Former principal of California Avenue Elementary, Sean Richey, accepted the position as the Riverbank High School (RHS) Principal starting with the 2014-15 school year. Dr. Daryl Camp, Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent, called Richey over the summer to offer him the position at RHS.
“I made a decision a long time ago that if my employer wants me to do something I am going to do my best,” said Richey. “I didn’t get back into the state (from vacation) until mid-July so the transition has been really quick.”
Richey originally started his career in Riverbank as an Assistant Principal for RHS in August 2006 after completing his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. For five years prior, Richey taught and held the Principal position during summer school for the Santa Clara School District.
Looking for employment in the Central Valley due to family in the area, Richey accepted the assistant principal position in 2006 after school had already been in session for two to three weeks. Richey spent two full years as the RHS Assistant Principal and then three years of his time was spent partially at RHS and partially at Adelante Continuation High School as the principal.
“I hit the ground running,” expressed Richey of his first stint with RHS. “So I did that for five years and dealt with everything, testing, curriculum, course planning, discipline, attendance, scheduling, all that stuff.”
Working at Adelante made him more aware of the importance of alternative education for students, Richey noted, since not all students nor their situations are the same.
“It was a tremendous learning opportunity. I grew a lot from it, Adelante is near and dear to my heart and I have a much better understanding now of how alternative education can benefit students because the comprehension of high school is designed to try to fit all the needs of all the students,” said Richey. “We all know that is one of those wonderful goals to have but it’s something we know is impossible to do.”
One of the benefits about RHS, Richey explained, is that the school is small enough with approximately 700 students where each teacher and adult practically knows each student.
“The whole school is pulling for you and you could involve yourself with so many more things,” said Richey. “There is a great benefit going to a small high school.
“Small schools can prepare as well as large ones and in some aspects they can give you better support; it just depends on what you are looking for.”
Richey grew up in Southern California and attended a small high school. He explained that he had a great education and all his teachers cared about him.
After spending five years plus in the high school realm, Richey transferred to Riverbank’s California Avenue Elementary School and took on the Principal position.
Since Richey had never worked elementary before, he was very nervous. A friend advised him to treat the kids as he would want his own kids to be treated by a principal.
“Elementary is special, elementary is so much fun,” stated Richey. “They (students) are excited to see anyone and they want to tell you everything they learned and they are excited that you care.”
Spending three years at California Avenue, Richey will start his ninth year in the district back at RHS. Still settling into the new office and into the new position, Richey has not had time to really absorb and reflect on the transition.
“The one thing that I anticipate this time being the same as before is that this staff is really, really, close and they are really accepting and they really work exceptionally hard and so I already have relationships with most of the staff,” said Richey. “There are a few people who have retired and moved on and others that have transferred and changed but for the most part I know just about all the staff and I know the community.”
Next year Richey will be reunited with the first group of elementary students he had his first year as the principal at California Avenue.
“I know the community and a lot of the families and the back stories so I am excited,” explained Richey. “I am excited because this is the end result, this is what you are working toward from that first day of kindergarten until this; this is the goal to walk across that stage.”
Richey plans to continue to try to improve and grow with changes like the Common Core Standards being implemented this year. He said he is up for the challenges that will be presented and is excited about returning to Riverbank High School.