Interview with New Principal Ms. Dillman


Ailin Atasoy, Staff Writer

After seven years of growth in AHS, Dr. Brent Forsee is leaving to succeed Dr. Jeff Wilson as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. In his place will now be Ms. Angela Dillman, who was voted in unanimously by the Arcadia Unified Board of Education.

On the grueling application process: “The first step was to write a timed essay that served as a ‘letter to the community’. Someone is also in the room to keep a casual eye on you—it felt very much like a [Collegeboard] standardized test,” she laughed. “A few days later is a candidate reception. The remaining candidates are all in a room with members of the community like the superintendent and teachers from various schools. You walk around as people ask you questions ranging from conversations about personal life to things like ‘What is your vision for the school’. Finally, there was the interview, which was unique in that they [asked] tough questions tailored specifically to my past.”

Ms. Dillman has a long history with Arcadia Unified—she was a history teacher and ASB Director at AHS, Vice Principal at Foothills Middle School, and after serving as principal for Crittenden Middle School in the Mountain View-Whisman School District, came back as Assistant Principal at AHS. She cites her belief in Arcadia students as the reason for her return. Her main focus as principal is to continue Arcadia’s “tradition of excellence” while understanding what it is like to be a student nowadays.

This is an important issue to Ms. Dillman—when asked about the challenges she faces as a high school administrator, she said that “in middle school, there is a closer connection with the students because we’d be walking around during lunch, constantly interacting with them. Since the sixth graders from my last year in Foothills are now freshmen at Arcadia High, I know almost a third of the students by name. However, high schoolers are more self-sufficient; for example, organizations like Pow Wow are almost autonomous and can run by themselves. I know we have to work harder to ensure that I maintain that connection with high school students.”

In addition to her relationship with the students, her passion for the job also makes her a perfect candidate for the job. “I believe that our purpose should be to help teachers help students. These students are our future and to help them grow and become who they want to be is the most fulfilling part of the job. I believe this is a perfect job for people who want to do good because I feel that we are helping those [young adults] who want to do good as well.”

Ms. Dillman officially assumed the position of principal on June 1 and students are already excited. Although this year’s seniors will not be able to experience the next evolution of AHS, they will always have a home in Arcadia. Onwards and upwards!

Photo courtesy of AUSD