Get to know our principals: Jim Peterson, Cristin Tahara-Martin

e-Connections Post Luther Burbank Sutter

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 Jim Peterson and Cristin Tahara-Martin.

Jim Peterson, Interim Principal, Luther Burbank High School

Age: 45

Hometown: Pinole. Peterson is a fourth-generation native Californian.

Very first job: “Master control panel operator for a public access TV station operated by the city of Pinole. It was much less impressive than it sounds. I was 16.”

Education: Bachelor’s in Spanish, Sacramento State; master’s in Spanish, Sacramento State

Previously: Peterson began at Burbank as a substitute in 1994. “The students had gone through seven substitutes and it was only October. On my first Friday, I thought ‘This is it. I’m not coming back here.’ Then a student said ‘You’re not coming back, are you?’ I said ‘Why do you say that?’ And he said ‘Nobody ever comes back.’ And I said ‘I’ll be here.’ ” Peterson stayed the year, joined the full-time faculty and eventually rose to Assistant Principal. “I’m still working at my very first real job.”

What I like best about being principal: ”Building relationships with kids, their families and staff.”

People would be surprised to know that…: “I’m a clinical hypnotherapist.”


Cristin Tahara-Martin, Interim Principal, Sutter Middle School

Age: 37

Hometown: Sacramento. Tahara-Martin is all SCUSD: She attended Caroline Wenzel Elementary School, Sam Brannan Middle School and C.K. McClatchy High School, where her father, Harvey, taught PE and coached basketball.

Very first job: ”I worked at a Home Express store, which is like a Bed, Bath and Beyond. I pretty much folded towels all day. Every time someone looked at a towel, I had to fold it. I learned you have to do your very best no matter what the job is.”

Education: Tahara-Martin started college at the University of Arizona and then transferred to San Francisco State, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. Her master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is from Cal State Northridge.

Previously: She taught PE at Sam Brannan and served as Assistant Principal at Sutter.

What I like best about being principal: “I like that I’m in a position to have a positive impact on students every day.”

2015-16 focus: “Creating opportunities and access and support for every student so every student can excel.”

People would be surprised to know that…: “I was a college athlete.”