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Our High School Principals

A Deeper Look
Our principals together on Miami High campus

      The principals of Miami Senior High School play a pivotal role in the lives of the student body, faculty, and staff. We see them every day, but many of us cannot imagine the full scope of responsibilities they routinely face, not to mention a few telling facts about these remarkable individuals.  


      Head principal, Mr. Valdes, was born and raised in Miami. But Mr. Arscott, Mr. Zabala, Ms. Barreto, and Ms. Ceballos originally resided in other places before arriving here.  

      Mr. Zabala was born in Cuba and left with his parents when he was an infant. His parents went to Spain and lived there for six months, before going to Puerto Rico and living there for a year and a half. He arrived in Miami when he was nearly three years old.  

      Ms. Ceballos was born in Puerto Rico. She moved to the United States when she was three years old. After spending a portion of her childhood in Connecticut, she came to Miami at age five. 

     Mr. Arscott was born in Jamaica, but his parents brought him here when he was a child. Ms. Barreto was born in Havana, Cuba. She was raised in Queens, New York, and New Jersey and moved to Miami because her parents went to retire here. 

Favorite Aspects 

    Our administration has similar goals for the students. When asked, “What are your favorite aspects of being a high school principal?”, they all agreed their favorite part was working with students. Ms. Ceballos said, “The greatest joy that I have at my job is working with the students, the teachers, and my team to make sure that all of our students are ready to graduate. Making sure every student is happy and healthy is one of my greatest concerns.” 

Greatest Challenge

The administration all collectively agreed that working with the students is also the greatest challenge. Assistant principal Mr. Zabala elaborated. “It is getting kids to understand the important of being educated,” he said. “A lot of children may see an assignment as just a piece of paper, but they must acknowledge that the piece of paper is critical to living a successful and fulfilling life.”

Professional Goals 

  The professional goals of our principals are in the best interest of Miami High. “I would like for our school to be at the same or close to the level it was at prior to COVID,” said Ms. Ceballos. She explained how the pandemic caused a lot of learning loss among the students.  

   Mr. Arscott’s goal is to teach the students more about life. “If they want to go to school, getting them into college is my main concern,” he said. “I also want to teach other students who don’t want to go to college that there are other paths to take. Getting every child to reach their goals is my goal.” 

Normal Workdays 

   Coming to work can be challenging, but our principals all have something they look forward to. Mr. Valdes stated, “Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces is what makes it all worthwhile.”  

   Ms. Ceballos replied, “I enjoy learning from my teachers, and I’m always impressed by what they’re discussing, how they’re analyzing literature or how they’re solving a math problem. I’m always amazed by the continuous creativity in the classroom.” 

Other Possible Careers 

      Leading a high school is not the only career choice considered by our administrators.  Ms. Barreto said, “If I didn’t get into the education field, I would’ve probably stayed a psychologist.” Mr. Zabala would’ve been a Navy pilot. Mr. Arscott initially wanted to be an orthodontist or an investment banker.  

   Mr. Valdes disclosed he probably would’ve been working somewhere in the construction industry because he grew up doing that with his father. He said, “I would’ve been an architect or general contractor.” He later humorously added that he also could’ve been a fisherman since that’s what he enjoys doing on the weekends. 

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  • E

    EvangelistaDec 8, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    Angelina.that is a great analysis of all your administrators.Bravo.great job.keep it up and you can do great things.lm not just saying that cause lm your grandma.but honestly you did a great you..God bless you my child always ❤️❤️❤️

  • M

    Manuel VarelaDec 8, 2023 at 2:12 pm

    Exemplary people for our youth and an exceptional author. Very well written article, congratulations to everyone involved!