Zunino is new principal for South Tahoe High

Laney Griffo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Former South Tahoe High School assistant principal Justin Zunino has taken on the role of the school’s principal.

Justin Zunino

Zunino has been with STHS for six years but has more than two decades of education experience. He grew up in Chester, Calif., near Lake Almanor then moved to Chico where he worked in a school district for 17 years.

His wife, Nicole, was a middle school counselor in the school district and the two of them started traveling together.

“We started learning that about ourselves, and we started to look and went to Tahoe and ended up camping here quite a bit and boating and just really loved the area,” Zunino said.

So, when jobs opened up for them in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, they jumped on the opportunity to move here.

They have twin daughters and Zunino was excited about raising them in Lake Tahoe.

After six years as assistant principal, Zunino is looking forward to his next role with the school.

“It’s a dream to work at the school, I love working with the staff,” Zunino said. “I’m just super excited to get up every morning and come here and work with our kids, interact with our community, we have a very supportive community.”

Zunino said his main focus in his new role is on learning.

“Part of our focus around professional development this year is determining essential learning and then assessment of that learning,” Zunino said.

He’s helped implement a new “collaboration Wednesday.” Each Wednesday, staff from all of the schools in the district will meet and collaborate.

“All those Wednesday collaboration days will be spent looking at data pertaining to learning and working together to improve our practices and increase learning for all students,” Zunino said.

He is also focusing on student engagement, something that has been even more of a challenge since the pandemic.

“Show me a student that is engaged and I’ll show you a student that is successful,” Zunino said.

Finally, he wants to improve the school’s recognition of student success, as well as recognizing student’s backgrounds and identifies.

“We’re trying to be intentional about creating an environment where students feel seen and where they have a sense of belonging,” Zunino said.

While he said they do have work to do in that aspect, he’s optimistic about the future.

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