Ortiz-Davis joins administrative staff at Diegueño

After nearly two decades at TPHS, former English teacher Staci Ortiz-Davis started her new job as assistant principal at Diegueño Middle School on Aug. 18.

A veteran member of the TPHS English department, having taught college prep, honors and English Language Development courses, Ortiz-Davis cited a desire for a challenge as the motivation for her move to administration.

“I’m just really excited to take on the challenge of something new and to grow as a person,” Ortiz-Davis said. “I am familiar with what is expected of me, and I have previous experience which has given me the skills to do the job, but it’s something new and so there’s a learning curve.”

Ortiz-Davis said she received a “warm welcome” her first day at Diegueño.

“I just happened to arrive at the start of lunch, so they handed me a walkie-talkie and a trash bucket and I ran outside for trash duty,” she said. “The students saw me and they all ran up and asked, ‘Are you the new assistant principal?’”

Although Ortiz-Davis was at first unsure of how she would connect with students without being a teacher, she was reassured by other SDUHSD assistant principals that “you can impact the lives of and connect with students” without being “in the classroom.”

However, that is not to say that she will not miss her connection with TPHS students.

“To have the opportunity to teach students their freshman year and be able to witness their growth and their maturity … is such a special gift for a teacher and human being, and I’m going to miss that,” Ortiz-Davis said.

Ortiz-Davis was able to forge that connection by being very “personable with her students,” according to Emma Schreuder-Welte (11), a former student of Ortiz-Davis.

Another former student of hers, Celestine Chinnappan (10), echoed this sentiment.

“She’s not just teaching; she also likes sharing her personal life, and she’s very kind,” Chinnappan said.

Her students are not the only part of TPHS Ortiz-Davis remembers fondly.

“The staff — they’re priceless,” Ortiz-Davis said. “I just had lunch with teachers in the English department, so when I say they’re family, I mean that in all sincerity.”

Although she is excited for her new job, Ortiz-Davis said her departure was “bittersweet because Torrey Pines is home to me.”

“You know the saying ‘auf wiedersehen’ in German? That does not mean goodbye, that means ‘until we meet again,’ and that’s how I feel about Torrey Pines,” Ortiz-Davis said.

photo courtesy of Ortiz-Davis

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