Principal Skip Kniesche says he wants to create "a place where everyone belongs" at Kent Middle School.
The school, with an enrollment of 540 students, officially starts the new year on August 27. Incoming students will get a sneak peek this week, guided by some of the upperclassmen.
Kniesche has focused on the social aspects of school since he took over as principal eight years ago, trying to make sure parents and students feel Kent "is a safe place."
"For five years now, we've taken it on ourselves to work with nobully.org. We've revamped the social vision for our school," Kniesche said. "It's a matter of bringing parents, teachers, staff and students on board. Since then, we've seen a sizable drop in suspensions. We've improved and adapted communication, social vision, curriculum and academics."
Kniesche and his staff are working now to integrate new courses into the curriculum to meet state standards. Kent also offers students the opportunity to study architecture, music and other art classes. In addition, students are asked to volunteer in the community.
Kniesche is entering his eighth year as principal at Kent, after working as an assistant principal and teacher in the Kentfield and Ross Valley school districts for the past 21 years.
He's a familiar sight around campus, but Kniesche spent the first part of his career working in the family restaurant business in San Francisco. It wasn't until the business was sold in 1990 that he got his teaching credential. Kniesche has since worked as an assistant principal and teacher in the Kentfield and Ross Valley school districts for the past 21 years.
"I enjoy the kids, they're really polite. I enjoy my duty as principal and I enjoy working with the staff. It's a very collegial atmosphere around here," Kniesche said.