Meet Our New Vice Principal, Ms. Watson


Arely M. Gomez Hernandez

The Preuss School UC San Diego appointed Ms. Nelika-Fai Watson as its new vice principal after a nationwide search, on November 9, 2020.

“I got a call to meet Dr. Steitz and Dr. Griffith via Zoom, to get notified that I was selected to become the new vice principal of the Preuss school,” Ms. Watson, said [over zoom]. “However, I still had to go through the higher process.”

In the past, Ms. Watson worked as an educator in Baltimore County, Maryland, where she taught middle school and in Washington D.C., where she taught first grade. She has served in many teacher-leader roles, including department chair, team lead, and mentor teacher at a sixth to twelfth grade turnaround school in Baltimore City . She has also served as Assistant Principal in Baltimore City and as Director of School Strategy and Logistics in Washington, D.C. 

Ms. Watson brings plenty of experience and knowledge to Preuss, which could be very beneficial and helpful in areas such as leadership and in school safety. She also brings special talents, one being a championship hula hooper. 

“No one can beat me in hula hoop,” Ms. Watson said. “If anyone would like to challenge me, I will take all challengers.”

She carries multiple ideas and plans she would like to perform and develop further, such as changing some policies. 

“I am looking forward to updating our discipline handbook and updating our dress code, just because there are a couple of things that I believe could be a little bit more modern, that fit the era we live in,” Ms. Watson stated. “We could also modify the academics dishonesty policy, because it is a little extensive and I believe that it could be simplified a little bit.” 

Working remotely could be very frustrating for many people and inconvenient, but Ms. Watson assures that working via Zoom is not as bad as it seems. She has adapted and sees the bright side of it. 

 “As much as I want to be on campus and as much as I am used to that way of education, I think that the pandemic has been able to show us a lot of ways to do things,” Ms. Watson expressed. “It has helped me to gradually learn about Preuss, in a not too fast of a pace and so I believe that it may be beneficial to have started off campus.” 

However, she still has many concerns about her students’ engagement in school and how this transition has affected them.

“My main concerns are students becoming disengaged in the learning process, students deciding that they no longer like school and also that we might overlook those students for whom this has been a good transition.” Ms. Watson stated. “For these issues, we have thought of multiple solutions. Such as bringing remote learning as a reality and doing an online course where students don’t have to use zoom and don’t have to come into the classroom, so they can have more flexibility with the way they learn and become more engaged.”

Overall, Ms. Watson has plenty of expectations and projects ready to perform. And her number one vision is to raise Preuss towards victory accompanied by Dr. Steitz, Dr. Griffith, and the rest of the Preuss community.

“My vision for Preuss is that we are fulfilling our mission and that we are used as a model for other schools, to show how teaching and learning is done,” Ms. Watson said. “My vision for Preuss, is to make it greater than it already is.” 

Ms. Watson is a person who has many visions and goals, who is looking forward to working with Preuss, making it grow and she states to feel very excited to be part of the Preuss community. 

“I’m very happy and excited for becoming the new vice principal of the Preuss school and I just feel like I have found a place that I belong to,” Ms. Watson, vice principal, stated. “It has been welcoming to me, and it makes me feel very accepted.”