The new school year is underway and along with the new year comes new administration at Riverbank High School (RHS). This past summer Greg Diaz stepped in as the interim Principal at RHS and then was officially promoted to the position on Aug. 6, dropping the ‘interim’ label. Diaz has two new Vice Principals, Kellie Felix and Ed Vaca to assist him in settling in and getting a system in place for a successful school year. With the first rally with the new administration hosted recently in the Ray Fauria Gym, the campus was roaring with school spirit which has kicked off the school year in a very positive way.
“I am happy with the way we have started this year,” said Diaz. “I believe we are beginning to set the groundwork for a positive future here at RHS both academically and socially. The mentality is one of “we” and “us” instead of anything being focused too much on any one individual – at least that is our goal.”
“It’s a great culture at Riverbank Unified School District,” added Vaca. “Everybody is working towards having successful students.”
Diaz began his career in education as a teacher in Humboldt County at Fortuna High School in 2003 and his first year for the Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) was in 2013. He taught English for 13 years and spent one year as RUSD’s Instructional Technology Coach (TOSA). For the past two years he was the assistant principal at Cardozo Middle School (CMS) and has coached Junior Varsity and Varsity Baseball, Varsity Boys and Girls Golf, and Girls Softball at CMS.
“It wasn’t long after beginning in education that I began thinking about possibly going into administration,” stated Diaz. “Because of this, I made it a point to get involved in as many aspects of the educational system as I could. I was an athletic coach in all but one year I was a teacher. I also got involved in the union and CTA as a bargaining team member and eventually served as the Union Chapter President for two years. But even with this variety of experiences, taking over as a high school principal continues to be a steep learning curve.”
During his stint as the technology coach, he was able to develop relationships with the high school staff which he stated made the transition to the high school principal position a bit easier.
There are a few goals that Diaz has set like a focus on communication that includes teachers, staff, students, parents, community members and central office officials, be visible including around campus, in classrooms, and at school events, and increase school spirit to create and maintain a positive culture on campus.
Vaca spends part of his time at RHS as the vice principal and part of his time at Adelante High School as the principal. He has spent many years in education but before that he was in the ag industry and was a consultant for a leadership organization that focused on high school career technical education.
“The reason why I’m in education is because my teachers were my role models growing up,” said Vaca. “I went to college because they encouraged me. I want to do the same thing for other students. Working with students at the high school level is a lot of fun. You see them mature over four years from freshman to senior year. The best part is watching them have their moments and they realize that they can do more after graduating high school.”
Felix has had 22 years of experience in the education field where she started as a classified employee and worked as a confidential management employee in Human Resources at a school district. She obtained her teaching credential and began teaching adult education in the evenings and then transitioned into a full-time teacher in high school. She continued her education and got a master’s degree and administrative credentials.
“I have been extremely fortunate to have wonderful mentors and leaders that have assisted me in obtaining my personal and professional career goals,” said Felix. “I found early on in my career that I had the opportunity to support and guide students in their current learning and ultimately their college and career choices. I enjoy challenges and reap the benefits when students have accomplished a goal or they meet and overcome challenges we face while trying to reach our goals. My career choice was based on personal values, experiences, and skills I experienced as a student and young adult.”
Looking forward to building relationships with the students and staff at RHS, Felix wants students to want to be in school and she is excited to be part of the Bruin family.
“We have an outstanding staff that cares about our students and we are entrusted with developing outstanding citizens that will contribute to the community as graduates from Riverbank High School,” added Felix. “I’ve been so impressed with the overall spirit of students and staff members. It’s great to witness that feeling of pride for the school. I’m looking forward to learning the traditions that students, staff, parents and community have established here. The students and staff have been very welcoming towards me and I’m excited for this school year.”
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the students at both campuses that I’m currently supervising,” stated Vaca. “The teachers and staff are great people also and I’m excited about building those relationships.”
“I believe we are going to accomplish great things here at RHS,” expressed Diaz. “Our staff, students, and new administration are doing everything we can to make our school what we want it to be.”