Most students know Pamela Sullivan as the campus supervisor with short blond hair and a tone of voice not to be messed with. But behind the sometimes tough façade is a mother, a sister to three and a woman who truly loves working with children. Although many students refer to her as “Pam” and feel like they know her, few students actually know Sullivan’s story.
Recently, Sullivan left her campus security job for a position as the new Study Hall teacher.
“With the new position, I’m happier because I’m in a classroom, but I honestly miss seeing and connecting with everybody,” Sullivan notes. “It’s fun to just listen to all the kids talk. I absolutely love listening to how [students] interpret life.”
Yet Sullivan does not miss having to discipline kids and being seen as someone who enjoys getting people in trouble. She recalls how furious some students were when she got them in trouble, but remarks that those very same students have come back and thanked her for disciplining them and thus changing the course of their lives.
Her own interpretation on life has been shaped by her surroundings, her family and her relationships.
Pam Sullivan was born in Los Angeles, a middle sister to both a younger and older sister and a younger brother. At the age of four, the course of Sullivan’s life was changed forever when her father abandoned the family. Following the divorce, her mother remarried a man who would ultimately adopt all the children and act as an amazing father to Sullivan and her siblings.
“I didn’t see a picture of my actual father until I was 40 years old,” Sullivan says. “For a long time I felt that if a parent couldn’t care about you, how was somebody else going to care about you?”
Although the upheaval of her family has affected Sullivan her whole life, she has kept a positive outlook. This positivity carried through when her family moved to Fresno a year later. She remained in Fresno for 20 more years until she moved to Carmel.
In high school, Sullivan was the flag bearer for her school’s band. In fact, during her senior year, the band was so good that they were invited to go to Washington, D.C. to perform in the nationally televised Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.
As for the rest of her high school career, Sullivan seemed to lead an average life.
“I was pretty social, just like I am now” Sullivan remarks. “I knew a lot of people, I just wasn’t the popular one. There were guys I kinda dated, but it was never anything serious. I never went to a prom, I never got asked to a dance, absolutely nothing. All my girlfriends did, but I didn’t.”
According to Sullivan, students and others now seem to see her as a partier, perhaps because of her social nature. But she vows that she didn’t drink until she was 21, drove herself home from all the parties and would often spend weekends at home.
“I didn’t want to be that girl that somebody was talking about who ended up in a hot tub and had no idea how they got there. So I was always responsible. I had fun, but I didn’t need alcohol or any substance to have fun.”
Her fun, social and bubbly outlook on life are still a crucial part of who Pam Sullivan is. She acts as a mother figure not only to her two sons who graduated from CHS, but to countless students on campus. Although she may seem tough, as those who have stopped and talked with Sullivan know, she is really a loving person.