LaSandra White named Archie Williams Principal

On Feb. 1, 2022, it was announced that beginning Feb. 2 LaSandra White would become the permanent principal of Archie Williams High School (Archie.) White became Archie’s interim principal in August 2021, after spending 18 years as vice principal at Redwood. Although her departure was bittersweet, Redwood students and administrators were excited to see her career progress at Archie. 

In a Bark article  from June 2021, Principal David Sondheim expressed his gratitude for the work White accomplished during her time as vice principal.

“We’ll lose a wonderful assistant principal and a really great friend. [White is] someone whose experience and ability to connect with students is a model for all of us,” Sondheim said.

Since the beginning of her career in education in 1997, White has worked in a variety of positions, including academic workshop teacher, school counselor, vice principal and now principal. 

“I never wanted to leave the district, so to be able to have the opportunity [to be a principal] in the district where I have worked since I started [my career in education], has been great,” White said. 

Not only has White worked in Marin for her entire career, she also grew up in Marin City and attended The Branson School. Throughout her adolescence, White noticed a lack of education and resources being provided from schools to students during their transition to college.

“I noticed that some of my peers who I grew up with were very smart, bright and capable. [But] they didn’t always have the information or the support [and] resources they needed to go from high school directly to four-year college. So that became a passion of mine,” White said. “I got my master’s degree in counseling so I could help make sure that all students, regardless of their socioeconomic status or race, knew about their options [after high school].”

Being one of the only black students at The Branson School when she attended and having worked in the TUHSD for 25 years, White is familiar with being one of the only people of color in her work places. 

“It’s my life. It’s what I’m used to. I’ve been that since I was younger. The only Black or one of few Blacks…” White said

Working in various administration positions in Marin schools has allowed White to reflect back on how she was treated as a student and how TUHSD is evolving today. 

“[Growing up in Marin] was a really good experience. It’s interesting now working in this community with a lot of the things we are learning about or that are happening, in terms of microaggressions and racism,” White said. “I look back and think, ‘Were there [microaggressions] that happened to me that [I didn’t recognize]?’ Obviously, there were things that happened that I was aware of, but it is interesting seeing how things have evolved.” 

As well as White’s childhood experiences influencing her career path, her background with counseling has been just as impactful. Jolie Jacobs, White’s executive assistant, sees White’s background in counseling as an asset to her becoming a successful principal this year. 

“People that work with counseling have an automatic empathy and understanding, and I think that is really needed in the position she holds,” Jacobs said. “Staff and students alike were so excited to meet her and get to know her.” 

Working side by side with White, Jacobs has seen the admirable ways in which she connects with the community. 

“It’s important to get to know the community that you’re serving, and I see her do that regularly … A principal needs to have a really strong vision of how they want to see the school progress, and I have seen White really [get involved],” Jacobs said. 

By reaching out to students and staff in various ways, White has been working to connect with the community and fulfill the goals of Archie’s mission statement. 

“The mission statement is about creating a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all students including their experiences both in and out of the classroom,” White said. “My vision [for the school] ties into the mission that the school had already established prior to me.”

As the year progresses, White looks forward to continuing to get to know staff and students at Archie, while making changes and improving the school. The Redwood community is just as excited to see what White accomplishes as principal. 

“Change is hard but I’m happy …. To be perfectly honest, I do miss the connections I had at Redwood, but I look forward to developing those same connections here,” White said.