Fresh faces join Mustang family: Andrea Poma
Even as a child, pushing out her desk from her room and setting up her stuffed animals to play pretend school, Assistant Principal Andrea Poma had an affinity for the education field.
Before working at Walnut High School, Poma was the dean of students at San Dimas High School, and before that was English Language Development (ELD) Coordinator and an English/ELD teacher at West Covina High School.
“I heard a lot of good things about Walnut High School. I wanted somewhere where I could learn, where I could offer my expertise. I wanted to find a place that was fun and that felt like a family. I was looking for a place that I could call home, and I definitely feel like I have found that,” Poma said. “This is such an incredible school, and not just on paper. We are such a high achieving school, and that’s great, but [the students] are really good people, and for me that’s what matters.”
Poma began her education at California State University, Long Beach, with the intention of studying to become a child psychologist, but ended up switching her major to theater arts. After playing a few roles as an actress, she worked in hiring for the Los Angeles Police Department, but did not feel satisfied with either job, so she decided to go back to school and get a master’s degree and teaching credential.
“Working outside of education actually helped to humanize me with my students,” Poma said. “When students would ask, ‘How is this going to help me in my career or in life,’ I had an answer because I worked outside of education. I would be able to offer some scenarios from my real life and what was going on during that time.”
A mantra that Poma lives by is purpose, passion and pursuit. This process is part of what drove her to figure out what she truly wanted to do. While reading the book “Cure for the Common Life” by Max Lucado, she came to the realization that she needed to follow the path that made her feel the most fulfilled, rather than only doing what was expected of her.
“My purpose in life [is] to be an educator, it [is] to be with kids, and that drove my passion. I wake up every day and enjoy what I do. Everything that I do, I’m in pursuit of how to enjoy or better what my passion is, what my purpose is,” Poma said. “You have your own purpose in life. If someone is always telling you what to do, you’re not going to have a passion for it. It makes it harder to go and pursue it. It’s about listening to your inner energy, listening to what you’re really good at, where you’re geared towards and letting that drive what happens next.”
Although Poma intends to stick with her position as assistant principal for the time being, in the future she has plans to possibly become a principal or director of curriculum, student services or discipline.
“I want to make sure that I have connections with kids and families and staff members, but I also want to learn and grow. In every step of my career, there are pieces of me that have continued to evolve, and whether it’s academically, socially [or] personally, I’ve grown,” Poma said. “Even as adults we are so dead set on getting [things] right, but then we tell our kids, ‘you have to keep trying,’ [even though] we don’t take that same advice.”
By Natalie Cheng, Arts Editor
Photo courtesy of Andrea Poma