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February 28, 2024

Braxton speaks louder than Words

Braxton+speaks+louder+than+Words

As Gerald Braxton stood in the middle of the Gil Asa gym and looked out to the sea of students at Freshman Orientation on Sep. 11, He could see there was a sense of comradery between the ninth graders and his July appointment as PRHS Assistant Principal. Both are new to Paso Robles High School. 

“I want the freshman to concentrate on the fact that I am there to help no matter what, no matter how big or how small you think the problem is, come to me,” Braxon said about the challenges of starting at a new school. 

Braxton spoke to the 200 freshmen from a place of candidness as both the assistant principal and as the ninth-grade administrator who is specializing in the overseeing and discipline of the class of 2025.  Similar to one of PRHS’s counselors, he will work with these freshmen until they are seniors and they graduate. 

His campus-style after a day or two on campus after the Aug. 19 start was noted by many as friendly and approachable as he introduced himself to students he did not know and began the process of building a new high school home. However, on the fourth day of school, he was sent to the hospital with a head injury due to a confrontation between a student and a community member just outside of our campus gates. The staff and students of PRHS were quick to send their support to their new assistant principal by sending well-wishing cards, chalking the font of the office, and signing a football helmet.

“I was really dumbfounded by the amount of support I had… I was only there for three weeks and then the first four days of school… It’s like wow, I don’t even know these people”

Braxton said, specifically wanting to thank everyone for their phone calls, texts, emails, cards, letters, and gifts.

Receiving his Bachelor’s in Psychology and Masters in Education at CSU Stanislaus as well as a California certification as a School Counselor and School Administrator, Braxton is accustomed to being in leadership positions with his 39 years of work experience. Yet, Braxton is also fairly diverse with the jobs he has held. From working in education for 20 years, being a factory foreman for 13 ½ years, to a Juvenile Probation Officer for 13 years, he is able to apply the four decades of experience to his job now as PRHS’ newest assistant principal.

“An important quality you can have as a leader is to listen first, and speak little,” Braxton said. “They [my past experience] prepared me with the skill-set to work with very diverse people, culture and beliefs, fix and growth mindset thinking.”

Principal Anthony Overton was on the interviewing panel for the position after Tom Harrington left to become the District Director of Student Services. He described the attributes of a good assistant principal and what he was looking for in the candidates: a love for students and a drive to make the school a better place, the ability to put in hard work, and a strong work ethic because the high school runs 20 hours a day, six days a week. 

“Right from his interview, I think my first thought was that it was so clear that he was all about kids. He comes from a long history of serving students and is going to help us increase the support for all of our students so they can be successful while they’re here. We’re just excited to have his experience and his background and his perspective on campus.” 

Anthony Overton, Principal of PRHS

This year Braxton will be in charge of the social-emotional learning opportunities during the Thursday tutorials are meant to provide. According to Overton, these tutorials are going to center around presenting materials that are going to engage students and foster conversations about kindness, acceptance, inclusivity, equity, and mental health.

Though discipline plays a major role in his job as an administrator, Braxton plans on focusing on student achievement, solution focus, and “continuous improvement.” He has also maintained a mantra of forming connections with students. 

“In all my years as a leader in law enforcement and education, I have come to know that when people feel connected, and feel a sense of purpose they feel they belong and thrive in their endeavors,” Braxton said.

Brandon Nguyen, 9

And make connections he did. Freshman Class President Brandon Nguyen was at Orientation and was able to hear Braxton speak to the class of 2025. He looks forward to collaborating with Braxton in years to come. 

“He was a very pumped up, energetic guy, and I really liked his vibe. He was pretty cool.”

Brandon Ngyuen, Freshman Class President

Though a specific date is not yet set for his return to campus, Braxon is still keeping up with the activities going on at PRHS. With an avid love for sports as a cross country and track star in his youth, he looks forward to seeing all the extracurriculars Paso has to offer.

“I really liked the sporting events, and I’m just floored missing football right now… I was a cross country and track guy, and then you know that’s why I kept my grades up so I could run track. If it wasn’t for that athletic piece I don’t know how well I would do academics,” Braxton said. 

Gerald Braxton running in a 1974 Cross Country Race (provided by Braxton)

As Braxon looks to foster connections among himself, students, staff, and the extracurriculars on campus, he comes in with the mindset of an athlete.

 “My coaches always told us to let our ‘running do your talking’ and that’s kind of my philosophy of life. I just let [my actions] do my talking.”

Gerald Braxon
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