Feature

Erin Pope Leaves Cougars to Embrace of Dons’ Community

By Bennett Baker, Editor-in-Chief

// In her first few weeks on campus, the Acalanes student body’s school spirit was the thing that stood out the most to new Acalanes Associate Principal Erin Pope.

   “You guys actually really like being here,” Pope said hesitantly, as if it were too good to be true.

   This year, Erin Pope is the newest addition to the Acalanes administration, joining forces with Associate Principal Andy Briggs and Principal Travis Bell.

   Following Allison Silvestri’s resignation at the end of last school year, Bell stepped up from his position as Associate Principal and Pope was transferred from Campolindo High School to Acalanes.

   “It’s been a pretty seamless transition,” Pope said. “Everybody’s been really welcoming and nice.”

   Pope, newly engaged, has a 15 year-old daughter, a 10 year-old son, and two soon-to-be stepchildren.

ms-pope-portrait-black-and-white

Photo taken by Sarah Westergren

   When it comes to hobbies, Pope enjoys photography, adding that her daughter shares this passion as well. “I wish I had more time for it.”

   On her few days off from the rigors of the Acalanes Administration, Pope also enjoys to exercise and lead an active lifestyle.

   “I need to exercise or I’m not really fun to be around,” Pope said jokingly, adding that she also needs her coffee.

   Pope also loves to run, and has participated in a couple of marathons. However, an unfortunate injury has restricted Pope’s abilities to partake in this hobby. Her last marathon was the Stinson Beach Marathon, during which she rolled her ankle around mile number 15. She completed the race, but then had to get surgery on her ankle.

   “I’ve had too many ankle surgeries to run anymore,” Pope said, adding that she misses being able to run.

   Pope graduated from Dominican University of California with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in International Relations. While in college, Pope started the school’s newspaper, The Habit, and played basketball.

   Pope’s career in education began in Marin County, where she taught social studies for 15 years at Terra Linda High School. According to Pope, her favorite thing to teach was government.

   Pope also taught the Leadership class for two years after being tapped by her principal to save the failing program. Within a year, Pope and the Leadership students transformed their $23,000 debt into a $1,000 surplus. The program was entirely self-funded, except for the student store.

   Toward the end of her teaching career, Pope was appointed to spearhead the implementation of Common Core into the district, a job that she was excited about.

   After teaching in Marin, Pope went back to school and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership along with her administrative credential.

   This year is Pope’s second year in the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) after a year as Campolindo’s Associate Principal. Although she is sad to leave Campolindo, Pope is greeting the switch to Acalanes as an opportunity for growth.

   According to Pope, she is in constant learning mode, and is excited to continue learning and observing this year.

   The most important thing to Pope, however, is building relationships with the staff, students, and parents of the Acalanes community.

   Pope’s brief experience at Acalanes was epitomized after she attended the Welcome Back Rally during the first week of school. One thing in particular stunned Pope and set Acalanes apart from other schools in her mind.

   “At every other school I’ve ever been at, kids always boo the freshman, and that’s just not the culture here,” Pope said. “I think that’s pretty phenomenal.”

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