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MEET YOUR PRINCIPAL Alex Trujillo, Centennial High School

Principal Alex Trujillo stands next to a sculpture of a bulldog at Centennial HSAfter serving in several middle schools for the majority of his career, Alex Trujillo returns to Centennial – where he began his high-school teaching career – to serve as principal.

Alex was appointed to replace Dave Craddock, who retired earlier in the spring semester.

Although Alex knew he wanted to serve youth as a coach, he wasn’t initially sure education was the career he wanted to pursue.

“After high school, I knew that I wanted to coach football,” he said. “The relationships with teammates and coaches, and the camaraderie, was something I wanted to continue to be a part of.

“But I was not sure about teaching. So, while attending college to be a social worker, I began coaching football and realized that helping people to reach their full potential was something that I wanted to do. I decided to change majors and began working towards my degree in English with a minor in secondary education.”

Alex earned that credential and began his career in the District.

“My first position out of college was as an English as a Second Language teacher, splitting my day at Freed Middle School and South High School,” he said. 

Through the relationships he formed with his students, Alex knew he had found his calling.

“It was and still is rewarding when students are successful through hard work and determination,” he said.  

After a year as an ESL teacher, Alex accepted an English teaching position at Corwin. He also began working on his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.

“I knew early on in my career that I eventually wanted to work toward a principalship. But at that time, I was focused on teaching and coaching,” he said. 

After four years at Corwin, Alex moved over to Roncalli, where he spent 14 years. There, he taught English and served as an Instructional Coach and Behavior Interventionist

“After a total of 18 years at the middle school level and as an assistant football coach at (alma mater) South, I decided I wanted a change and began looking for a high school teaching position,” Alex said. “I landed at Centennial, where I taught freshman and sophomore English. 

"Additionally, Javin Baker, the principal at that time, provided me the opportunity to cover in the office as Teacher in Charge and asked me to do some instructional coaching.”

This experience, Alex believes, solidified his foundation as he began to pursue an administrative position.

That phase of his career began in 2018 at Central, where he assumed the role of Assistant Principal.

“While at Central, we worked with external partners Relay GSE and University of Virginia, and our work eventually pulled Central out of Turnaround status on the State Performance Framework,” he said.

Like his predecessor Mr. Craddock, Alex is in the unique position of leading the Bulldogs after time as a rival Wildcat.

Alex said his leadership style is based on coaching, specifically on bolstering relationships, a strong culture and a growth mindset.

“I want everyone at Centennial to reach their full potential,” he said. “The positive impact you can make on students and lead them to the opportunities that they are not aware of is my greatest motivator. 

“I will make decisions based on the interest of students, what's best for them, and what’s best for the community. I want everyone to know that I want to work together to make Centennial the best high school it can be.”