has a new principal after Natalie Sheridan left over the summer. Now, Ryan Haven, a veteran teacher with a background in bilingual instruction, is taking over the role and looking to continue the legacy that Sheridan left. San Bruno Patch sat down with Haven for a quick Q&A before the new school year starts.
San Bruno Patch: Can you give me a little background about yourself?
Ryan Haven: I am originally from Maryland. I grew up there and went to high school there. Then I went to college at Cornell University. Once I graduated from there, I moved out west with some college friends and I spent a few years working with Catholic Charities helping immigrants become citizens. I taught citizenship classes and helped them fill out their immigration forms. Then I worked a couple of years for my church helping people get strong spiritual foundation.
I’ve been teaching for the last nine years. My first three years, I was a bilingual Spanish teacher in the Hayward Unified School District. In the last six years, I’ve been taking on progressively more leadership roles in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District at Nesbit Elementary, where I served as a teacher in charge and a district summer school principal. I just felt ready for a new challenge.
I’m thrilled to be a part of this community because it seems like just an incredible community and an incredible school here at Crestmoor.
Patch: What would say are your biggest goals for the school this year?
Haven: I would like to continue the legacy of academic excellence that Crestmoor has established over the past couple of decades, and I’d like to get to know and really engage the community and embrace the culture and traditions that have become a strong part of the school—and just get to know all the families.
Also, I think coming from a place of strength, even going to a greater strength. What I mean by that is focusing on good instructional practices, focusing on high standards and supporting teachers and the excellent work they’ve been doing.
Patch: What’s interesting when you’re talking about your background is that you have lot of experience working with students learning English as a second language. And even though test scores at Crestmoor are very high, there is still an issue with English learners. Do you have any plans with that?
Haven: Absolutely. This is a wide spread phenomenon that, typically, English language learners represent a subgroup that underperforms. Therefore, you have to use differentiated instruction in the classroom because not one size fits all.
So part of it is sharing best practices through professional development. Hopefully I can serve as the instructional leader. But there are other staff who can share what they’re learning and what their best practices are. Another thing is you can figure out through assessments what skills English language learners are not that strong in, and you can have interventions during school or after school. That way you can focus on the exact skills they’re not mastering yet.
It’s not about teaching to the test but about raising their overall academic capacity. So I’m definitely excited to bring my experience here and I’m excited to see that subgroup grow because we all know that it doesn’t matter what is a child’s background. I believe that (English language) students are just as capable and can achieve at the highest level as well.