Fremont Alum Becomes Tip Top Tiger

Emiliano Sanchez, Class of 1980, is now is in charge of 700 students and more than 60 staff

Thirty-three years after graduating from Fremont High School, Emiliano Sanchez is now the school’s principal.

Sanchez, who graduated from Fremont in 1980, was named the interim principal in

June after Principal Daniel Hurst announced he would not return to Fremont.

Sanchez told Green & Gold reporters in several inter- views about his goals as principal.

“I want to provide students with proper education so they can make their own choices,” he said. “I want them to be productive members of the society. I want them to leave here ready.”

After graduating from Cal State Hayward with a degree in math, Sanchez worked as a math teacher at Calvin Simmons Middle School. He left Calvin Sim- mons in 2000 to come back to Fremont as a math teacher. When the school broke into small high schools, in 2005, Sanchez became the vice principal at College Preparatory & Architecture Academy. He continued to serve as vice principal when Architecture, Mandela High School and Media Academy High School were merged back into Fremont High School in 2012-13.

He expects to get help from both his own staff and the community, which he collectively calls the Fremont Family, in making the school better.

“One person can’t run a whole school by them- selves,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said he wants to change the culture of the school. He wants a positive image along with strong academics for the students.

WHEN HE WAS A STUDENT

When Sanchez attended, there were no academies and no freshmen. The demographics have shifted a lot since he was a student. In 1977-80, when Sanchez was a student, there were more African Americans than Latinos. Now there Latinos make up about 55 percent of Fremont and the African American enrollment has dropped to about 30 percent.

One of the biggest changes at Fremont over the years is also one of the biggest challenges Sanchez must address. The school used to have about 2,400 students and enrollment is now down to about 700. The district expects Sanchez to help bring back more students from the neighborhood by improving conditions at Fremont.

He explained that some of the reasons for the drop in enrollment at Fremont is that students now can choose to go to other high schools, including charter schools, and not just their neighborhood high school. Enrollment at Skyline, Oakland Tech and Oakland High are high be- cause people perceive them to be better schools, he said.

And when Fremont loses students, it also loses money, he said. A loss of 50 students, he said, means a loss of about $200,000.

Besides the challenge of increasing Fremont’s enroll- ment, Sanchez said that there will be other challenges here and there while being principal. He noted that there are so many forms and so many students to keep up with.

“Being principal cuts into the time with students,” he said. “There’s more work. And if I take the time out to do something, it pushes another thing back, so it cuts into family time as well.”

He said he often finds himself checking work e-mails at 10 p.m.

What Sanchez enjoys most about Fremont are the kids. He loves the environment here but it hurts when students leave trash and do not care to help clean up. He feels disrespected when there are kids outside in the halls cutting class.

When asked in a press conference with the Green & Gold how he planned on improving the school, Sanchez said he preferred to flip that question.

“How do YOU plan on improving the school?” he said was a question he wanted to ask all students. “What can YOU do to improve Fremont?” He said he wants students to ask themselves, “How can I better myself? How can I better the school?”

He said he wants students to ask themselves, “How can I better myself? How can I better the school?”

Sanchez says he views Fremont as a family school and wants students to make Fremont their second home. For example, e would like to see students keep the court- yard tidy and throw away their trash in the cafeteria.
He also wants them to take more advantage of the opportunities to achieve, both during the regular school day and through the Extended Day Program.

Sanchez doesn’t plan to leave any time soon.
“I’d love to retire from here,” he said. But, he added, “If it won’t be successful five years from now, then it’ll be time to go.”

SANCHEZ RECEIVES WIDE PRAISE

Within minutes of Sanchez being announced as the interim principal for Fremont, people all over the Fremont campus shared their happiness with the decision.

Five months later, many still feel that Sanchez was the right person for the job.

Social sciences teacher Richard Charlesworth said he feels Sanchez is doing a good job.

“He brings good people skills, and I’m happy that he’s principal,” said Charlesworth.

Sanchez’s newest hire — Vice Principal Matthew Shaffer — agrees with Charlesworth.

“Sanchez as a great boss,” said Shaffer. “He loves the kids. He knows everyone. He has great patience and a warm sense of humor.”

Noil Angelo, head of campus security, has been at Fremont for decades, and also sees Sanchez as a princi- pal who connects with students.

“He’s going to do a good job,” said Angelo. “He’s a great ‘student’ principal. He understands what it’s like as a parent to have their child come to Fremont.”

Two students who back up what the adults say about Sanchez are Mandela’s Patricia Chappell and Media’s Ricky Flowers.

Chappell called Sanchez “very funny and nice,” while Flowers said he was “cool.”

“He tries to handle all the school distractions in the school as good as possible,” said Flowers.