Principal's Page

Principal, Barry ZeaitGreetings SEMS Families,

My name is Barry Zeait and it is with extreme gratitude and excitement that I introduce myself as the new Principal of San Elijo Middle School. I am thrilled to join the rich traditions of the Eagles family. As Dr. DeBora begins his new assignment at the District Office, I know that I have big shoes to fill. Please know that Dr. DeBora and I are in constant communication, and you may rest assured that we will do our best to ensure that this transition will be as smooth as possible. I will be working closely with our hard working and dedicated Assistant Principals John Livingston, Lisann Selph, and our SEMS staff to make sure that our entire SEMS learning community is supported as we make this shift in leadership. 

I have been passionately dedicated to the field of education -- and to SMUSD -- now for nearly 20 years. I started working in the San Marcos Unified School District not long after moving from Australia in 2001. At that time, San Marcos and in particular San Elijo  was a nascent community. I’ve had the honor of watching it grow into a thriving, progressive and family oriented community, where parents value the role of education in their children’s lives. My journey to SEMS began with my 18 years at San Marcos High School, first as a History teacher, then ASB Director, and most recently as Assistant Principal. As an Assistant Principal, I have worked closely with the San Elijo student population where many of our Eagles have become Knights. I have always been in awe of the way our Eagles are prepared, confident, and ready to excel from day one at high school, due in large part to the extremely talented and gifted staff at SEMS and the community support of San Elijo Middle School.

We face both excitement and challenges in the next few weeks as I enter into this new role and prepare to welcome our students back after more than a year away from campus. Our work is just beginning; we recognize that this is the time when your student will need us the most. They will require our compassion, empathy, and love to get them through this difficult transition. We will have 6th grade students who have never set foot on our campus, 7th grade students who have only just gotten their feet wet with middle school before moving into distance learning, and 8th grade students who will have only a quarter remaining before moving to high school. I, too, have children who are going through distance learning and as a parent I can empathize with the angst and anxiety that this situation we are currently in has on our children; My 13 year old son and 11 and 8 year old daughters have been in distance learning since last March 13, 2020. Rest assured that I hear and share your concerns for your children and your families and I am committed to continuing the legacy of success at SEMS. 

I know we anticipate a return date in the coming weeks. Our staff is willing and eager to welcome your students back, but in order to do so we must make sure we have implemented  all possible  safety measures for a safe and healthy return. This means that things will look a little different for our Eagles. Next week, I will be sending a video that will show the safety protocols, check-in procedures and what a day in the life of a student will look like upon returning to school in-person. Please share this video with your children and so that you and they may become familiar with the new safety procedures being put into place.

To our 8th grade families: your students’ promotion celebration is a key priority. I believe our students deserve an opportunity to celebrate their hard-earned achievements. I have had some discussion with the PTO and other stakeholders on what promotion celebration may look like. As current conditions change almost daily, we are planning various options so that we are prepared to roll out a fantastic celebration for your students, depending on what the situation may be in June. 

I hope to meet many of you soon. I encourage our families to get involved with our PTO and help support our programs and opportunities that are provided for our EAGLES. It is my goal to continue to offer programs that are relevant, exciting, and help to build strong relationships with parents, students, and community partners.

The SEMS learning community is deeply committed to making sure that your child feels loved and cared for. We value every child at SEMS as being unique, talented, and gifted. When we as a community form a strong partnership, one that is rooted in the pursuit of every child's success, it can only strengthen our commitment to your student. When our students see parents and the school continue to work together for the common good, the possibilities are endless and dreams will become realities for our kids.

I am honored to lead your children into their futures. Thank you families of SEMS.


Barry Zeait

San Elijo Middle School Principal

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