Going into his fourth year as principal of La Paloma High School, Chris Holland has found his groove. He spends his days managing his small student body of 130 and working with his staff to make each student feel respected and listened to.
“My favorite part of the job is interacting with students,” Holland said. “That’s what brings life to the job.”
As a completion school, Holland fears La Paloma is perceived by the general public as a den of criminals and drug addicts. He said it isn’t anything like that, and his kids are doing well.
“This is a good place for kids,” Holland said. “A school of 2,800, like Liberty, doesn’t work for everyone. Some of the kids here — why they thrive is because they know people care about them ... Kids are kids, and our kids are rising to the occasion.”
During his time at La Paloma, Holland has completed a number of projects, but one he is most proud of is receiving recognition from the state, naming his school as a Model Continuation High School. He said they applied for the certification his first year, but the application didn’t make it over the hurdle.
“We applied the following year,” he said. “At that point I was here a little longer, had a better understanding of the school and what areas I wanted to focus on ... and the committee gave us the recognition.”
Holland lives in Brentwood with his wife and two sons. He enjoys playing fantasy football and watching his sons’ sports games. His students are likely to see him running errands or taking his family out to dinner.