When he was named principal of El Centro's Harding Elementary School last week, Juan Cruz met a goal he's worked at since starting his career in education.
Though he knew he wanted to teach from early on, Cruz said he also knew he wanted to go beyond teaching and into administration someday.
"I want to impact the lives of children. I want to maximize that impact," Cruz, 32, said.
As a teacher, Cruz thought he was able to affect his students in a positive way. When he starts his first day as a principal Tuesday, he expects to affect an entire school of kids, not just one classroom.
"Schools have a critical role in providing children the foundation to a successful life," Cruz said.
"For many of our children, schools are the only place giving them the keys to get out," Cruz said.
Cruz attended Brawley schools before Imperial Valley College and San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus, from which he attained his master's degree in curriculum and instruction. He holds an administrative credential from the University of Redlands.