Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian Joe Gregorio, who graduated from Watsonville High School in 1992, was named the school's Principal on Wednesday.

Joe Gregorio first set foot on the Watsonville High School campus in 1987 as an E.A. Hall Middle eighth-grade student, there to watch the freshman football team play.

He had already attended Mintie White Elementary School, and went on to graduate from Watsonville High in 1992, the school’s 100th graduating class.

After serving as athletic director and assistant principal, Gregorio was appointed as the school’s Principal on Wednesday night by the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees. 

He had been serving as interim Principal since Maria Clara Fernandez left last year.

As a student, Gregorio remembers the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, and seeing the band Santana play a charity concert on Geiser Field.

“We have some cool memories back then,” he said. “Watsonville High has had some amazing historical stuff happen, and we’ve had some amazing alumi come out. It’s an amazing place.”

He added, “I wouldn’t do this anywhere else. This is the only place I want to be.”

Activities Director Kris Grantz said Gregorio knows the community and the students, and that he will be invested in making sure the school moves forward. 

“Joe has worked hard to improve our facilities, the stadium and stands, and he worked on beautification around the school,” she said. “The biggest thing is he will act on bringing all the Wildcatz together with a clear vision. He’s got the passion.”

The official appointment was met with “celebration and excitement,” said history teacher Ryan Jones.

“It felt great walking onto campus this morning knowing Joe is officially our new principal,” he said. “Every morning, rain or shine, he is outside greeting staff and students as we drive onto campus. 

Jones praised Gregorio’s supportive leadership style.

“He goes out of his way to listen, understand, and build the kind of environment that allows teachers to focus on being at our best for the students and deliver a high quality education for Watsonville families,” he said.  

Former WHS Principal and current interim Superintendent Murry Schekman said Gregorio’s new position came as no surprise.

“Joe Gregorio was destined to be our Watsonville High School Principal for he started bleeding black and gold in his youth,” Schekman said. “He brings experiences from other high schools and is highly regarded by the students, staff and parents. His genuine care for the whole child and his dedication to our community are strong assets to lead our largest school.”

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/


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