Principal Profile January 2020 – Ms. Brenda Bravo

Brenda Bravo


Rio Plaza Elementary School

1+ Years as Rio Plaza Principal

1+ Years as Principal

8 Years as Teacher



This is Ms. Bravo’s 2nd school year as principal of Rio Plaza Elementary School. Previously she served as the Intervention Specialist at Laguna Vista, Ocean View School District. Previous to that, she served as a dual immersion teacher at Tierra Vista, Ocean View School District. 

Ms. Bravo earned both of her Bachelor’s Degrees at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI), one Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Liberal Studies, the other in Spanish. After a few years of teaching, she decided to return to CSUCI for her Masters in Educational Leadership and Administrative Credential. 

Brenda has lived in our community for some time and has a deep value for education and its power to help people grow and take advantage of opportunities to their well-being and contributions to their family and community. 

Principal Bravo, like most of us, has faced challenges on her journey of education and career development. Among her many resources she counts relationships with mentors, a positive attitude, a caring and ever-learning intellect, and hard work as among the characteristics that served her well in serving her students and community.

We asked Ms. Bravo the following three questions and her responses follow each;


  • What do you think matters most to children when they attend school?


There are three things that I believe matter most to children when they attend school. Number one, children want to feel safe. Often times, children prefer to be at school, as this may be their only safe place. Number two, children want to have a sense of belonging. Even as adults, we often seek those places where we can feel a part of a group. Lastly, and maybe most important, children want to be loved. We all prefer to be in places where we know people care about us. I believe that after children get these three needs met, they are able to focus and learn at school. 


  • How has your leadership changed over time and experience?


Leadership has always been about serving. When I started this journey, I learned about servant leadership and I fell in love with the idea because it aligned with my philosophy of leadership. This philosophy states that leaders serve and demonstrate the following traits: listening, empathy, stewardship, foresight, persuasion, conceptualization, awareness, healing, commitment to the growth and development of people, and building community. As much as I believed in this style of leadership, I now know that it is easier said than done. Over time, I have come a lot closer to being a servant leader, but I know that this will take time. The best lesson that I have learned thus far has been patience. Patience with others, but most important patience towards myself. I can be hard on myself, but I am learning to be patient and take this opportunity to lead one day at a time.


  • What has working in schools meant to you in terms of your own development as a person, mother, and citizen?


It is quite difficult to express how much working in schools has meant to me in terms of my development as a person, mother and citizen. As a person, I have developed many qualities that have improved my way of interacting with others in society. Working with students and families that I see myself reflected in has helped me become more empathetic and understanding. I can see things better because I have learned to stop, think, make a plan and adapt it as needed. I have definitely become a better mother as a result of working in schools. Working with students and their families has helped me understand family dynamics and learn to better interact and respond to my own three girls at home. I have learned to value my family time and to take advantage of what life has to offer. As a citizen, I have improved because I have become involved in the community and have found ways to give back. Overall, I think that working in education has made me a better person. I cannot imagine not working in education my entire life. My husband tells me that I am going to be one of those educators that ends up volunteering her time at schools for the rest of my life. Well, I think he is right, I love what I do!


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