Mr. Santos

Returning SDA staff member discusses his new position in administration


Photo courtesy of Michael Santos

Michael Santos and Ty Gibson on the field

You probably know Michael Santos as the formally-dressed new assistant principal (or just that guy who wears purple a lot), but what you might not know about him is that he has a six-year-old daughter and plays video games like Starcraft and Warcraft in his free time.

Santos was born in San Diego to a military family. He lived in many different places throughout his childhood and teen years; like Guam, the Philippines, as well as other parts of the US. However, he eventually returned to his roots in San Diego. Here, he majored in biology at UCSD and received his teaching credential from San Diego State. 

After joining San Dieguito Academy in January of 2004, Santos began his education career by teaching Bio, AP Bio and AVID. He taught at Torrey Pines for several years, until eventually coming back to our school. Santos notes that, “SDA has changed a lot in 7 years.” He remembers the student population being around 1,600 students in 2014 and the campus looking vastly different than it does now. However, one thing has remained the same. “People are able to be whatever they want,” he said, noting that the culture of SDA has always been accepting of diversity. 

 He added that he initially wanted to work as a teacher within underserved communities, but realized that no matter where his students live; all of them have problems and all need help in different ways. Santos isn’t the kind of teacher that wants you to like biology, but rather, he always hopes students leave his classroom feeling like they were able to learn something they thought they couldn’t.  “Kids are kids, and they need help no matter what.” 

While Santos was a biology teacher, he hosted gatherings at the end of every semester called “Club Santos.” This club included a giant disco ball, lights and black tri-fold posters covering the windows to emulate a real dance club. It started out as a kind of metaphor to explain cellular diffusion, he said, where he would have a group of kids dance in one boxed-area while he slowly made the box larger, causing everyone to disperse. “If it’s boring, no one’s going to care,” he said while explaining his teaching philosophy. Santos says he played a lot of rap and hip-hop music on his iPod connected to a big subwoofer.

After discussing his endeavours in teaching, Santos officially said he doesn’t like pineapple on pizza, added that he would play as the purple Among Us character if he had to choose one and replied to concerns about the lack of nap-time at school by saying, “I believe it’s there, but it starts at 2:55.”