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High School Principal Enjoys Team-Building And Leading Faculty Members

Cynthia Rapaido, High School Principal at South San Francisco High School, is in her second year as a principal. Rapaido is also an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. As the principal of SSFHS, Rapaido works closely with her faculty and staff to continuously improve in the profession as educators by sharing best teaching practices through professional learning teams as well as by observing teachers and students in classes. She also strives to promote and build a positive school environment.

(Photo Courtesy of Cynthia Rapaido)

Rapaido holds a Doctorate of Education in international and multicultural education from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Arts degree in educational administration from the University of San Francisco.

What are the scope and responsibilities of your current role?

"I guide curriculum and instruction, oversee the school site budget, support, evaluate, coach and mentor certificated and classified staff, foster relationships with faculty, staff, parents, students and community members. I also oversee school safety, grounds and facilities including measure J Bond and construction of new buildings and grounds and promote a positive school climate."

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

"I enjoy team-building as well as leading others to build capacity. I enjoy connecting with faculty, staff, students, parents and providing leadership and guidance to all of them."

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

"I definitely feel that my education has prepared me for my current role. My master's in education administration and the Tier I Administrative Credential Program helped me prepare to be an assistant principal. Tier II prepared me to continue to get better in my assistant principalship position. My doctorate in international and multicultural education prepared me to be multi-culturally sensitive, competent and aware, so that I am able to effectively work with and lead others."

Do you have any advice for people who desire to pursue a similar career?

"Based on my recent research, the following are my top 10 (not in any sequential order of priority):

  1. Know your leadership style, core values, vision and goals.
  2. Build relationships.
  3. Understand school finance and budget.
  4. Study and read important documents; revise and update too (WASC, handbooks, contracts etc.).
  5. Understand and develop curriculum and instruction.
  6. Have a positive attitude.
  7. Promote a positive school climate.
  8. Know your campus and keep it safe.
  9. Have professional development for self and others.
  10. Take care of self - It's a demanding profession."

Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of and Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of cities, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on

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