacramento. Her mother was an SCUSD teacher and principal and Shaughnessy is a graduate of C.K. McClatchy High School.

Very first job: ”Delivering flowers. There was a florist right across the street from McClatchy. I loved bringing joy to people’s lives.”

Education: California State University, Chico, Bachelor’s Degree, Political Science; Master’s, Sacramento State

Previously: A former Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 teacher, Shaughnessy served as the district GATE Coordinator before her appointment to John Morse.

What I like best about being principal: ”I love working with kids. It’s a natural thing for me.”

People would be surprised to know that…: “I rode a motorcycle from Sacramento to Brazil. And I got married in a hot air balloon.”

Focus for the 2015-16 school year: ”I would say our No. 1 priority is to continue to focus on how we can help kids be successful in the world and not just in school. Our goal is to help them be happy.”