Meet the principal: Veronica Leiper of Sequoya Elementary School

Name: Veronica Leiper, Sequoya Elementary Principal

Town/Neighborhood: North Scottsdale

What I’m excited about and why: I have the best job! Spending everyday building relationships with parents, teachers and, most importantly, the students. It really is an opportunity to make a difference.

Veronica Leiper (Submitted photo)

What I like most about being an educator here: Scottsdale has a small town feel. It does take a village and at Sequoya, parents and teachers are working together to educate the whole child.

Changes I’d like to see in public education: Funding! A quality education for all is the best equalizer for our students and is vital for a productive society. More support for students social and emotional and teacher pay need to be top priorities.

Favorite community cause and why: I serve on the executive boards of Happily Ever After League (HEAL) and Scottsdale Honors Cotillion. HEAL is a non-profit organization that provides support to mothers with cancer. Mothers are given one time grants and offered the opportunity to visit the HEALing House where they are able to shop the food pantry and attend monthly events. I have been able to help support this organization by volunteering in the pantry as well as the events for the past 15 years.

Scottsdale Honors Cotillion is also a non-profit organization that recognizes and honors young women for their outstanding achievements during their senior year. The weekly meetings provide leadership opportunities preparing them for the future.

Both of these organizations are very important to me. The founder of HEAL is a dear friend of mine. Her breast cancer diagnosis and recovery made her realize that she needed to help others who were not so fortunate. I was part of her team that started this organization and it has helped over 400 mothers since it began.

When and why I moved here: I moved to Scottsdale from California in 1987 and I have lived in the same house for over 30 years. I originally moved here for my (ex) husband’s job.

My family: I have two children who were both products of SUSD K-12, graduates of Desert Mountain High School. Justin graduated from NAU with a BA in education. Chelsea graduated with a BS from the U of A and a PharmD from University of Colorado.

What I like most about what I do: Relationships! The students, my staff and the Sequoya families. Sequoya is such a special place. I get up every day and look forward to going to work. It is a family atmosphere where the focus is on the students.

Previous occupations and why I left: Stay-at-home mom. I volunteered as PTO president and Scottsdale Parent Council President. I enjoyed being involved in the schools, getting to know teachers and families and decided to go back to school, as my kids got older.

If I had picked a different occupation, it might have been: I love what I do. Can’t imagine doing anything else.

My interests and hobbies: I love “Do it Yourself”. I am always in the middle of a project at my house.

The best and/or worst time in my life: The best time of my life was when my kids were young. I loved being involved in their lives, attending all of their events and just having them around.

My best and/or worst habits: I love to shop.

The trait(s) I admire in others: Compassion for others.

People who inspired me (and how): My parents were my role models. They made me feel like I could do anything if I worked hard enough.

My guiding philosophy: I believe that everything happens for a reason and we have to make the best of every opportunity.

My advice to today’s youth: Work hard and believe in yourself. Learn from mistakes and failures. These are the things that make you stronger.

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