Our Principal

Dear Foster Elementary School Community, 

I am so excited to start my 3rd year as your Principal at Foster Elementary.  It is an honor to lead a school with such persevering students, an extremely dedicated staff, and a supportive school community.  I feel fortunate to be part of this school and to support the students, families, and community. This will be my 36th year in education, working with students in kindergarten through 8th grades. Although I have always felt at home in the classroom, it is in my position as an educational coach and administrator where I have been most fulfilled in my life’s work. I started my formal education earning my Bachelor of Music Degree from UC Irvine and made the transition into education in graduate school. I earned my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership at SDSU and have been a teacher leader in many capacities throughout my career. My first leadership opportunities were all in the areas of science education as a science mentor, staff developer, and advisor to the California State Board of Education for science adoptions. I have led as a Vice Principal in Santee School District for 5 years, was a new teacher coach for 5 years in La Mesa and was a classroom teacher for 29 years. This elementary principalship will provide me the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Foster teachers and staff, while also remaining connected to young students learning and growing in the classroom. I am looking forward to working with the staff and community as a partner in education, facilitating the growth of instructional practices in the Science of Reading, music and arts programs, and growing our garden and health programs at Foster. 

On a personal note, other than my time away at college, I have lived in San Diego County my whole life. I have three amazing sons who have taught me that every child is uniquely different. My oldest son, Jason and his wife live in Portland, Oregon where he works in social work. My middle son, Matt, is a former force recon Marine. He and his wife and my 2 grandkids live in Arizona where he is in a CRNA residency. My youngest son Codi and his wife are completing their orthodontics residency at Tufts and Harvard in Boston. My family’s experiences have given me a great appreciation for the partnerships between school and family that support every child to reach their potential. 

I view education as a life-long process and expect that I will continue to learn much about the uniqueness of Foster Elementary and the Allied Gardens community this year and in the years to come. Most importantly, I bring a belief that students are at the center of all school-related decisions. I am eager to unite my experience, my openness to learn, and my child-centered approach, to support our students. Because the relationships between families and the school are vital to the success of our students, I encourage you to become involved in every way possible.  I look forward to an amazing year with you and your children.  

Leah Saunders

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