The savvy seven: Meet SCUSD’s newest principals

e-Connections Post
Click photo to see the full slideshowTuan DuongMary CoronadoDaniel McCordTenley LukeAl RogersVince WolfeJack Kraemer

SCUSD’s seven newest principals are a diverse group but share one important belief in common: That positive relationships with students, staff and parents are the foundation of an exceptional school.

Tuan Duong, Will C. Wood Middle School

Age: 45

Education: UC Davis, genetics

Previously: Assistant Principal, Will C. Wood

Favorite subject in middle school: “Science. I had a really good science teacher.” 

Favorite part of the school day as principal: “Being here at the beginning of the school day to greet the kids. And really all my one-on-one interactions with the kids.”

Of note: Duong was in a Ph.D. candidacy program for a doctorate in genetics when he was asked to teach a science lesson to a class of sixth graders. “I couldn’t stop talking about the kids,” said Duong. His wife suggested he switch plans and pursue education, and he has no regrets.

Mary Coronado, Fern Bacon Middle School

Age: “Old enough not to answer that!”

Education: California State University, Chico, liberal studies

Previously: Assistant Principal, Fern Bacon

Favorite subject in middle school: “English! I loved ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘Nancy Drew’ and ‘The Hardy Boys’.”

Favorite part of the school day as principal: “The morning time when you greet your teachers and you greet your students.”

Of note: The community where Coronado grew up in Tule Lake was built as a World War II internment camp for Japanese-Americans and later converted to duplexes. “As a child, I didn’t understand the history. I thought the fence was to keep people out,” she says.

Daniel McCord, Crocker/Riverside Elementary School 

Age: 46

Education: Brigham Young University, International Relations and French; McGeorge School of Law, J.D.

Previously: Teacher, French and student government, West Campus High School

Favorite subject in elementary school: “Reading and social studies. I loved Roald Dahl, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘The Great Brain’ series.”

Favorite part of the school day as principal: “Seeing the students and interacting with them.”

Of note: McCord practiced law for 15 years, specializing in estate planning, wills and trusts. Over the years, clients also asked for his help in interpreting laws governing education, which sparked his interest in the field.

Tenley Luke, Hollywood Park Elementary School

Age: 41

Education: Sacramento State University, liberal studies

Previously: Interim Principal, Hollywood Park

Favorite subject in elementary school: “Reading and writing. I was strong in language arts skills as a student although my strongest subject as a teacher was math!”

Favorite part of the school day as principal: “Mornings greeting the children. I stand in front of the school and I know every student by name. I know all their eccentricities and quirks.”

Of note: Her parents named her after Tenley Albright, an American Olympic ice skater who went on to become a Harvard-trained surgeon.

Al Rogers, Sam Brannan Middle School

Age: 46

Education: Sacramento State University, history and Spanish

Previously: Assistant Principal, Hiram Johnson High School

Favorite subject in middle school: “P.E. and lunch!”

Favorite part of the day as principal: “Nothing’s changed — lunch! That’s when kids get to be themselves and you see who their friends are and what interests their exploring.”

Of note: A product of SCUSD schools, Rogers says middle school was tough, in part because he didn’t hit his growth spurt until later. “Middle school was kind of blur,” he says. The experience helps him connect to his students.

Vince Wolfe, The Met Sacramento High School

Age: 36

Education: UC Davis, Nature and Culture

Previously: Interim principal at The Met

Favorite subject in high school: “I had a physics class that I really liked because of the teacher.”

Favorite part of the day as principal: “First thing in the morning when I see the kids coming into the building. When I stop liking that, I need to stop doing this.”

Of note: Wolfe broke his arm this summer practicing jiu-jitsu and now wears a green cast.

Jack Kraemer, Bowling Green Chacon Academy

Age: 50

Education: Sacramento State University, business

Previously: Teacher, Twin Rivers Unified School District

Favorite subject in elementary school: “Math and P.E. I have to throw math in there because I can’t have it be just P.E.!”

Favorite part of the day as principal: “Being out in the recess yard and watching students play and take a break from their long day of studying.”

Of note: Before teaching, Kraemer owned and operated his own computer technology business and intends to use that expertise at Bowling Green. “I want to make sure staff and students know what technology we have available and are using it properly to get maximum benefits.”