New dean of students brings fresh enthusiasm

Student, teacher support overall goal, Caminiti says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Steve Caminiti said he always knew he would have a career in education, and he hoped he would work as a Placer High School administrator. The Auburn resident is the school’s new dean of students, replacing former Assistant Principal Gary Pantaleoni. Caminiti has 11 years of experience working at Rocklin Unified School District as a science teacher and summer school administrator. When he was first getting into education in 1999, he substitute taught at Placer High. “Both my parents are educators,” Caminiti said. “I knew I was going to do something in education. So, I went back and got my master’s and administrative credential.” According to Eric Vereyken, human resources director for the Placer Union High School District, Caminiti is making an annual base salary of $72,858. The district pays $7,200 annually for his health benefits and he receives an annual $920 car stipend. Caminiti said working in Auburn and the history of the school inspired him to apply for the position. “I live in Auburn, so I think really the biggest draw was being able to make a big impact on the community I live in and interact in on a daily basis,” he said. “(Placer High is) rich in tradition and has a huge history that is just appealing. There is definitely a unique culture about Placer High that doesn’t exist in a lot of places.” Placer High Principal Peter Efstathiu said while several people applied for the position, Caminiti stood out. “I think we had well over 25 people apply, and we narrowed it down to six applicants we interviewed,” Efstathiu said. “I think what sets Steve apart from the rest is the true energy you get that he brings to the job he wants to do at Placer High.” Efstathiu said Caminiti’s background in technology was also appealing. Caminiti said he teaches a class called Technology for Teachers at William Jessup University in Rocklin. The class shows aspiring teachers how to use computers and technology in their classrooms. “Ever since I started teaching, I have just been finding new ways to use technology in the classroom,” Caminiti said. “Tapping into kids in this generation, how they are going to use it, is important.” Caminiti said his overall duties are overseeing freshmen and juniors in terms of discipline, working alongside the school’s technology coordinator to strengthen use of the tool on campus and overseeing school safety. Dave Horsey, superintendent of the Placer Union High School District, said the position’s title was changed to dean of students because it was more feasible for the district’s budget while still providing needed student supervision. Horsey said Caminiti’s position has less responsibility in terms of curriculum and teacher supervision than Pantaleoni’s had. Horsey said he thinks having someone with a different view in the district is important. “From the talks and stuff I have had with him, he has got a lot of energy and excitement around him,” Horsey said. “I think it’s beneficial bringing someone in from outside the district. You get another perspective and another view, and I think that’s healthy.” Caminiti said he and his wife, Robin, have four children, ages 9, 8, 5 and 2. He said his family is happy about the new job. “They are excited,” he said. “They are excited to be a part of it with me. My son is excited to wear his green and gold to football games or basketball games.” When not working, Caminiti said he enjoys spending time with his family, swimming, biking, exercising and just generally enjoying the Sierra Foothills. Caminiti said he and his wife hoped he would work at Placer High one day, and he is looking forward to working with the students and staff. He said he hopes to learn every freshman’s name. “As a classroom teacher you are dealing with 35-plus kids, and with this (I am) dealing with kids on an individual basis,” he said. “There are obviously going to be challenges with that … but that is just another learning opportunity I see. Supporting teachers and making sure they have what they need (is important to me). However I can support them, I feel like my job will be a success.” Reach Bridget Jones at