By Seamus Fallon
Santa Rosa High School welcomed Dr. Kimberly Clissold as our new Principal since Mr. Coscarelli’s departure in June. In the school’s 144 years of existence she is the first female principal it has had at the helm. With over 20 years experience in education, Dr. Clissold is excited to start at Santa Rosa High. A 4th generation Hawaiian, Dr. Clissold was born and lived on the island ofOahu through her doctorate studies. Dr. Clissold holds a doctorate in Education Policy Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, she is only one of six people who has earned a doctorate in that field from that institution. Clissold describes educational policies as “we look at how policies operate in institutions of education with the hope that by understanding it you can improve the system.”
Picture by Lucy Merrill
Clissold knew she wanted to be in education since she was a freshman in high school. She admits that she wasn’t the best student in her early years and was accepted to college with the caveat that if she got anything below a C grade she would be dismissed. “I always had an aptitude for teaching,” she adds “I was clued in on that when in my junior year in high school when my school didn’t have any more PE classes to offer so my PE teacher started a leadership class and let me teach.” Dr. Clissold was an avid volleyball player and aspired to be a member of Univ. of Hawaii’s Rainbow Wahine volleyball team, but was offered a full-ride scholarship to Chaminade University and played many volleyball games with them. Only a few years into her educational career, Clissold was Dean of Students at Sacred Heart Academy in Hawaii as well as Adjunct Faculty at Chaminade, whereupon she decided to resign as Dean and pursue her Doctoral Studies full-time. Clissold felt the need to get out of Hawaii for a little bit to write her dissertation for her doctorate. While talking to a friend who taught in Healdsburg who was taking a sabbatical to Europe, Clissold decided to join. “I grabbed my laptop and grabbed all my research and we traveled around Europe for eight months.” Clissold sold everything she owned and left the island for Europe. “I had to make a decision, do I go back to Hawaii and pick up where I left off?” Clissold decided against returning to Hawaii and took the National Administrators Exam and started applying for jobs in California, where she was hired at Montgomery High School. Dr. Clissold wants to bring Santa Rosa High a focus point for leadership and the ability to look at the big picture, while catching the little details, too.