Who is Our New Interim Principal – Mr. Castillo Explored

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Mt. SAC ECA’s Interim Principal’s mask reveal

Story by Abrar Mohamed and Adela Angulo

The new Interim Principal here at Mt SAC ECA, Albert Castillo, can be seen as a visionary in the world of education.

 

When Mr. Castillo first introduced himself to the members of Mt. SAC ECA, he already seemed to have an idea of what it was like. “Two things that I can see is the enthusiasm of the staff and the enthusiasm of the students.” He said it, “speaks a lot to the culture.”

 

He won’t be here for long but while he’s here his goal is to “build relationships with students and staff.”

 

“It’s important to me who the students are and what they like.” Castillo says, “I think connections are important.” 

 

Though his time here is short he wants to make sure he’s “being visible as much as I can, as much as the places I can get involved and help and support.”

 

Although he talks about getting more involved with the MECA community, it doesn’t mean he wants change here. “That’s not my role,” he explains. “As a high school principal in all the schools I went to, I always made tremendous impact and changes … I have a reputation for that.” 

 

The impacts and changes he spoke about are the many innovation projects he has created in education, projects like things not unlike this school.

OMG, I think I’d love to go back to being a principal. I love being a principal”

— Albert Castillo

“I think a lot of my work that I had done was to create small schools on large campuses, so this is kind of ideal, it’s like what I had always envisioned.” 

 

He was also the first person in LAUSD who implemented the 4 by 4 schedule, (4 classes a day) that Mt. SAC ECA goes by today.

 

“When I was in LAUSD, we opened a brand new high school, Southeast High School that was based on those principals…we were the first school to do that.”

 

Since he was a young boy his creativity was greatly influenced by his father. When he was younger a neighbor came by and asked his father for advice on how to keep watermelons in his truck without them falling off, to which his father replied, “ ‘Well why don’t you just start growing your watermelon square? That way you could stack em’”  

 

“That’s what I grew up with, I grew up with a dad that was always thinking out of the box, ahead of his time, and it was innate I guess.”

 

The other thing that inspired his innovations were books. “I do a tremendous amount of reading,” he said “because I was an English teacher, the authors I liked were Hemingway, Steinbeck, “those are two of my favorites when reading literature.”

 

Even though those authors are his favorites, authors like Peter Senge, Patrick Lencioni and Chip and Dan Heath, are the ones that truly inspire him. He explained that they write about, “leadership, [and] that’s what it’s really about” 

 

Mr. Castillo has a lot of experience with leadership and shared some of his beliefs of what it means to be a leader. Especially in the classroom.

 

“I believe in students working together.” He explains, “Students have to be there to strategize, not to share” Mr. Castillo mentions that, “It has to go beyond that”… “You have to learn to bring groups together to help them strategize towards a project and you have to learn how to influence people”.

 

Mr. Castillo explains that that’s the best way to lead, “That’s what it’s about, influence right. Influence, leaders influence as opposed to leading by authority, lead by influence.” 

 

Outside of school he writes for a boxing magazine called ‘Pound For Pound’. “I’m a cub reporter really,” he explains, “My job is mainly reporting all the up and coming fighters. Up and coming fighters such as Ryan Garcia”.

 

Ryan Garcia is an American boxer with 8.7m followers on instagram, Mr. Castillo explains that he “knew Ryan when he first started, he had had his first fight, and we did some interviews with him, a really nice kid. So I followed him, every time he’s fighting, I’m there writing the results of his fight”.

 

Other things he enjoys doing in his free time are playing chess and baseball. “My love is baseball,”he says. “You know I’m 63 and I still play in leagues with guys that are 18 and over. … I can still hit, they still can’t get me out and I pitch a little bit”

 

Although Mr. Castillo’s time here is short, the MECA community greatly appreciates him coming here, taking time to oversee matters here at Mt SAC ECA, and hope he’ll end up staying a little while longer.

 

 “I wish that I could be a part of helping the school grow, but that’s not my role unfortunately because I’m not the principal, I’m just the sub.”

I love this school. I love being here.”

— Albert Castillo