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From Teacher to Dean: The Leadership Journey of Mr. Trujillo

by Richard Sell

Mr. Alex Trujillo is a man of many talents, such as teaching, coaching and building relationships. He is currently the Dean of Students here at Columbus. In this role, he deals with students from all classes about their academics and conduct. On top of that, he is currently the Defensive Coordinator for our top-tier football team and has been in that position for about 20 years.

As you can see, his role at Columbus is vital to our everyday. But his journey at Columbus started as a student though he says he never really fit in until his junior year.

“I never saw myself going to an all-boys catholic school… by my junior and senior year I guess I turned over a new leaf. I was what you call a public school kid,” he said.

Throughout his time at Columbus, he was a standout football player. He played freshmen, JV and Varsity, and is now on the Athletic Hall of Fame. He was the only player in CCHS history to start games at defensive end, outside linebacker, and safety. Although he didn't see himself coming to Columbus, he had many memories and appreciates what he learned here from teachers and coaches.

“The relationships...there are men and women that taught and coached me that I’m still very close with today," he said.

After graduating from Columbus in 1996, his first year working at Columbus as a teacher was in 2001. He was applying for a teaching position at another school called Archbishop Carrol. He actually got the job but as he was leaving the interview, he got a call. It was Columbus’ principal at the time, Brother Angelo. He called him to ask him if he’d like a teaching job at Columbus.

Brother Angelo later asked why he didn’t interview there in the first place

Trujillo said, “My fear of failing at Columbus is what held me back. I really wanted to go get some experience, go make my bones first and then come back to Columbus.”

His first few years of teaching were a feeling-out period for him.

“I would say it took me a good three years for me to find my identity of what I wanted for myself as a teacher.”

He now feels that he was a good teacher because he taught with passion, and he had a lot of pride in his craft.

“I think if you were to go to one of my previous students they would say that I taught with passion.”

To note, in 2017, Trujillo won the Explorer Compass Award - an award that recognizes creative ability, ingenuity, resourcefulness and dedication.

Though he loves his role as dean of students, he would likely lean one way if you forced him to make a choice on which he enjoys more.

"If you were to ask me to be a teacher or a dean, it would take me a few minutes but I would choose teaching," he said.

He has built a good reputation not only for the school and students but also with the faculty. A close friend of his, who now happens to be the principal of the school, Mr. David Pugh appreciates his friendship with Trujillo and noted that without Trujillo, everyone's job at CCHS would be harder.

“Over the years he has become a very good friend… he’s someone you can trust, and he’s loyal. I’m very thankful that he’s in the administration and that he accepted the role," Mr. Pugh said.

Everyone knows what Trujillo brings to the table. He shows respect, friendship, discipline and trust.

Pugh also states,“He treats everyone fairly and equally.”

As much of a good teacher Trujillo is, he’s just as good as a coach. He was the running backs coach in his first year at Columbus in 2001. The very next year he interviewed for the Defensive Coordinator position and got it.

Trujillo loves many aspects of coaching but one thing stands out to him.

"Taking the least talented kid and maximizing his potential,” he said.

His journey at Columbus has spanned over 20 years and still, Trujillo believes being here at Columbus was his calling.

“I really truly believe I was put on this earth and this school to help young men,” Trujillo said.

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