An Interview with Trang Lai, Cloverly’s New Principal

A proud mother of two daughters and a wife of an educator, Trang Lai now has a new addition to her already hectic schedule: principal of a Temple City Unified School District (TCUSD) elementary school. On June 25, Lai was officially appointed the new principal of Cloverly elementary school.

In 2002, Lai joined the TCUSD as a reading teacher for Emperor. Later, she became the assistant principal for Emperor and Longden elementary schools. More recently, Lai served as the curriculum coordinator for the TCUSD. When Lai learned she was given the position, she was overjoyed.

“I just feel very comfortable here” stated Lai, during an interview with the Temple City Voice on July 2, 2008. Lai spoke about her bond with the TCUSD and added “It’s better to be principal if you have the support of the staff.”

Why Cloverly? Without a moment’s hesitation, Lai responded, “What’s not to like?” She went on to praise Cloverly as a “nice looking campus” with an “active student council.”

Lai sees potential at Cloverly elementary school. Her goal is to help Cloverly achieve status as a Blue Ribbon school, which is considered the highest honor bestowed upon any American school.

In 1991, Lai began her teaching career as a sixth grade teacher in Ontario, California. She was then promoted to assistant principals of various schools not limited to the TCUSD, including Janson elementary school (Garvey Unified School District) and La Rosa and Longden elementary schools.

When asked whether or not Lai sees herself moving up the ladder to an administrative position at either Oak Avenue Intermediate School or Temple City High School, Lai stated she was not interested. Lai considers herself a “elementary [school] person” and believes each school “deserves people who know the system better.”

It is evident that Mrs. Lai is a gregarious and warmhearted individual, receiving much praise from her colleagues. “We’re all proud of Trang… She’s a great person,” says Dr. Christina Luna, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services.

“I think it is good to have an Asian American role model” noted Lai. Lai is Vietnamese, while her husband is Chinese.

Lai’s favorite stuffed animal is Hello Kitty’s amphibian friend Keroppi and her favorite color is green.


This article was written by Sophia Chang. It was published in the Temple City Voice on July 16, 2008.


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