They say a little faith can go a long way, and that philosophy has paid off for Sharon Santiago.
Santiago has been lucky to call Portage her home for her entire life and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. There are many reasons she has wanted to stay, but the two primary reasons are family and community.
“I think Portage is a great place for families and has many opportunities,” Santiago said. “I have so many great friends and family here. I plan to be here for life.”
Santiago has known since second grade what she wanted to do for a living: be a teacher.
“When I was little, I used to play school in my garage with friends. I would always be the teacher,” Santiago said.“I couldn’t picture my career going any differently, it has been a gift.”
Her persistence led to a career that has lasted 31 years, first as a teacher and most recently as a principal at Portage Christian School. This is only Santiago's second year in the position, and she feels like she is already making a positive impact on the students. Her new office doesn't have any doors, so students know her office is always open.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in this school system,” Santiago said. “There are so many opportunities in this school system, teaching these students is like a gift from God.”
Working with kids does present a struggle at times, but Santiago is up for the challenge. Her colleagues and family are always there to help her even when things get difficult. Above all else, she constantly remembers one valuable point.
“I love being here and interacting with the students,” Santiago said.“We are all one big happy family here. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Santiago’s primary goal at PCS is to encourage students to follow and achieve their dreams. She also wants to help make sure they have the best education possible.
“I am really hoping to raise the bar in every aspect here,” Santiago said. “This school is ripe for excellence, and I know we can get every student there.”
Santiago does not plan to retire anytime soon, but she already has a plan in place for when the time comes. She and her husband own a summer home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
“We just bought a jet ski, though I have never ridden one before,” Santiago said.“When the day comes though I am excited to learn and relax.”