Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Martha Deichler 

BSHS Principal is Right Person for the Job


Last updated 10/3/2019 at 11:26am

Welcome, Victoria Baay!

It happens more often than not. The interviewee stops at the top of Montezuma Grade, looks down on our frontier town, notices the dearth of big box stores, turns around and heads home while making the phone call to the Borrego Springs Unified School District to cancel the interview.

Or the candidate looks on a map, sees that Borrego Springs is right "next" to Temecula, heads over for an interview only to discover there are quite a few miles between Temecula and Borrego Springs, as well as a drop-off of a few thousand feet. This often results in their turning around while making the "I don't think Borrego Springs will work for me" phone call.

So what kind of person chooses to make Borrego Springs his/her permanent place of employment, purchase's a house and commences to raise a family? It's a special person, and one who understands communities that are small, rural, tight and caring. It's a person who quickly catches on that gossip travels at the speed of light and if someone is in need, many will rally around with support at all levels. It's also a person who appreciates the quiet beauty of our stark and expansive desert and relishes in our subtly exquisite sunsets and sunrises.

At Borrego Springs Unified School District, we think we have found just the person for the job of Middle/High School Principal. Her name is Victoria Baay. Her married name, Baay, has a long history in our community, and her own teaching experiences have prepared her for work in our frontier town. Victoria is in her first full year as the Middle/High School Principal after serving last year as TOSA (Teacher On Special Assignment) at the Middle/High School under the direction of former Principal Katherine Girvin.

Although born in Poway, Victoria graduated from high school in Vancouver, Washington, then attended Cal State San Marcos. She met her future husband, Borregan native Miguel Baay, in Riverside while working in her first teaching assignment. He was working for a mortgage company. After three years, Victoria received a pink slip, along with thousands of other California teachers during the economic crunch. Marriage would have to wait, as Victoria headed back up to Washington for a teaching position with the Bureau of Indian Education.

Teaching in this position prepared Victoria for the challenges of small and rural communities. In this role, she quickly gained the respect and trust of the Nisqually Tribe of Northwest Native Americans. The skills she learned around discretion, cultural understanding, compassion and respect for the natural world, made Victoria a perfect fit for our special place, Borrego Springs.

After six years with the Bureau of Indian Education, Borrego was calling Victoria in the form of Miguel Baay, who had moved back to Borrego Springs and saw there were teaching openings in our schools. Victoria moved to Borrego Springs, landed a teaching job, fell in love with the community, her students, the desert, and with Miguel. Marriage and two children followed.

Their 1½ year old daughter's name Emaleigh Thaelilah, carries a special memory for Victoria. Through her trust and warm rapport with the Nisqually Tribe, Victoria and her husband were granted special permission to bestow a name from the Quilshootseed language to their daughter. The English translation of her beautiful name is "Hummingbird."

Victoria is already putting her vision for our high school students to work. Believing that our students can become independent and able to form their own vision of the future, she encourages our students to realize their dreams. Victoria understands that many of our students need support from the school and community in doing this. In response, she is working with BSUSD Superintendent Mark Stevens to create a dual enrollment program with College of the Desert (COD). In this program, our students would take college classes on the campus of the COD while finishing high school. The majority of our high school students do not have transportation, so the high school would provide a van.

The dual enrollment program would give our students a step up on their post-high school education and encourage them to continue realizing their dreams after graduation. Victoria's deep understanding and love for our students and community are what make her an incredible gift to the families in Borrego Springs.

Principal Victoria Baay is married to Miguel Baay and they have a home and two children in Borrego Springs. It looks as though this principal will be here for a while to realize her dreams while assisting students to realize their own. Welcome, Victoria!

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