High School Vice Principal
After twelve years in education — seven in high school, three in middle school, and two in a school leadership position — Mr. Mark Herrera was honored to accept the role of vice principal at New West for the 2016-17 school year.
New West has a strong faculty team, a growing reputation for academic excellence, and a commitment to serving a diverse community. Mr. Herrera’s goal is to build on those strengths with the same energy he put into every lesson he learned or taught.
As an undergraduate, Mr. Herrera attended UC Davis and completed a double major in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in War and Peace Studies in three years. In his final term, he interned at the US Capitol with Senator Diane Feinstein where he witnessed history being made and studied leadership by example. Inspired, Mr. Herrera returned from Washington, earned a Social Science Teaching Credential, and began his career as a history teacher in Fairfield, CA while finishing a Masters Degree in Education.
By his fourth year in the classroom, Mr. Herrera was being regularly tapped to mentor both new and veteran teachers. Mr. Herrera enjoyed helping others for the benefit of children, so he enrolled in the Principals Leadership Institute at UC Berkeley and accepted a position as a teacher coach at a 6-12 grade school in San Francisco. After two years of intense on-the-job training, along with rigorous summer, night, and weekend classes at Cal, Mr. Herrera earned a Masters Degree in Education with an Administrative Services Credential. He relocated to Los Angeles after graduating and taught high school history courses for another three years before coming to New West in the fall of 2013.
Prior to joining the administrative team, Mr. Herrera taught the eighth grade US History course at New West for three years. He also taught electives called “World Travel and Cultures” and “World Landmarks” along with variety of X Block classes on everything from cooking and debate to the on-going struggle for equality in America. Beyond the classroom, Mr. Herrera served as the Eighth Grade Level Advisor, planned the annual trip to Washington and New York, hosted Family History Night and Civil War Day events, and coordinated New West’s self-study for accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
The combination of roles and responsibilities Mr. Herrera has accepted in his career reflects his personality. He has a wide-ranging curiosity, a love of travel (he’s been to Japan, Italy, England, France, Greece, Thailand, Cambodia, Israel, Palestine, Mexico, Spain and Costa Rica), a commitment to equity, and a belief in the power of student-driven learning.
Mr. Herrera has learned that although education and experience can make someone a better instructor, it’s listening to kids and responding to their needs that make someone a better teacher. According to him, that starts with building honest relationships between teachers, students, parents, and administrators.
History taught Mr. Herrera that when trust between people becomes strong enough to face facts together and hear each other’s truths, real growth and achievement can occur. Mr. Herrera’s career in and out of the classroom has proven that to be true time and again.
Helping students get a well-rounded education, earn college admissions and scholarships, and start their careers ready for life’s challenges is Mr. Herrera’s life’s work. He is proud to pursue that passion as a member of New West’s team.