About San Francisco Unified School District The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is the eighth largest school district in California, educating over 56,000 students every year. The districtâ€™s mission is to provide each student with an equal
Marco Sanchez, the new principal at Lodi Middle School, tells the tale of his academic and Olympic road to his present position, in his office Friday.Sanchez wrestled for Puerto Rico in the Olympics. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)
As a middle schooler, Marco Sanchez had a tough time.The child of a mother with an eighth-grade education and a father with a fifth-grade education, Sanchez would be the first one to graduate high school.He hadn't even thought about college.Then, early in his eighth-grade year, his mother succumbed to a disease that had ailed her for the past two years.A self-described "poster child" for ADHD, Sanchez has no doubts about where he was headed."I would without a doubt have been on every medication," said Sanchez, now principal at Lodi Middle School.Luckily for him, his fifth-grade physical education coach took an interest in him, introduced him to wrestling and built a bridge from the mat to the classroom.As he moved on to high school, Sanchez said it was wrestling that kept him doing well in school and helped him get the attention he needed at a school with more than 4,000 students.When he graduated from high school in San Jose, it was wrestling that helped him get a scholarship to Arizona State University.When he graduated from college, it was wrestling that paid for the tuition to get first his master's degree, then his doctorate.Now, as a principal of a middle school, Sanchez said he has come full circle.Clearly displayed in his office are some of the many awards he has won over the years, as well as his identification card for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he wrestled for Puerto Rico.Sanchez said students often bring up his experience in the Olympics when they talk to him, but he always reminds them how he got there."The road to the games went through the classroom," he says.Among the laminated newspaper articles, medals and Olympic memorabilia, Sanchez proudly displays the first drawing he received from a student at Lodi Middle.Signed "Luis" at the bottom, the drawing shows an aerial view of Lodi Middle's campus.At lunch, eighth-grader Angel Reyes, 14, tells the story about how, upon meeting him, Sanchez shook his hand.
"It's like coming back home," Sanchez said.
Welcome, Marco wrote on Aug 11, 2007 9:41 AM:" It sounds like Lodi Middle School has what it needs in Principal Marco Sanchez, a disciplinarian with compassion.Good luck, Marco ... you have a tough act to follow in Dawn Vetica. "
Winner: Marco Sanchez, rookie principal at Gilroy High School who delivered a spirited highlight reel graduation speech that set a wonderfully positive tone with just the right touches of humor, sincerity and honesty.
Truly a great hire for GHS and this community.