DPMHS welcomes new principal during virtual learning school year


Maribella Ambrosio

Armen Petrossian is the newest principal for DPMHS and he has spent part of his first week getting to know students in several virtual classes.

Gabrielle Lashley

Armen Petrossian officially assumed his position as principal and he is excited for students to learn about the kind of person he is.

 “I’m a good listener,” said Petrossian, who previously was an assistant principal at Pacoima Middle School. “I involve people and I have good people skills.”

As Petrossian entered Daniel Pearl Magnet High School on his first day as principal on Monday Oct. 5, he had the simple yet chivalrous goal of helping each student to the best of his ability. With years of experience with other schools and his own family, he believes he can help make DPMHS an “even more positive and caring community,” as he puts it.

“My favorite thing to say is ‘I like to make decisions with people,” Petrossian said. “That includes students, parents, teachers (and) staff. I’m a collaborative leader and I like to bring people together. The thing is, it takes a village. It’s a cliche but it works. It takes us all together to form ideas for making this campus an even more positive and caring community.”

In August, former principal Pia Damonte left DPMHS after one year to take the position as principal at Vista Middle School. Petrossian happily took her place and on his first day he had a staff meeting where he virtually met the DPMHS faculty and staff for the first time.

“We have wonderful teachers who are all supportive,” Petrossian said. “They are respectful and very discerning about what’s going on around them.”

Petrossian considers himself to be a family man. He enjoys spending time with his family, which consists of his wife, his 14-year-old son, 17-year-old daughter and his labrador-dane dog whom he describes as, “the best dog in the word.” Petrossian often goes mountain-biking with his son, on family trips and, while he already knows how to play the ukulele, has now been learning how to play the harmonica. 

“I’m proud of being a good family man, a good father, a good husband and a good friend, those are the things I pride myself in,” Petrossian said.

When Petrossian was a young man, he started off wanting to make a career in linguistics. He put himself through college at California State University Northridge in 1989 and received his bachelor’s in linguistics. It wasn’t until he became a teacher’s assistant while in college that he knew he wanted to be an educator.  

“I started working as a teacher’s assistant in Cleveland High school and that was pretty much all I needed to know that working with students was what I wanted to do,” Petrossian said. “Some of the teachers let me co-teach lessons, after that I was like ‘Forget linguistics. This is what I want to do.’ After that I got my teaching credentials in English and the rest is history.”

His very first administrative position was in 2013 as an assistant principal at Pacoima Middle school but before that he was a counselor for two years. Petrossian says he knew he was ready to move on from his last position at Pacoima when he began to have his own vision and wanted to lead his own team.

“I made it happen in one place and wanted to support another school,” Petrossian said. “When I saw the principal position (was open), I knew what an accepting and great place (DPMHS) is so I applied. You have no idea how happy I am to have gotten the job because it’s just a very caring place. I can’t say that enough.”