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New Principal Joins California Avenue School
Principal Kathy Briggs has transitioned into her new office and new position at California Avenue School very easily. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Riverbank Unified School District has a new principal on the job at California Avenue Elementary School, with Kathy Briggs making a move within the district to take on the job. District Superintendent Daryl Camp said Briggs was offered the opportunity for the principal position at California Avenue after she received administrative credentials.

With Principal Sean Richey’s departure from California Avenue Elementary the position for principal was vacant and an offer was made to Briggs, the former Teacher in Charge at Adelante Continuation High School.

Briggs has been with Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) for over 25 years and started her career as a Home Economics teacher for Riverbank High School (RHS).

After 10 years of teaching, Briggs went back to school and acquired a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in technology. After she received her degree she started teaching technology classes and completed the SIM Professional Developer program that is offered by the district.

As a professional developer, Briggs taught academic strategies at RHS and then was offered a position at Adelante Continuation High School (AHS) as the teacher in charge. At AHS, Briggs was also in charge of the independent study program.

“I did that for three years, I took care of the discipline and I would run the staff meetings,” said Briggs. “I did all of those things that involve running the school.”

Last year, Briggs stepped up and was in charge of the educational technology portion for the district, helping teachers integrate it into the classroom. Since she was the lead technology teacher for the district, Briggs spent a lot of time at California Avenue.

“I got the opportunity to come over here a lot and work with the teachers and the students on using chrome books as well as working at Adelante and doing all of that,” said Briggs.

Being familiar with the staff and the students made the transition very smooth for Briggs coming from AHS.

“I wanted to come to California Avenue; I wanted to be the principal here so I was thinking this must be a dream,” stated Briggs. “So I was pretty excited because I love the kids here and I love the staff.”

With two children and a background in child care development, Briggs feels that she will be able to provide a great service to the students at the elementary school.

In the next couple of weeks, Briggs plans on establishing lunch with the principal, typically hosted on an occasional basis as a reward for students working hard and achieving goals. Three students from each grade level will have the opportunity to have lunch with the principal and each will receive a treat out of a goodie bag.

“We are trying to do a lot of positive things with the kids to make sure that they feel welcomed in the school and so that they are excited about being here,” said Briggs. “My door is always open so the kids know as well as the teachers that they can always come in and see me.”

Briggs explained that she does not want the students to just see her as a disciplinarian, but someone they can talk to and feel comfortable with as their principal.

Another new positive spin on school that Briggs will bring to California Avenue is an emphasis on perfect attendance each month. The students will be recognized for their perfect attendance with a decorative tag that they can collect or wear on a necklace.

Briggs expressed that she has an open door policy and parents are welcomed to come by and talk with her as well as students and staff.

“The staff here is wonderful to me, they are fantastic,” said Briggs. “They are always trying to answer all my questions.”

The new school year has started off very well for Briggs and she has settled into the principal position without a hitch.