Describe your career journey and how you found yourself at Rosa Park Elementary School?

Veronika: I started teaching in Southeast San Diego at Balboa Elementary after I graduated from SDSU. As a young teacher, I admired the support our Principal gave us which inspired me to become an administrator. My leadership journey comprised of being Vice Principal of Balboa and Logan Elementary schools and then Principal of The Language Academy, a unique school that offers Immersion education in Spanish and French. I found my voice as a Bilingual educator in this position and realized that students do not need to lose a language to learn a language. I was hooked! When Rosa Parks was looking for a Principal, my heart led me to serve.

It is clear that students and staff have a great rapport with you. What do you feel are the keys to this success?
V: Culture, language, connection and respect. I hold my families in high regard and have tremendous admiration for how they preserve their language and culture. It is critical to maintain connectedness with families – to know them is to understand how highly they value education for their children. This reminds me of how I was supported by my own family. 

What are you most proud of in your time at Rosa Parks and the City Heights Community? 

V: I am proud of how our families take ownership of their school. They volunteer countless hours and go above and beyond to ensure our students have cultural events that instill pride in where they came from. I am also happy to offer onsite interventions during the school day to struggling students, a component that was critical missing upon my arrival.

What has surprised you the most as principal at Rosa Parks?
V: The community-based approach to educating our children has been the most eye opening and also most rewarding aspect. I feel lucky to work here! Our staff team and parents work together to support all aspect of a student’s education – from their health, social emotional well-being, nutrition, and academics. It’s pretty amazing to be a part of!

What is the advice you would give children and youth in City Heights? Any encouraging words for our community families and parents during this challenging time?

V: Education is your ticket to success. I really do believe this. I am a first-generation college graduate and my advanced degrees and certifications have opened up pathways for me. They will for you as well. My education has allowed me to support my younger brother’s path. Never forget where you came from, be proud of your language, your culture, your family.