Robert Celli, the new assistant principal, joins Terra Linda High School this year in his 20th year in education. He was raised in San Rafael, and attended several schools in the Bay Area growing up. He graduated from Marin Catholic High School, and attended College of Marin for two years, then transferred to Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in liberal studies while also playing on the division one tennis team. Additionally, he was a summer tennis instructor at Marin Catholic for 18 years.
Celli considers taking this job at Terra Linda as the most, recent, spontaneous thing that he has done. “I didn’t tell anyone [about applying for a new assistant principal position]-except for my wife. I was leaving a district that I`ve worked in for 17 years, in my 20th year of education, in the middle of the year. When I pressed the application button…I waited for almost the last 20 minutes before it expired…It all happened very quickly.”
How do you feel about being the new assistant principal at TL?
“I am super excited about being at Terra Linda High School it’s almost like a homecoming – being back in San Rafael.”
What do you find the most rewarding about your job?
“It’s definitely working with a new staff, where you still have as much of the same rewards and challenges. It reinvigorates a career… almost like the first day of school. I can remember, the morning I came here… it was raining, I was sitting by the window waiting for the door to be unlocked; [I was] nervous…about being in a brand new school and district where you don’t know anyone yet, people know who you are.”
What are your thoughts on the Terra Linda High School student body?
“It would be nice to build a relationship with all the different student groups…I try to be as visible as possible. I don’t like staying in my office. I like to go to as many sporting events as I can, and get involved as much as I can. I want to learn what TL is about because everyday it`s something new.”
What changes do you hope to see or make at TL?
“I want to bring some ideas from other districts that I’ve worked in. I want to bring some ideas to ASB…how can [we] drive the students to want to partake in school activities? I am trying to improve communication… the school website should incorporate Instagram and other social media where students can actually just send things to the website; when they – students – know that the publications are going to be that public they are going to be responsible. We need to get pictures out there ‘positive digital footprint to overcome all the bad stuff and flood social media with all the good stuff about TL…that would get many students involved.”
What do you feel is appropriate behavior in school sporting events?
“Let us cheer!!!”
“[We need] good cheering in our gym…you can play a superior team and beat them just based on cheering…[we] should be able to control the games positively. I don’t want students wasting their energy cheering down other teams, rather than cheering up their own players…
I know that there are some groups that have been targeted and talked to many times, and I think some of them have found the humorous side of this, and I know other people are having a difficult time with [the positive cheering]. This is not just coming from people on the stands, but referees and officials in the fields are talking to us [administration] about what they’re hearing from the fields standpoint. When you talk to coaches…they don’t even [pay attention to the cheering] that is going on in the stands because they are paying attention to their game,”
What is the best advice that you give to students?
“Follow your dreams, do what makes you happy because you don’t want to do something that will make you unhappy in the long run. I know that graduating from high school is a necessity. I really want students to graduate high school,and know that community colleges are great. There are so many great things at Terra Linda High School that can assist you with whatever you want to do. Talk to your counselor go the CCC. Freshmen, Get involved. Sophomores, get more involved. Juniors, get really involved. Seniors, it’s your last year, do what you need to do. Getting involved is so important… you just need to get a feel for what’s going on around school.
He adds: “By the way my door is, literally, always open.”