Courtesy of The Olympian
After six years at Gunn, assistant principal Pier Angeli La Place is retiring. 35 years in education have taught La Place to value personal growth. “Who students are becoming as people is just as important as what you all are learning in the curriculum in the classroom,” she said.
As assistant principal, La Place was in charge of managing many parts of campus life, including the World Languages, History, attendance, and Athletics department, as well as handling CAASPP testing, the Social Justice Pathway, equity on campus, and other student activities. “We have a very qualified and wonderful instructional leadership group,” La Place said.
There are many memories from her time here at Gunn that she will treasure forever, one of them is seeing students she’s known since her time at Fletcher Middle School mature and graduate at Gunn. “That has been a real honor, to be able to be with kids, to be with students from a young age into adulthood,” she said.
La Place has also enjoyed supporting Gunn athletics– especially the football team– and seeing the exceptional work put in by the student-athletes and coaches. One of La Place’s other favorite Gunn memories has been being a SELF mentor for three years. Getting back in the classroom to interact with Gunn’s student body has been something La Place missed after going into administrative work. “The best part of this work is being with students,” La Place said. “My SELF class is now juniors, and my biggest regret about retiring at the end of this year is that I will not be with them in their senior year,” she said. “I adore them. I really mean that sincerely. They’re a wonderful group of kids, as our students here at Gunn really are.”
There are a lot of Gunn traditions that La Place will miss. It is especially hard having to retire in a year where events like spirit rallies, Homecoming, Prom, and others have been postponed and modified, along with missing the usual student and staff interactions. “I am so impressed by the critical thinking skills, empathy, and dedication, you all have to making the world a better place,” she said.
After retirement, La Place plans on continuing working to earn her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership for Social Justice. “I do plan to continue to have an impact on disrupting systems of status quo that foster oppression and bias,” she said.
Reflecting on her past years in education, she has always wanted to help make a difference in students’ lives. “Looking back on 35 years, the hope is always that you have made a positive impact in the lives of students in the lives of families,” she said. “When students reach out to me, some of them totally grown up, and tell me the impact that I’ve had on them, that’s really very rewarding. That is why I do this work.”