Interview with Juan Santos – Principal of Maple Elementary School

Juan Santos – Principal

Fordney Foundation is very pleased and excited to present to you our first interview with the principal of an elementary school that is in our “Dancing With Our Local Schools” youth, dance program in conjunction with “Dance 4 Wellness.”

On behalf of the Fordney Foundation, we would like to thank Principal Santos of Maple Elementary School for taking time out from his busy school schedule to let us interview him.

FB: How long have you been the principal of Maple Elementary School?

JS: This is my second year as the principal of Maple.

FB: I noticed that the saying of your school is Home Of The Mustangs, how did that saying come to be?

JS: Our school mascot is a mustang. Our real saying is, “Be Your Best.” We want everyone associated with our school to be the best they are capable of being.

FB: Your school has many programs that you offer to your students: Pro Awards, Golden Pencil, Young Rembrandts, Art Masters, Music Appreciation and the Maple Band. Since your school starts with Kindergarten and goes to the 5th Grade, how old does a student have to be to be eligible for these programs?

JS: The Maple Band is open to students in grades 3 – 5. All the other programs are Kindergarten to 5th grade.

FB: Is there anything about these programs that you care to elaborate about?

JS: We strive to teach every student to be your best!

FB: How did you learn about “Dancing With Our Local Schools?”

JS: We heard about it from a 5th grade teacher at Conejo Elementary School. She loved the program.

FB: How did you learn about “Dance 4 Wellness?”

JS: We also heard about it from the same 5th grade teacher at Conejo Elementary School. She loved the program.

FB: We know that the “Dance With Our Local Schools” program runs 12 weeks. Sixty 5th grade students are selected to be part of this program. How do you decide which students will be involved?

JS: We have sixty-three 5th grade students participating, including 3 students from our autistic program. All general education 5th graders are expected, and do, participate. Our 4th graders are also participating.

FB: Now that you’ve been in the program for several weeks, how are the students doing?

JS: Great! They have overcome the awkwardness of holding hands and are enjoying learning some dance steps.

FB: Is there any one thing about the program that particularly stands out or that the students talk about?

JS: We love how it teaches and reinforces our students to pay attention and follow directions. It gets our students moving in a fun and creative way.

FB: As the principal of Maple Elementary School, what would be your number one goal for the year for your school?

JS: To “Be Your Best.”

FB: What or who inspires you?

JS: The teachers inspire me because they sacrifice so much for so little to develop the minds of students and in many cases, develop them as people with character education.

FB: What is the one thing that you would like our readers to know about you?

JS: I am a parent who struggles with life’s balancing act, however, I always give my best and would not expect what I am not capable of doing myself.

FB: What is the one thing that you would like our readers to know about Maple Elementary School?

JS: OUR school is truly a reflection of what is great about public education and the schools of the Conejo Valley Unified School District. WE do OUR best and push beyond the limitations of what WE are presented with and/or what or who WE receive. Please visit us, our doors are open to all.

Again, we’d like to thank Principal Santos for this insightful interview as well as thank you to Principal Santos’ assistant Cheryl Babcock for her time and participation.

We hope our readers will come away with an understanding of our dance program in the Conejo Valley Unified School District and be inspired by what it can do to enhance your education in the way of music, dance and social skills within the school system.


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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website