by WYNNE LOVE | photo by Spark Photography

Children get one chance to be in elementary school,” declared Cindy Venolia, Principal of Stone Ranch Elementary. “They should remember it as a happy, joyful, exuberant land of learning.” That is how Cindy Venolia views education. With her father in the military, Venolia changed schools often. She was born in North Carolina, but grew up mostly in Vista – one year living in five different places – but her family always valued education.

“I never looked at going to college as a way to get a job,” she explained. “I wanted to learn more. Each class was like a gift!” Venolia paid her own way through college, completing her degree at SDSU, summa cum laude, and her teaching and administrative credentials at National University, with straight A’s.

She was chosen as a teacher leader early on in the Ramona district and when she decided to pursue her administrative degree, she volunteered to assist the summer school Principal for free. “The next year, I received the summer school Principal position and actually got paid for it!” In 2007, Venolia was offered the job at Stone Ranch Elementary.

[quote] “Whenever I meet with students, I remind them that they are in charge of their future.”  ~ Cindy Venolia Principal, Stone Ranch Elementary School [/quote]

A Kid of Character

“What I learned from my parents is to work hard and be thankful for what you have,” said Venolia. “Whenever I meet with students, I remind them they are in charge of their future.”

That perspective has served her well. Now in her sixth year at SRES, Venolia’s efforts have borne impressive results. SRES has climbed from an API of 881 in 2005, to 967 in 2011. “We talk about student achievement in every meeting and it is a major focus of everything we do,” shared Venolia.

“But test scores are a snapshot in time,” acknowledged Venolia. She admits her biggest challenge is finances. “We are blessed to have a Foundation and PTA who work tirelessly for funds, but it is my hope that one day California can receive the funding these children deserve.”

Blazing the Trail

Zipping to work in her Porsche Boxster in her fashionable clothes, one can tell that Venolia values efficiency. She is on the go at home as well, supported by her husband of 25 years, Steve, her daughter, Natalie, 22, and her son, Jake, 20. She enjoys traveling and entertaining, and often spends her “downtime” hiking. But she says her secret is happiness. “At the end of the day, ask yourself, ‘Did I make the world a better place?’ That is happiness if you can say yes!”



[tabs] [tab title=”At A Glance”]

Name: Cindy Venolia
Residence: Ramona
Profession: Principal, Stone Ranch Elementary School
Education: SDSU undergrad, graduate degrees from National University
Family: Husband, Steve; daughter Natalie(22); son Jake(20)

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