Dear Sunset Ranch Families,
I am honored and excited to be the new Principal at Sunset Ranch! In talking with Sunset Ranch staff and parents and seeing all that the school has accomplished in just six short years, it is obvious that there is fantastic teaching, learning, and programs already in place at the school. I look forward to building on Sunset Ranch’s strong foundation and making it the best possible place for students to build the knowledge, skills, and character that will enable them to be successful. It is great to be here getting settled during the summer but it is much too quiet! I very much look forward to meeting you and your children and filling the hallways and classrooms with talk, laughter, and learning. There are so many great things that we will do together over the coming years. I can’t wait to get started!
Here is a little background information about me: I completed my Masters/teaching credential at UCLA in 2004 and started my career in education as a fifth grade teacher at a science focused school in South Los Angeles. There, I worked to establish the school as a model in inquiry science, hands-on mathematics, and technology learning. Several years later, I took a position as a Mathematics Instructional Coach and led school wide professional development and lesson study in effective instruction. I was an Assistant Principal at a school with a large special education population and have now served five years as a Principal at two different high performing elementary schools. During this time, I have worked closely with staff to implement successful programs in Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop, Cognitively Guided Math Instruction (CGI), arts integration, Response-to-Intervention, and of course, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. This past year, I completed my doctorate at USC with an emphasis on the integration of instructional technology in K-5 classrooms. This is an area I’m passionate about, but then - I am passionate about all of it!
My immediate family consists of my amazing wife, Melissa, and two children, Molly (4th grade) and Liam (1st grade) who keep me entertained and on my toes. Rocklin’s proximity to Lake Tahoe, where we spend time each summer, was an important factor in regards to our relocation from our former home in the south bay of Los Angeles. I grew up in Washington State, north of Seattle, and love spending time outdoors. I am an avid trail runner, mountain biker, fly fisherman, and skier and am thrilled to be returning to an area that is close to the mountains. I am looking for good trails to run and ride and so if you have any recommendations, please share them with me.
As an educational leader, I am dedicated to building strong, collaborative relationships with teachers, students, and parents as a means of promoting learning and high performance for all stakeholders. To this effect, you can expect to see me in classrooms, about the school, and in the community as I seek to model effective instruction, positive behavior, integrity, and trust. You can also expect that I will openly communicate with you, listen, and welcome your input. I believe in shared leadership and know that together we can ensure that Sunset Ranch continues to grow, excel, and thrive. In order to be the best, it will require ALL of us working together towards common goals.
My first goal at Sunset Ranch will be to understand the current programs and culture, establish a shared school vision for student learning, and align our professional development, goals, resources, and personnel to this vision. I believe that every student has the capacity to learn given the right context, the right curriculum, and especially, the right teacher. As teachers are critical to student learning, I will focus on providing them with meaningful opportunities for professional development and time to collaborate with, observe, and discuss best teaching practices with their peers. I also believe that students learn best when the content is made relevant to their lives and when they have opportunities to actively engage in inquiry, discovery, critical analysis, and discussion of the subject matter. I will work hard to provide these kinds of learning opportunities to all Coyotes.
Once again, I am honored to join your wonderful community as Principal. I promise to do everything in my power to preserve the powerful programs that Sunset Ranch currently has in place while seeking to build upon, advance, and create incredible, new learning and growth opportunities for our students. As the parent of two young children, I often ask myself: Is this the school that I would want for them? Feel confident that I will work diligently to create a school culture and learning environment for all our children where we can enthusiastically answer this question with YES!
Getting to know each of you is my first priority, I can be reached/found in the following places:
Phone: (916) 624-2048
The school office will open on Monday, August 8th.
I’m looking forward to meeting you all and a fantastic 2016-17 school year! Coyotes, CAN!
Bill MacDonald, Ed.D.
Sunset Ranch Elementary School