Sam Pereira: 'Every staff member is deeply committed to creating a positive space for kids'
Central Coast High School
Sam Pereira grew up in the southern tip of Los Angeles County in the town of San Pedro, California. At the young age of 18, he and his girlfriend at the time (now wife), packed up and headed to the Central Coast where he attended California State University Monterey Bay in 2018. He graduated in four years and dabbled in the community and hospitality industries before being pulled into the teaching profession.
His wife, Ashley Seimensma, a teacher at Ord Terrace Elementary School in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, knew she always wanted to be a teacher, and Sam saw the impact she had on her kids and the connections she made.
“I felt myself drawn toward being in a classroom and being with kids,” says Sam. “I went back to school and got a credential from the University of Southern California and immediately went into student teaching.”
Sam was recently appointed assistant principal of Central Coast High School, and prior to this role he was an English teacher for five years at CCHS. The school is the district’s alternative high school, but it is very special.
“Every staff member is deeply committed to creating a positive space for kids, creating positive relationships with kids, and making this a place where students know they can succeed and be successful,” states Sam. “I love CCHS because of the student experience that the staff creates.”
Central Coast High is MPUSD’s alternative high school for 11th and 12 graders. The school offers credit recovery for students, but through the years it has robust offerings for students, including hands-on Career Technical Education pathways. Many students choose to attend the school.
“A lot of students feel as though they haven't been successful at (the traditional comprehensive) high school,” says Sam. “Some students come with walls and are not a big fan of school, but when you can break through and get them to open up and write an essay, build confidence in themselves, build confidence in their abilities, and see them graduate it’s an amazing experience working here.”
As a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Sam knows well the demographics he serves. He sees the achievement and opportunity gaps, and he says, “It’s what drives him and his wife to get up every day and to be able to serve these kids.”
“We are able to potentially change the trajectory of some lives of families and students and it’s really powerful to be in this district where we are able to make such a big difference and also serve the community we live in,” says Sam.
Sam and his wife, Ashley, have a daughter that will one day attend MPUSD schools.