Principal Scott Collins prepares for new school year, adjusts to new position


Working in his office July 28, Principal Scott Collins adapts to his recently-acquired position and plans for the upcoming school year. Photo by Kaitlyn El-Sayegh

After beginning his new role as principal, Mr. Scott Collins has been working for the school and with staff members since mid-June. Collins originally applied for the position in May, and interviewed for it June 3, the day after school’s end. Following, Collins was interviewed for a second-round June 6, and his appointment was officially approved by the Rocklin USD trustees June 8 at a board meeting

Prior to his position as principal, Collins worked at Spring View for five years as both its vice principal and principal in his time there, meaning a large percentage of the student body have already experienced his administrative style and leadership. Though his familiarity with the school does not stop there, as he also worked on campus as both an AP World History and Gov/Econ teacher from 2014 to 2017.

“It was a difficult decision, because I really enjoyed my time at Spring View. It was a wonderful place to work in and I really enjoyed working with the middle school kids and the staff was amazing as well, so that wasn’t easy,” Collins said. “This was certainly a family decision my wife, kids, and mother-in-law wanted to have a lot of talks and make sure this was right for all of us. The big draw to Whitney is because I had such a great experience here as a teacher, both working with the staff and community and our kids; I was excited to come back.”

Due to his connections to the campus and student body at the school, Collins’ experience grants him to feel well-adjusted, allowing him to go straight into his duties as principal. 

“Most new principals, especially if they don’t come from within the staff, don’t have those relationships built in. Not only have I worked here as a staff member and have a ton of great relationships with adults on campus, but two thirds of the students know me from Spring View, so I have a ton of great relationships with them as well,” Collins said. “That really helps with the transition; it usually takes a new principal a better part of that first year to get a feel for everybody, but I get to hit the ground running and that’s really exciting.”

Even prior to the school year’s start, students like Marissa Leffel already feel Collins’ involvement on campus. 

“I’m excited because he was at our middle school and he has a fun personality, which the school needs. I feel like he’s also already getting really involved and school hasn’t even begun yet, which is nice,” Leffel said. 

Though the difference in maturity between middle school and high school students may be evident, Collins is confident in his ability to help understand this new age group. 

“Working at the middle school for the last five years, I have a much better grasp on this age and I know all the challenges of being 12 to 14 years old. With the incoming freshmen, I’ve got a better empathy for their experience and needs and how best to support them. The funny thing is that the incoming 9th grade class [coming from Spring View], will have had me for a consecutive six years, “ Collins said. “Certainly 13 is different from 17, so there’s an approach there that has to be adjusted, but on the other hand, we’re still gonna have fun. You’re probably going to see me in the announcements from time to time, in rallies, trying to have fun. I think all ages appreciate that energy and enthusiasm.”

Collins has not only been a teacher and staff member on campus, but also a parent, allowing him to better understand and empathize with the different perspectives at the school. 

“My oldest daughter just graduated from Whitney High School. While I haven’t been at Whitney as a staff member [in the past few years], I’ve been here as a parent the last four years. All those lenses really help shape my ability to guide all the different stakeholders at our campus. Empathy is really important, it is the key characteristic in leadership, really understanding the perspective of others,” Collins said. “I drive into work every day intentionally trying to remember what it’s like to be 15 years old, and what it’s like to be a teacher to 15 year olds. What it’s like to be a teenager, and remembering what it was like to run 35 teenagers in a room, three times a day. Having empathy and understanding their perspective is key in helping people, supporting people, communicating with people it’s the ball game with leadership.”

Coming into the new school year and into his new position, Collins hopes to embody the notion for him, and for the school, is to produce a comfortable and interactive learning environment for students. 

Collins said, “We do a lot of things in a high school, on the front-end and the back-end. We have district support, and we have laws coming in from Sacramento and the county. But at the end of the day, we can’t lose sight of the fact that we’re all here for that magic in the classroom. We’re not here for the front office building, or the books, or for the state legislators. We’re here for the magic in the classroom for the teachers and the kids, so everything has to come back to ‘How does this help that?’”