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California Assistant Principal of the Year From USF

Cynthia Rapaido Co-Administrator of the Year

USF's Cynthia Rapaido MA '96, EdD '11 is California's 2013 Co-administrator of the Year.


We expect educators to do more than teach our kids to read and write and do arithmetic. These days, we also want them to protect our kids, to mentor our kids, and to counsel our kids through personal and family troubles. We want them to be more than educators, which is exactly what USF's Cynthia Rapaido MA ’96, EdD ’11 is. She’s been named California’s assistant principal of the year.

Counselor, Mentor, Friend 

Rapaido spends hundreds of hours, administering booster programs, parent associations, and an athletics committee at San Mateo High School. She oversees student leadership, teacher evaluations, co-curricular activities, and other critical operations. But as the school’s primary student disciplinarian and counselor, students are her first priority. Just ask Gigi Ng who suffered from serious behavioral problems, including deep-seated anger that led to fighting and racist feelings toward others—problems that Rapaido helped her work through during her freshman and sophomore years. Today, Ng is a successful teacher with a graduate degree and credits her former counselor with helping to turn her life around.

'You were persistent and gave me hope'

“Absolutely!” Ng said, when Rapaido asked whether she could share her story. “You were the one who made the impact in my life. You should definitely mention how you’ve supported and listened to me through my struggles and continued to believe in me amidst all the troubles I brought upon you. You were persistent and gave me hope and have continued to guide me through my journey.” 

Ng wasn’t Rapaido’s only troubled student but she was a good example of what teachers and administrators encounter. “I often saw myself wearing many different hats when dealing with her: a counselor, an administrator, a big sister, a mom, a mentor," said Rapaido of Ng.

Best in California

It’s that kind of dedication to her students that led the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) to honor the former science teacher and 25-year education veteran as the 2013 Secondary Co-administrator of the Year—an award reserved for assistant principals.

“I was in shock and in total disbelief,” said Rapaido, of the moment she heard the news. “My eyes watered.” Receiving the award was a huge honor and something she'll never forget, Rapaido said.

by Ed Carpenter | Office of Communications and Marketing »email usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews