TPES Principal Message

Dear Torrey Pines Families,

Welcome to Torrey Pines!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the Torrey Pines Community as the newly appointed Principal of Torrey Pines Elementary School. As many of you already know, the announcement was made last November, and I underwent an extensive transition period until my start date of February 4, 2019. During this time I appreciated so many welcoming emails and messages, and I enjoyed meeting families in person at our Principal Chats, SSC and SGT meetings. I especially enjoyed attending our Torrey Trot race day at UCSD in December. Over the past few months, my commitment to ensuring our school is a place worthy of our children has only been strengthened. My goal is to know every student by name and by need, and I am thrilled to be supported by fantastic parents and tremendously dedicated teachers and school staff.

My career path has shaped my devotion to democratic schooling and social justice. In fact, I was originally a student at UCLA Law School and withdrew to become a classroom teacher where I felt I could be of greater use to my community. After teaching each grade level K-5 for ten years and also earning tenure in the Cajon Valley, Vista and Rancho Santa Fe School Districts, I became the principal at Hancock Elementary School, part of the San Diego Unified School District. The two and a half years I led Hancock were highlighted by huge increases in student attendance, by recognition as a California Distinguished School and by being named one of the District’s Quality School in Every Neighborhood (QSIEN) sites.  At Torrey Pines, I hope to lead a socially conscious community where all students feel safe and respected at school; at which intolerance is not tolerated; and in which children are service-oriented and aware of needs beyond their own.

Joining a team of educators as outstanding as ours has propelled me to reflect on how I can best carry the school to our next level of success. Part of my mission is to ensure we are meeting the needs of all students, including our GATE students, bilingual learners and students with disabilities. As a Ph.D. student, I bring a data-driven instructional style to Torrey Pines. I believe in using research, be it a self-created survey or a peer-reviewed article, to keep current with best practices, evaluate curriculum and determine leadership moves. I will work to ensure that Torrey Pines ES will continue as a community where students and staff have the support and tools that foster intellectual and personal growth.

I make my home in Carmel Valley, and some of my favorite activities are running at Torrey Pines and practicing yoga at local studios. I enjoy seeing the families I serve out and about! I also enjoy traveling – the more different the culture from my own, the better! My intention is to model for our children a balanced and healthy lifestyle; a pursuit of higher education; and a special curiosity about the world in which we live.

Let’s finish the 2018-2019 school year strong and work together to continue to create this amazing center of learning, Torrey Pines Elementary School. Please feel free to share your concerns and recommendations with me, either in person, by phone, by email or at one of our monthly Principal Chats. I very much appreciate and value your insights and have already been able to implement some of your suggestions.

In addition, I look forward to continuing to meet and welcome all families and look forward to celebrating together at this year’s Open House scheduled for Wednesday, May 15.

Kind regards,

Nona Richard | Principal | Torrey Pines Elementary






Section 5 of Article IX of the California Constitution guarantees students a “free public education.”

Torrey Pines Elementary School Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 8350 Cliffridge Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037 


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