Jessie Prado

One time Isbell student has been campus supervisor since 1994

October 14, 2011
Santa Paula News

Jessie Prado probably never thought she’d be back on the Isbell Middle School campus as an employee when she attended there in the late 1980s. She did return as a campus supervisor at the age of 19 in 1994. Back then the job was part time. Now she’s there eight hours a day as a “Mom” (as she says) to the students.  

When she was there as a student, Isbell was a junior high and only had 7th and 8th grade students. She thinks that was better. “Personally I think that 6th graders are too young to be here,” she said. “That’s my mom side talking. I think it makes them grow up too fast.” She noted the school was more rugged when she was a student and the gangs were more prominent.  

She added she wanted to work at Isbell because she feels middle school is a very important place in the teen years. “This is the testing ground for a lot of different stuff,” she said. “When you get to high school you already know who you are, but you test the waters in middle school. It’s a real critical time in a teenager’s life. I wanted to work here. I wanted to be a part of that, watching over not only my own kids but all the kids.”

She also said Isbell holds a lot of memories for her. “I got married while I was working here. I’ve had three of my children while working here. My third child is coming through here. So, I think it’s been really important for me to be here.”

Isbell’s long-time Assistant Principal George Alessi has very high praise for Prado. He said she was there when he came on as assistant principal in 2001. “What I noticed more than anything else was that she had a tremendous amount of energy,” he said. 

“She was constantly being approached by kids who were seeking her advice and her encouragement. This was before she was involved in things like wrestling and the parent group. I think she actually was going through a time when she was growing herself and demonstrating her own level of confidence in talking with kids about doing better in school, obeying their teachers and following the rules. She would pay particular attention to the importance of being honest with yourself.”

He said that has been a tremendous help to him. “If I’m having an issue with a child, if there’s been some sort of a behavior issue, I will call for the campus supervisors to go pick up the student in the class for me,” he noted. “It would be typical for Jessie, because she cares about kids, as she’s bringing the child into my office to say just tell him the truth. And I re-emphasize that and she’s a tremendous help that way.”

Alessi said Prado has branched out in an extracurricular way. She was a major force in starting the Parents For Isbell group and is the vice president for the group. She also volunteers with the wrestling program. The parent group and ASB work together on things like “Spirit Fridays” and regular evening dances.

He noted that when he first began teaching he would say, “Dear Lord, don’t let me forget what it’s like to be a kid. I have a funny feeling that Jessie has said the same prayer, because she remembers what it’s like to be a kid and she remembers what it’s like to be a kid in Santa Paula. All of this from someone who has high ethics and morals and is just a darn good mom.”

Principal Dr. Laura Rynot said Prado is fabulous. “She’s coordinated the parent group and has greatly increased participation. She coordinates between the parent group and the ASB as well. She’s done a great job.”

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