A new face will adorn the hallways of Arcadia High next year when Barrie Pinto becomes the school’s new assistant principal. Pinto, who currently serves as assistant principal at Fountain Hills High School, will join the school’s administration team in July.
Pinto received her bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio State and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from George Mason University. She spent 20 years in Washington, D.C., before moving to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where her husband is originally from. While in Brazil, Pinto was a teacher and principal for expatriate families.
“We have a lot of diplomats and big companies – IBM, Coca Cola – so all of those executives had their kids going to our school. We imported books and curriculum from the United States, so it was a U.S. school, just on foreign land,” Pinto said.
After a few years in Brazil, Pinto moved back to the U.S. with plans to open a charter school in California.
However, those plans fell through, and her family suggested she come to Arizona.
“I had to start fresh, from ground zero,” Pinto said. She spent some time working as a teacher at schools in Peoria, downtown Phoenix and Paradise Valley before becoming assistant principal at Fountain Hills in 2019.
Pinto lives near Old Town Scottsdale, so when she saw the assistant principal position opened at AHS, she jumped at the chance. She interviewed with a committee comprised of teachers, parents and administrators before interviewing with Arcadia principal, Dr. Jagodzinski, and Superintendent Dr. Milissa Sackos.
“The tradition of what Arcadia High has – that to me is very attractive. There’s such a history of excellent programs across the board with music, fine arts, athletics, academics. It’s rare to find a high school that has strength in so many different areas,” Pinto said.
When she worked in Brazil, Pinto lived in the same community as her students and enjoyed running into the kids while dining or grocery shopping.
“The relationships that I build with everyone give me joy,” she said. “My husband teases me that wherever we are in the world, somebody knows Mrs. Pinto – at Machu Picchu, looking at this serene thing and you hear ‘hey Mrs. Pinto!’ I pride myself on that. The fact that they seek me out means I impacted their lives, and that’s important to me.”
Pinto said that building these relationships while also remaining a disciplinarian when needed is one of her top priorities.
“Life isn’t all rainbows and roses but having a relationship with my students makes it a little easier,” Pinto said. “From the moment I left the interview, I felt very welcomed and like I fit in at AHS.”
Pinto said she is excited to immerse herself in the traditions at Arcadia High and help change students’ lives in any way she can.