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The Pioneer

An Interview With Principal Guerrero


In November of 2022, Oscar Guerrero, former principal of Memorial High School and West Orange resident, was appointed the new Principal of West Orange High School. Guerrero accepted the position of the previous Principal, Hayden Moore, who decided to pursue the role of Assistant Superintendent of Schools. The Pioneer had the pleasure of interviewing him and is looking forward to his continuous contributions to the West Orange Public Schools district. 

Superintendent Dr. Lauren Schoen released the following statement in September about the inauguration of Guerrero: At the September 19th West Orange Board of Education meeting, the Board unanimously voted to appoint Mr. Oscar Guerrero, a proud West Orange resident, as our new High School principal.”

Guerrero was raised in West New York, New Jersey, and graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University as a history major. He is also a Saint Peter’s College graduate with a master’s degree in administration and supervision. After graduation, he worked as an assistant football coach and substitute teacher at Kearny High School. “I was called into the principal’s office and asked if I was interested in the position … and I started off teaching history at Kearny High School.”

At Kearny High School, he quickly advanced to become a History teacher and the head football coach for the next six years. 

Later in 2010, Guerrero left Kearny High School to teach in his hometown, West New York, New Jersey. There he accepted a new position as a history teacher and the head football coach at Memorial High School. A few years later, Guerrero was appointed Dean and handled discipline at Memorial High School.  

Yet again, a new opportunity arose for Guerrero when he was promoted to Assistant Principal of the elementary school Public School Number One. “I always knew that was something I wanted for myself and my future … probably one of the most rewarding years in my development as an administrator and a leader.” 

He spent four years as Assistant Principal, before becoming the Principal at Memorial High School in July 2019. However, on March 13, 2020, the school faced an unprecedented situation with Covid-19. Guerrero successfully navigated the school through the Pandemic, despite the school shutting down. He remained principal at Memorial High School through November 2020.

Below are some key questions and answers from Mr. Guerrero’s interview: 

The Pioneer: What is the main goal of a school principal?

Guerrero: A principal is responsible for nurturing and cultivating an environment where students and staff can thrive.  To create a space where all students belong that is physically and psychologically safe. Where they have access to achieve whatever their goals and aspirations are……where all students and staff from all walks of life feel like they belong and see themselves in that space.

TP: How do you feel about the diversity of WOHS compared to other towns?

G: I see diversity as a strength.  I’m committed to West Orange and recently bought a house with my family in West Orange. I believe the diversity and its community in West Orange is its greatest strength. I enjoy immersing myself and my family into the community.

TP: What is your plan for WOHS and its future?

G: This school is a model to follow in New Jersey.  The admirative team has laid an incredible foundation. I want to add upon what has already been created and contribute to its evolution.

TP: What do you think is the most important attribute required for a successful principal?

G: Empathy. You must be able to relate and have a connection with different people.  You Need to be organized and multi-task.  You need to know what you do not know and rely on other partners around you with different expertise and value their talent and bring out the best in others.

TP: What is your favorite part of being an educator?

G: Connecting with young people. Watching their maturations helping them to achieve their goals.

Principal Guerrero seemed excited about his new job in West Orange. Guerrero and The Pioneer staff spoke about his expectations and goals for the school as well as his personal life, learning about his happy marriage and four children all attending elementary schools in West Orange. He is a San Francisco 49ers fan as well as a Manchester City Soccer fan as well. He also loves barbecues.

He stated that he was impressed with the high school’s academic reputation in providing students with an excellent curriculum and learning environment. He felt that all of the teachers were well-qualified and focused on student learning. Going forward, he plans to continue and build on these excellent qualities. 


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About the Contributor
Isabella Ford-Valiente, Co-Editor-in-Cheif
Isabella “Izzy” Ford-Valiente (she/her) is a junior at West Orange High School and is Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Pioneer. This is her second year writing for The Pioneer. She has had a passion for writing ever since she was little and hopes her articles will interest and enlighten readers. If she is not in a meeting for the Newspaper, she can be found at Mock Trial, Mountaineer Mentors, Italian club, Black Student Union, or out on the lacrosse field playing for the WOHS varsity team.  In her free time, she likes to hang out with her friends, scrapbook, organize, watch movies, and read her favorite book series, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.  Izzy is currently looking at colleges. Some of her top choices include Wesleyan University and NYU.  After college, she hopes to embark on a career as a litigator for criminal trials.  Her goals for this school year are to work to the best of her abilities to receive good grades and have a great junior year. Some fun facts about Izzy include that she is the youngest of three siblings, her favorite color is green, she loves to scroll through her Pinterest page, and she cannot go anywhere without her headphones. Izzy can be reached at [email protected]!

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