Administrative, guidance offices gain experienced new staff

Mackenzie Clarke, Managing Editor

Sequoia’s new additions to the administrative and counseling offices in this school year include Kristin Stout as Instructional Vice Principal and Patty Vlahakos as guidance counselor. The administrative position opened up following the departure of Mike Kuliga as Administrative Vice Principal and the moving of past IVP Sophia Olliver to fill his position.

Stout has worked in the district for 20 years beginning as a history teacher at Menlo-Atherton. She then moved to the District Office as a professional developer, but went back to instruct and work with teachers at Sequoia for three years. After her time at Sequoia, Stout returned to the District Office, where she held an array of positions, including Director of Professional Development and Curriculum. Following her extensive history in the Sequoia Union High School District SUHSD, she pursued the opportunity to once again work in a school when the position of IVP opened.

“This [position] came up and I’ve never had the chance to work in administration at a site, so I thought it would be really exciting—and I love Sequoia,” Stout said.

The extensive hiring process included interviews in front of administrators, staff, secretaries, and Principal Sean Priest. With her new position, Stout looks forward to seeing classrooms and teachers while encouraging instructional ideas.

However, there are also some difficulties in assuming new, unfamiliar roles.

“I like to plan ahead and know what’s coming up, but it’s just impossible to do that the first time through. You can’t anticipate everything and so it’s just learning to be at peace with that learning curve and knowing that I’ll eventually figure it all out,” Stout said. “Everyone’s been really supportive here.”

New guidance counselor Patty Vlahakos was hired after shifts in the guidance office including the movement of Guidance Counselor Shari Schussel to the Teen Resource Center, the retirement of Head Guidance Counselor Guadalupe Navarrete, and the promotion of Melissa Perez to fill her position.

Vlahakos previously worked as a guidance counselor for 10 years in the South San Francisco Unified School District and is new to the SUHSD. In addition to taking on part of Perez and Schussel’s caseload, she will also be managing incoming freshmen and all new and upperclass BUILD students.

“It has been a fairly smooth transition,” Vlahakos said. “I’m getting to know what [students want] and what [their] questions are, so it’s taking some time to get used to , but in general I feel we’re able to connect and everyone has been very open to me.”