By Cari Slater
Special to the Alpine Mountaineer
Jaclyn Loncteaux, the new principal of Lake Arrowhead Elementary School (LAE), has come home.
Having grown up in Lake Arrowhead, Loncteaux attended LAE as a student.
However, Loncteaux says, “I did not ever plan on becoming a principal.”
Loncteaux attended California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a minor in English. She then acquired a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and started teaching at a precarious time when teachers were being laid off frequently. To market herself better in the teaching arena, she went on to also obtain a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English.
She began her career teaching eighth-grade English in the Rialto Unified School District and, after a while, transitioned into teaching third grade.
“I liked to teach cross-curricularly and you can do that in third grade,” said Loncteaux.
Although she never planned to go into educational administration, people in her life kept telling her that she would be a great fit for the work. Due to the encouragement of those around her, she chose a master’s program in Educational Administration at CSUSB to explore that line of work. She was given the opportunity to take a position as an Instructional Strategist and Coach.
“I loved doing instructional coaching,” said Loncteaux.
Once she stepped into educational administration, she climbed the ladder to the position of assistant principal in the Rialto Unified School District. When the principal position opened at LAE, Loncteaux did not immediately decide to apply.
“I attended LAE from kindergarten through sixth grade, when they used to teach sixth grade here. My dad went here too,” said Loncteaux.
One of Loncteaux’s formative memories of attending LAE is when she participated in the “Dragon Reading Program” as an upper classman who mentored younger students with their reading.
“I think that was the beginning of me wanting to become a teacher,” she said.
Her childhood experience with that program shaped her future as a reader and teacher and she is very interested in continuing the current “Reading Buddy” program at the school.
“I do a lot of reading—I read 50 books last year,” said Loncteaux.
As a local who grew up here, many people reached out to Loncteaux about the open principal position, urging her to apply.
When Loncteaux considered the job, she realized how meaningful it would be to make a difference in the community she grew up in and where she was raising her own children.
“I felt that I had an impact in Rialto and I wanted to have that same impact here where I live,” said Loncteaux.
The story came full circle when Loncteaux applied and was named the new principal of the very elementary school she attended herself and that her children would attend.
Loncteaux and her husband have two daughters. They waited to share the news with their eldest daughter until it was officially board approved. They knew she would be very excited and maybe unable to wait to share the information with others. Both girls are ecstatic with their mother’s new position. One currently attends LAE and the other is envious and asks, “When do I get to be with Mommy and sister?”
After holding her new position for a few months, Loncteaux is happy with her transition.
“The staff here is one of the most experienced and caring that I have ever worked with,” said Loncteaux.
Another perk of her new position is that her commute has been greatly decreased. Loncteaux is looking forward to becoming more involved with the community she now serves. From attending district-wide fundraisers to other community events, she wants to build supportive relationships with members of the community.
“I think it’s important to be there now that I can,” said Loncteaux.
Loncteaux went from a district leadership staff of 200 to a staff of 20 at Rim of the World Unified School District. She says that with a smaller staff, you really get to know one another better.
“The district leadership staff feels like a family—we all really look out for each other,” said Loncteaux.
In fact, Loncteaux’s husband, Christopher, is part of that Rim of the World Unified School District family; he is the Math TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) for the district.
In addition to attending community events and an avid love for reading, the Loncteaux family also enjoys wakeboarding, kayaking, snowboarding, hiking and traveling. Growing up in the local community and participating in outdoor activities was very important to Loncteaux and she is glad she gets to share that with her children.
“I’m so happy that my daughters get to have what I had growing up here. That’s really important to me,” said Loncteaux.
When asked what advice Longteaux has for her students, she said, “Be kind, read books, stay weird” and “Get outside.”