By EMMA BROWN
As interim superintendent for the Carmel Unified School District, Trisha Dellis has been no stranger to struggle this school year: school closures due to wildfires in Carmel and Big Sur as well as the cancellation of in-person classes due to COVID-19 have both presented unique challenges that she has had to navigate.
Despite the challenges at work, Dellis’ main struggle is similar to that of many students: the longing for social interaction at school.
“I love people,” Dellis says. “That’s why the pandemic is so challenging for me right now. I like being on campuses, and I like seeing what’s going on in real time. Seeing young people doing what they love to do and what their passions are, it’s exciting. I love seeing dedicated teachers and people that work on campuses as cafeteria people or custodians, just the people who care about kids and care about people.”
Although Dellis is able to identify her desire for a return to in-person schooling, her priorities lie with the well-being of all CUSD students and families.
“I think that there’s probably a percentage of students who are thriving in that environment and probably never knew that they could,” Dellis says. “But then you’ve got the other people who thrive in the classroom setting. They want to see people and they want to be involved in activities. Thankfully, the young people are going to be able to probably teach us some things about distance learning and help us know how to go forward with this.”
When Dellis moved to the Carmel area, she originally took on the position of chief human resource officer for the district.
“My husband and I were like, ‘You know, we’d always said let’s live by the ocean,’” Dellis explains. “So I said, ‘I’m going to apply for this.’ We always said, ‘Someday let’s go do something different.’”
No stranger to the field of education, Dellis began her career in 1988 as a first grade teacher. For the past 32 years she has held a variety of positions as an educator, ranging from working as an assistant principal at a high school to starting up a school.
“I opened a school called Ghidotti Early College High School,” she says. “It is an early-college high school opened through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. It started about 10 years ago. It’s located on the community college campus of Sierra College in Grass Valley.”
Despite an extensive career as an educator, Dellis remains as passionate about her work now as she did all the way back in 1988. She looks forward to the remainder of the 2020-21 school year and hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of as many students as possible during her time as superintendent.