We see him popping into our math classes, hear him speak with unbridled enthusiasm over the loudspeaker, and watch him beam on the broadcast every Thursday. The aura of Greg Magno is one felt schoolwide, and though this administrator’s beginnings may not be riddled with angst, they are humble.
Magno grew up in the small town of El Centro, CA surrounded by fields of crops rather than the suburban jungle many MC students call home.
“I lived with one sister, my mom and my dad, in a little house,” Magno said. “It was a small farm town, and there wasn’t much to do, so you would play a lot of sports, run around fields, and throw rocks at each other.”
The product of a disciplined household, Magno understands how organization and diligence can help someone achieve their goals.
“My dad enlisted in the army and did whatever he could to make sure his family had what [we] needed. My mom went back to college when I was in elementary school, got her bachelor’s degree, and got herself a job as a school secretary,” Magno said. “To do all that in her lifetime showed me a lot about how to be dedicated, [even though] there was sacrifice.”
Although his high school curriculum was not as intense as the countless AP’s and Honors courses that Sundevils face today, Magno still received a solid education and made the most of his resources.
“I was a pretty good student in high school,” Magno said. “It wasn’t the most academically rigorous school around. There was only one AP when I was a senior. For the most part, school came easy to me.”
Aside from his diligence in his academics, Magno’s participation in extracurricular activities, coaching swim in particular, sparked his passion for helping kids.
“Most of my high school career was spent in the pool,” Magno said. “All through college I was an instructor for swim teams and was trying to find something to do. I realized working with kids would be something fun to do all day long, not just for a couple of hours.”
Although he eagerly opted for La Jolla waves over the rows of maze from his youth, Magno has no regrets on his decision to change course.
“My greatest achievement in my academic career was getting into UCSD,” Magno said. “I knew my route to get out of the town was through education and to do something different than what everyone else did.”
Magno reached the turning point in his life as he transitioned from a math teacher into the principal he is today.
“The school district I was in brought in San Diego State [
University] to run a program for teachers who wanted to become administrators,” Magno said. “As soon as I finished that, I put in an application to become assistant principal and I got the job at MC. I’ve been here ever since.”
While Magno manages to make keeping almost 2,000 students at MC in order look easy, disciplining three kids and a dog at home requires more effort.
“My biggest hobby is taking my kids to do all their activities,” Magno said. “I always dream about doing the stuff that I love doing, but right now it’s all about family.”
This mindset of championing family seems to bleed into Magno’s work life as well, where the small-town-swim-coach-turned-high-school-principal has made MC into the place we can all look back on with fond memories.