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School Leadership

Karen Amaya, Principal
Karen Amaya’s journey in education began in July of 2002 as a teacher at a conversion charter school in East Hollywood. Having grown up in that community, Mrs. Amaya was passionate about giving back by developing students not only academically but emotionally as well. While teaching in her own classroom, Mrs. Amaya understood the importance of empowering students as leaders and therefore planted the seed for the development of the school’s Student Council, which still exists at that school today. Her drive to make an impact in the larger school community motivated her to step out of the classroom to pursue school leadership. She has served in various leadership capacities such as Curriculum Specialist, School Administrator, Assistant Principal before serving as principal of Vista Charter Middle School. At Vista, her focus on building a positive school culture and developing trust amongst staff has resulted in an atmosphere that allows for all stakeholders--students, teachers and staff--to thrive. Mrs. Amaya is a passionate school leader who believes in creating a transformative school experience where every student is valued. She received her B.A. in Spanish from the University of Southern California and received her M.A. in Education. In 2014, she completed her Administrative Services credential program at CSUDH’s Charter and Autonomous School Leadership Academy. In 2018, Mrs. Amaya was featured in the Most Inspiring Stories series of Voyage LA magazine. When she’s not busy being a principal, you can find Mrs. Amaya at Disneyland or at home enjoying Disney movies with her two kids.
Daniel Sommer, Assistant Principal
Daniel Sommer has been working in middle school education since 2005 and has been at Vista Charter Middle School since 2011. Relationships are at the core of what Mr. Sommer believes.  He is driven by the idea that people do not care about how much you know until they know how much you care. He makes it a point to let all students know that they are important and have the ability to achieve great things.  After teaching for 13 years in the classroom he transitioned into educational leadership. He received his administrative credential and Master in Educational Leadership from Cal State Dominguez Hills in 2019. When not at Vista, Mr. Sommer spends the majority of time with his wife Susan and three daughters Paige, Quinn, and Riley.