Byrd leaves his mark on RHS



Last week, RHS principal David participated in Future Business Leader of America Club’s “Stuck for a Buck “ fundraiser in which students and staff paid to tape Byrd to a wall.


His first year at RHS, Principal David Byrd stood in the amphitheater with his fellow administrators after being asked to participate in the ice bucket challenge, ready to be drenched by the vat of ice. Now it’s five years later, and Roseville High’s Future Business Leaders of America club asked Byrd to take part in a fundraiser for their state conference — and specifically to allow students and teachers to pay for pieces of duct tape to attempt to stick him to the brick wall in that very same amphitheater.

Byrd agreed.

For Byrd, this was the perfect bookend to his experience at Roseville High School, which will draw to a close this month. It was a job experience that allowed him to get out and connect with the students he is working with, whether at rallies, school events, or around campus.

“I remember all those things fondly,” Byrd said. “I’ve tried to save little mementos of those things over the years to just remind me of how much I’ve enjoyed it here.”

In the 2014-2015 school year, Byrd stepped onto Roseville High School’s campus as its newly appointed principal, entering into the position after his previous time working as principal at Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove Unified School District. Though he will now be returning to Elk Grove as director of learning and support services this month, in the time he has been at Roseville he has seen RHS develop new programs, new student interventions and new curriculum.


If it’s going to help make this place a better place, he was on board with it, no matter where the idea came from.

— Assistant Principal Matt Pipitone

When Byrd initially applied for the position at RHS, he did so finding that the school and its history fit his personality, and particularly the school’s mission statement – that ‘working together we will prepare every student for post-secondary education.’ Through his time at RHS, Byrd aimed to help the school live up to that mission statement and continue with the practices that made the school stand out to him in the first place.

To do this, Byrd set his focus on supporting programs that develop life skills, such as CTE courses.

Before coming to RHS, the school sported three CTE programs in Culinary, Media Productions and Computer Science. As his time at RHS draws to an end, RHS has added Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science and Engineering to the list, with Photography working on becoming one as well.

Byrd worked to bring the PLTW programs to RHS by learning from Antelope High School’s functioning PLTW programs, acquiring funds from the district, and sending interested teachers to PLTW trainings so they could begin offering them the 2015-2016 school year.

PLTW Biomed teacher Erin Granucci feels that Byrd was essential in getting the program off the ground.

During his tenure at Roseville High School, principal David Byrd promoted the development and growth of elective programs such as Project Lead the Way Biomed and Engineering in order for students to develop technical skills that extend outside of RHS.

“Mr. Byrd is the reason why PLTW is here at RHS,” Granucci said. “He encouraged us to bring PLTW to RHS and allowed us to put our own twist on the courses. He has always been an active participant and the greatest support to PLTW teachers and students.”

Outside of CTE courses, Byrd set out to help all elective programs and extracurriculars that allow students to gain life skills for the future, including VAPA classes, AVID and Peer Helping, believing this is key in preparing students for the real world.

This included becoming involved in the activities these programs set up. Starting his first year at RHS, Byrd joined Peer Helping as a speaker for their “Got Love?” Spring assembly, and has joined at each of the following ever since. To help out Roseville High School’s AVID program, Byrd went along with the program to recruit new students at middle schools. He feels he wanted to do everything he could to build on the programs that are shaping the students of RHS.

“Being involved in the school in some other context… that’s a well-rounded human being,” Byrd said. “That’s a human being that’s going to take a well-rounded skill set out in the world, and they’re going to do just fine.”

One of the greatest challenges Byrd feels the school faced during his time at RHS was the shift to a new curriculum — to new Common Core standards, new standardized testing and an all new Integrated Math system.

But for Byrd this was a challenge “every school was facing” and one he knew RHS was well-equipped to handle.

It’s not exactly the same where you get to know [students] the same way. And that’s what I’ll miss the most.

— Principal David Byrd

To give extra help with students who might be struggling, Byrd worked with other RHS staff to develop the ROAR support period students have between their first and second period classes, studying other schools that had implemented such interventions successfully and setting up the period within two months.

For assistant principal Matt Pipitone, this is part of what made Byrd so impactful as a principal, even from the beginning. His first year at RHS, before having ever had the chance to acclimate to the school and work with RHS’ students, his administrative team had proposed a new idea to kick off the school year – spending the first day putting students through a mock rotation of their classes that semester. Though no students or staff had participated in these rotations before, and Byrd was entirely new to the school, he gave it his best shot. RHS has continued to hold this day of rotations ever since.

“He has a real attitude of ‘let’s do this right. Let’s make this happen,’” Pipitone said. “Whatever the crazy idea may be. If it’s going to help make this place a better place, he was on board with it, no matter where the idea came from.”

For Byrd, the most important part in his role as principal was to leave what he felt made RHS so strong in place, take time before making changes and help others carry through their vision for interventions and courses. This is something English and AVID teacher Kelly Capell valued in her time working with him.

“We have a staff and a campus and students who are steeped in tradition that we really appreciated and value, and he quickly saw that,” Capell said. “He really listened and made us feel heard, and that’s something that you will really fight for.”

From his experience working both at district positions and on school campuses before, Byrd anticipates the most difficult part in leaving RHS will be not having that same connection with the students and teachers on the school campus.

“I’m going to be at schools, and I’m going to be on campuses, and I’m going to be around kids,” Byrd said. “But it’s not exactly the same where you get to know them the same way. And that’s what I’ll miss the most.”