An Official Welcome to Assistant Principal, Mr. May


Sam Hwang and Grace Hwang

Coming to us all the way from Tacoma, Washington, Mr. May was not always on the path toward becoming a teacher. Growing up playing baseball and participating in Science Olympiad, Mr. May was initially studying physics on an engineering track at the University of Washington. However, he found that he preferred “helping his peers get where they needed to be.” And that’s when his passion for teaching became clear.

After graduating with a Physics degree from the University of Washington, Mr. May moved here due to a large number of open teacher positions.

As he said in his own words, “There were 200 applications for every teaching position in the Seattle school district, and there were 0.6 here. So that’s less than 1 person per position. So I thought I’d come here, get a couple years experience, go back home. But I kind of really liked it here, so I stuck around.”

Mr. May began as an 8th grade science teacher at Keller Middle School on the east side of Las Vegas. Then, he moved to Mojave High School and taught Physics and AP Computer Science for 4 years. Finally, he decided to become an administrator.

“I went to school for that, got offered a job here [at Clark] as a strategist, so a non-teaching licensed role. Then, I finished my degree, went through the district’s leadership program, and then got hired here by Mrs. Larnerd as an assistant principal this year. So I’ve been here for 3 years, but this is my first year as an assistant principal.” 

Like Mrs. Larnerd, Mr. May has a vision for the future and some choice words about recent decisions made at the central office.

“I think it was foolish of the system—and I don’t just mean Clark—to think that we could take students out of structure for 2 years… And then we thought we thought we’d just plug y’all right back into structure… and we’d be fine. On the whole, it’s been a challenge.”

Fortunately, he also has a strong vision for the future.

“My goal this year top-down is to get us back in the zone, back in the groove. Clark has a culture of excellence, so really getting our students back in the culture of excellence would be my goal.”

To Mr. May, excellence “means students leave this place and they do something. Now that could be we have students that go to MIT, Harvard, all the way to students leaving to this place becoming engineers, plumbers, electricians. But the important thing is that students have real opportunities when they leave this place.”

Like Mrs. Larnerd, Mr. May believes strongly in the day after graduation. School is about preparing students for life, not just to take tests and fill students’ heads with impractical knowledge. Similarly, he also believes in the ability of all students to succeed if they are given a structured learning environment and the resources they need to succeed.

“There’s gotta be something that gets kids in the door… Give students a reason to be here while they’re here, and that means plugging them into a sport, club, an activity, a CTE program, something, and giving them a real vision for what they could do outside this place.” 

And that is the “huge driving force behind ‘I’m in.’” Mr. May feels that there is something for every student within our school, which has over 50 clubs and organizations that cover everything from K-Pop to Science O. To Mr. May, it’s time for students to take ownership of the opportunities that are laid before them. And it’s up to the students “to drive the culture of this place.” Mr. May strongly advocates for student leadership, which is one of the reasons why he rebooted the AMSAT Student Advisory Board and strongly supports the activities of the AOF leaders, such as their efforts to bring in people from outside the community to speak with the students. With Mrs. Braxton, he hopes to implement careers panels about skilled labor, labor unions, and various professions so that students can begin their journeys and “start having those conversations” now. 

In regards to mental health, Mr. May says that here at Clark, we have 10 counselors for 3400 students and 3 social workers out of a goal of 4. Combined with Charger Strong and the Hope Squad, these resources are available for students whenever they feel that they need help. In addition, Mr. May believes that one of the main contributing factors to anxiety is lack of preparation, so creating teams in our school allows us to create routines and calendars and plans for our day, which will ultimately have a huge impact on our mental health.

In response to COVID-19, Clark has taken the necessary steps in order to mitigate its effects on students, and overall, Mr. May believes that the school is handling the pandemic quite well in terms of safety and following protocol.

Lastly, Mr. May assures students that the disciplinary issues at Clark are not as extreme as some make it out to be, for overall, we have a really “quiet” campus with few fights that are addressed as they come up. As the school year has progressed, incidents such as “Devious Licks” have decreased as students have adjusted to attending in-person school. “There are 3200 [students] that are doing what they’re supposed to do every day,” Mr. May says. “They’re getting to class on time; they’re getting their work done. [There are] only about 100 students who are struggling to meet expectations.” These 100 are a tiny fraction of Clark’s population even though they feel like a lot of students. To combat the disciplinary issues still present on campus, Mr. May and Mrs. Larnerd are working to implement a new tardy policy that will be implemented next semester, one rewarding good behavior. “Every minute in class is valuable.” Mr. May believes. “You cannot learn when you are not in the classroom. On campus, there’s no knowledge to be gained in the hallway.” 

Mr. May is here in his office after school from 2:30 p.m. to about 4:00 p.m. and before school from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m; his door is open to any who wish for his help.