Our Principal

Meet Fernando Hernandez

Our school has gone to many places.

We have been to Washington, DC several time with our 5th grade and 8th grade students.  We have been to Russia to the cities of Novocherkassk and to Vladivostok to visit our sister schools.  The members of our Russian club have made the visit.  We have been to space.  Members of our Astronomy club sent a weather balloon with a GPS device and a camera that took pictures.  The balloon rose to 22 miles before bursting and falling to the desert near the Salton Sea.  It took us about a week to find it.  Our eight grade students go on a week long trip to visit several universities from Sacramento all the way down to Los Angeles.   When the pandemic began we had to pause these trips but we hope to begin repeating these amazing learning experiences for students. 

My goal as principal is to show students what is out there beyond their community. We have many programs to engage students and their families and to educate them beyond the classroom.

We started an Astronomy Club, and our first project was launching a weather balloon with cameras attached, which advanced our students' understanding of the stratosphere.

We have a Russian Club and maintain an active partnership with a Russian sister school, including exchanges and visits. Not only do our students learn another language, they learn another culture and expand their horizons.

My personal interest in Russia started when I was young and the Soviet Union was considered our enemy. I wanted to learn more about what made that country tick, and I felt cramped when people told me that as a Mexican-American kid I could not possibly learn the Russian language or the long complex history of that nation. I became determined to prove them wrong, so I studied Russian at the University of California, Los Angeles, and I earned my bachelor's degree in political science.

I believe no one should tell children that their possiblities are limited. That's why I became a teacher.

One day fate clarified my world view. The school dismissal bell rang on Feb. 26, 1998, and at 3:18 p.m. my student stood on the corner outside school with his mother. A drunk driver struck him with his car. The boy, who had been an inspiration in the classroom, so bright and full of promise, was killed.

As we all dealt with the tragedy, I vowed that I would work harder to reach more children and to make a difference in their lives. I became a school principal, and now I bring that dedication to Perkins where I see our programs taking effect before my very eyes.

Principal at white house
Principal Hernandez, left, leads fifth graders on annual trip to Washington, D.C.

Arriving in Russia
The principal leads a group on a tour of Russia and Perkin's sister school there.

Russians with Principal
Principal Hernandez, left, with community members and Russian educators on an exchange visit.

Perkins is a school in perpetual motion. Among our many programs is our annual trip to Washington, D.C., concluding our study of American history. Our students learn about goal setting, for they raise their own funds for the trip. When they tour our nation's capital, they can see and feel much more about what our country means. They learn far beyond the classroom lessons, important life skills like ettiquette, the practical experience of travel, crossing time zones and even jet lag!

We welcome all to come see our amazing Perkins students in action!

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