by Terry Rogers
When Milford High School students returned after the summer break, they were welcomed by a new assistant principal. Rene Diaz took over the position previously held by Jesse Parsley. Parsley took the principal position vacated by Shawn Snyder who left the district at the end of the school year.
“I decided to move into administration because, as a teacher, I witnessed firsthand the impact leadership could have on the school climate, school culture and overall trajectory of a school,” Diaz said. “I felt that from a leadership position, I could effect change and provide a different perspective through my experiences and the barriers I have overcome to get where I am today.”
Diaz was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. His family is from Puerto Rico and Diaz speaks fluent Spanish. He attended the University of Delaware after high school, earning a Bachelor of Arts in American History. He then attended CUNY Law School from 2002 to 2004 before deciding to pursue a career in education.
“I moved to Sussex County and worked at Morris Early Childhood Center as the Behavior Coach from 2006 to 2007,” Diaz said. “I graduated from Wilmington University with a Master of Art in Teaching: Secondary Social Studies and worked from 2007 to 2014 as a teacher at Milford High School. During that time, I worked as the Director of the Summer Migrant Education Program through the Boys & Girls Club and, from 2014 to 2018, worked as the Director of 4-H Afterschool Programs Sussex County for the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.”
Diaz enrolled in the Educational Leadership Doctoral program at the University of Delaware in 2018. That same year, he became a Licensed School Administrator after successfully completing requirements through the Delaware Academy of School Leadership. As a requirement for that program, Diaz completed 220 mentorship hours under Dr. Jason Peel at the district office and under Snyder at the high school. In 2018-19, Diaz worked as an assistant principal at Seaford Middle School. He is still enrolled in the doctoral program and is in the portfolio stage of the degree.
“One of the greatest challenges is learning the new school systems, procedures, rules and routines,” Diaz said. “Every school and district does things differently. Luckily for me, I have previous experience working at Milford High School so not everything is completely new. I am excited to be back at Milford High School where my teaching career began. I am looking forward to the upcoming school year and doing my part to help MHS continue to grow in a positive way. One of my goals is to help support teachers so they can continue to provide quality instruction to all students.”
Diaz believes that secondary schools face a wide range of challenges today, including an increase in students willing to participate in risky behavior.
“That comes with adolescence,” Diaz said. “Students are trying to find out who they are which can lead to struggle and missteps. We have to make sure to continuously support our students academically, mentally and emotionally so they become successful adults and positive contributors in their communities.”
Diaz is married to a pediatric nurse who works for Nemours and has two sons, ages seven and nine. When he is not in school, he enjoys traveling, cooking and watching sports.
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