How I Got There: Education Industry | Armando Carvalho (SFS ’11)
Posted in Student & Alumni Stories
Armando Carvalho studied Regional Studies (Western Europe) in the Walsh School of Foreign Service and is now an English Teacher at Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School. Prior to then, he served as a principal at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which was when we interviewed Armando about his experience! Learn how Georgetown shaped his path, what led him to his current position, and more insights regarding the broader education industry:
What activities at Georgetown did you find the most valuable and why?
I was involved in the Georgetown Scholars Program, and I found the programming beneficial to learning how to be a professional.
How did you find your position as principal?
After Georgetown, I applied for the Partners in Los Angeles Catholic Education Corps at Loyola Marymount University. From there I was given a teaching job and continued working on my education with a second master’s degree. I then applied to be part of the pool of candidates for principal positions and was selected to be the principal of my current location.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There is never a dull moment in a principal’s office. I normally get to work around 6:45 and walk around the school plant to make sure nothing is broken or if there are homeless people on campus. I then start replying to emails until 7:20 am then my faculty and I pray together. Then I greet some students outside and return to my office around 8 am.
I then spend about an hour or two on emails and then observe the classrooms for about 20 minutes. I have frequent meetings with parents and community leaders to make sure we are getting all of the resources necessary to the school.
I usually wrap up school at around 4 pm. Most of my day involves calendaring, financial management, disciplining students, and planning events. As a Catholic school principal, I am also responsible for tuition collection and long term financial planning – it is like being a traditional public school principal along with being a CEO.
What surprised you the most when you started working at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles?
I was surprised at how hard it is to recruit students for Catholic school. Most lower-income families, which are most of the ones living in my area, cannot afford a Catholic education. I needed to create financial aid structures to ensure that no student who desires a Catholic education is turned away.
What skills are most needed in your role?
Financial management, marketing, instructional leadership, people skills, organization, long term planning.
What are the best ways for students to learn more about your industry?
Visiting your local Catholic school and observing a classroom. The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) has a great magazine called Momentum that is free online that is also an excellent resource. The best way to get into it would be to enter a UCCE (University Consortium for Catholic Education) program which offers deep discounts to get started in Catholic education.
If you could go back and change one thing, what would that be?
I would have taken Spanish in college – it would have served me well working in Hispanic communities.