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The New Sheriffs In Town: Meet Bassett High’s New Assistant Principals

Justin Castro, Journalist

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Bassett High School welcomes new Assistant Principals Ms. McDonald and Ms. Pantoja into the 2017-2018 school year as they help make the

school a better learning environment.

Our new assistant principals, Mrs. McDonald and Ms. Pantoja, have left behind their elementary school roots and have ventured to the land of Bassett High School to take on a role as the school’s new assistant principals. Everything you know comes from kindergarten, which Mrs. McDonald, a 20-year Bassett Unified School District veteran, is no stranger to, with her work spanning from teaching little kindergartners up to older sixth graders. “I’ve worked with every age except with you big kids, so when I heard [that] a vice principal spot was opening I jumped at the opportunity.”  “When I heard a vice principal spot was opening I jumped at the opportunity.” – Mrs. Mcdonald.

Outside her life as a school administrator, she has also had a fruitful history in the entertainment business. Mrs. McDonald is a former comedian and is currently part of a traveling improv team. During her time in high school, Mrs. McDonald was a varsity softball player, and a part of both the prom committee and student government as treasurer and secretary, respectively. When McDonald came to Bassett, instead of feeling like an outcast due to being a brand new face, she ended up feeling very nostalgic as she saw students she has not seen since elementary school saying: “What has surprised me the most since coming here is the amount of faces I recognize. I’ve been teaching for 19 years and I still recognize my previous students I’ve had. Obviously, they look older but I still recognize them.” Her biggest inspiration is her mother. “Whether I was right or wrong she was always on my side for support. Even now I have in the back of my mind that she is looking down proud of what I’m doing.” Regarding what she wants to bring to Bassett, Mrs. McDonald is determined to encourage everyone at Bassett, including the Latino, Asian, and LGBT communities to come together and come to school without fear of discrimination or not fitting in. “When I first came to Bassett, I was quite impressed…- Ms. Pantoja

Ms. Pantoja, who is the other half of the assistant principal, was also the former principal of Sunkist Elementary before coming to Bassett High School. Her main focus for this year is to give the Bassett students the best education in the San Gabriel Valley to better our chances for future success, and to the new assistant principal, it looks as though we have the resources to do so. Pantoja is very impressed with the amount of opportunities Bassett High School saying: “When I first came to Bassett, I was quite impressed with the amount of opportunities you have here from sports, to clubs and number of ways to get tutoring.” Outside of Bassett, Ms. Pantoja is a mother of three daughters. Juggling between being a parent to her daughters and an assistant principal for Bassett, she still finds the time to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With little experience dealing with high school students, our new vice principals were open to any advice they could get. Luckily for them, Bassett High’s former vice principals, Ms. Lentz and Mr. Tveit, were there to help. They were both given the same advice. “They told both of us to just breathe, get to know the students, and just remember that every day will be different. There will never be a day that’s the same as the other. And the most important advice they gave us was to breathe.” Our two new vice principals guarantee that the 2017- 2018 school year will go down as one of the best in Bassett history.

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The student news site of Bassett High School
The New Sheriffs In Town: Meet Bassett High’s New Assistant Principals