Peninsula High School Meets New Principal Joe Potts

The veteran administrator and teacher mentor became a Seahawk in July.


Photo: Lisa Bryan, KP News

One of the new staff members at Peninsula High School this year is its principal, Dr. Joe Potts.

“Dr. Potts brings experience and knowledge that makes him a good match for Peninsula High School,” Peninsula School District Superintendent Dr. Art Jarvis said. “He has a vision of what high school can and should be. He knows what students need to have in order to build a path to success in life.”

Potts comes to PHS after 10 years in high school administration in the Kent School District, including eight years as principal and two as an assistant principal. Previously, he had been involved in teacher mentoring programs at California State University in Long Beach. His academic research involved participating in defining the national Common Core standards and developing evaluation protocols for student achievement and teacher effectiveness. However, Potts returned to high school education because he enjoys working with teachers and considers himself “a teacher first and foremost,” and wanted to have a direct impact on student learning.

Jarvis said Potts has the ability to plan for the changes that will be required to respond to the complex needs of students and teachers moving into the next decade. “Educators owe it to the kids to give them everything they have,” he said. “We sense that level of enthusiasm in Dr. Potts.” “Educators owe it to the kids to give them everything they have. We sense that level of enthusiasm in Dr. Potts.”

Potts said that the position at PHS was attractive because of the reputation of the district, the academic standing of the school, the dedication of staff members, and district leadership that gives everyone the opportunity to work and contribute to the goal of preparing students for college and careers. Potts also said he appreciates that PHS has a comprehensive extracurricular program that includes all facets of development from performance arts to sports.

“Vocational opportunities are very important because not everyone wants to go to college,” Potts said. “The more we invest in these programs, the better prepared our students will be. The wood shop we have here is wonderful and the pre-apprenticeship programs give opportunities to those kinds of things that allow students to connect with the workplace early in their high school career and gives students the opportunity to explore new pathways.”

A traditional four-year academic program “is not what a lot of students are looking for; they are looking for an opportunity to contribute to the community in different ways and to develop skills that will give them a living wage job without having to rack up thousands of dollars of debt.”

Potts said he respects the legacy PHS has established over the years and wants to further the image of the school as part of the community. He would also like to provide greater recognition for students who do something—academically, socially or in the community—to make a difference.

Because much of his academic experience was in developing better instructional alignments for K-12 Potts also wants to connect with feeder middle schools to better refine the transition from middle to high school.

Potts said he appreciates the different facets of PHS but particularly the academic programs, and credits its good reputation to the work of the staff. “I am very impressed with everyone I have met in terms of their commitment and dedication to kids,” he said. “The district is a really good place to work with opportunities to contribute and I see my role as a promoter of student achievement and Peninsula pride.”