The Southern California Conference Department of Education is pleased to introduce two new principals who will begin the 2017-2018 school year: Laura Williams will lead Los Angeles Adventist Academy, and Sheldon Parris will be the principal of San Fernando Valley Academy in Northridge. Both are experienced educators, bringing excitement and inspiration to their schools.

Laura Williams to Head LAAA

Laura WIlliams
Laura WIlliams

Laura Williams, Ed.D., was recently called to be the principal of Los Angeles Adventist Academy, following a vote by the school board. Williams, an experienced educator in the Boston public school system, was employed most recently as an Inclusion Specialist, co-teaching children with learning disabilities.

Williams taught for 16 years in Boston. “I was educated through the graduate level in Adventist schools, and I want to give back to Adventist education,” she said. “I am a strong proponent of Christian education and am thankful that the Lord led me here to Los Angeles Adventist Academy.”

“I am a witness to how the Lord led in bringing Dr. Williams to LAAA,” said J.P. Willis II, an associate superintendent of the SCC Department of Education and chair of the LAAA personnel committee. “I am confident she will provide a strong ministry that educates our young men and women to fulfill God’s plan in their lives. She is a longtime local church leader from the East Coast, who comes with many years of classroom instructional leadership and a doctorate in school administration.”

Sheldon Parris Joins San Fernando Valley Academy

Sheldon Parris
Sheldon Parris

Sheldon Parris, M.A., the new principal at San Fernando Valley Academy, was introduced to Adventist education at the age of 16 after coming to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago. He graduated from Portland Adventist Academy and Walla Walla University, earning an undergraduate degree in theology. He holds a master’s degree in education leadership.

Parris first considered teaching when he got a call from Harold Crook, SCC superintendent of education. He had been a Bible teacher, dean and dorm chaplain at Newbury Park Adventist Academy for three years when he became vice principal. Parris also spent a year as principal of Portland Adventist Academy.

The bigger picture of Parris’ vision includes remembering the school’s mission of getting students to heaven, in addition to offering state of the art technology, a revamped sports program, advanced art options, opportunities for students to earn money for their school bills and a renovated campus that reflects God and the quality within.

“For me, it is very personal, because Adventist education introduced me to Jesus Christ as a teenager,” said Parris. “I’m passionate about it because it changed my life. I want that same experience for every kid that walks through those doors every day. I want them to see Him clearly, to know Him and to love Him. I understand Adventist education is more than the academics, more than the sports, more than the grades; it’s placing Christ in the center of all we do. We do our best because Christ expects the best from us.”