By Trine Gallegos
ANTIOCH -- While Amy Farias was busy leading students to a successful path, she also happened to be teaching family and friends lovely life lessons, too.
"I take away many things from her," said John Jimno. "(One is) all students can achieve if the people that work with them believe in them and value them. And, you cannot put a time clock on success.
"I could go on and on I always felt respected, valued and loved by her as an employee and a friend," said the Park Middle principal.
Farias, who was principal at Antioch's Alternative Education schools, passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 4 from cancer. She was 59.
An Antioch resident, Farias was a lifelong educator, earned her bachelor of science degree from UC Davis, multiple teaching credential from UC Berkeley and master of arts degree and administration credential from Chapman University. Her teaching career began in Morgan Hill before coming to Antioch in 1987.
By all accounts, she wasted no time in unveiling her caring side and bringing out her leadership skills to district campuses.
Jimno and others agree she possessed an unbelievable work ethic.
"She would never stop working," he said. "Even in casual settings she would still be thinking or discussing work. She had a lot of pride in anything she put her name on and things she did were done excellently. She brought to the students of Alternative Educational settings the belief
In her 25 years with the district, Farias graced Park Middle School as a teacher and help lead the way as vice principal at Black Diamond Middle and later Bidwell High.
Her last three years were spent as the principal for Alternative Education schools, which include Antioch Adult, Prospects High, Bridges Community Day, ENCORE home schooling, Bidwell High and Live Oak high schools.
"She was wonderful everyone thought so," said daughter Ashley Farias, who talked with her mother nearly every day.
Her mother was vice principal during Ashley's time at Black Diamond, and even fellow students adored her. "Kids would always tell me (how awesome) my mom was. She went above and beyond for everybody."
Bidwell High teacher Kathleen Wong said "the most important thing about Amy was that next to her own children, her 'school' children were everything to her. She would, and did, do everything she could to make kids successful."
Wong, a Bidwell High teacher, said Farias was "an extremely intelligent woman with the know-how to get a job done." While gathering info, Ashley Farias wrote that her mother "took every task head on with ambition and confidence. She always had a big heart and has inspired many people and thousands of students with her wit and fairness. She was a strong woman and always encouraged people to be strong as well."
She said: "She did everything in her power to make sure (my brother and I) were OK. She worked hard for us; she made everything possible. She was very proud of us."
The general consensus is that Farias worked with uber passion and diligence to "support and celebrate the successes of alternative education and reduce its student dropout rate." Said Diane Gibson-Gray, board president, "(When I first met Amy), she was a bundle of energy, passionately advocating for her programs and students. She knew every student, along with the number of credits short they were for graduation requirements."
Farias is survived by her mother, Dorothy Brackett; sister Sandy Henderson; children Daniel and Ashley Farias; 2-month-old grandson Kaleb Farias Neeson. Services will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at Antioch High's Beede Auditorium.
"Her slogan at Bidwell (was) 'Devouring the Perception.' It was something that she lived by," Jimno said. "In her time (at Bidwell and as principal of Alternative Ed), I believe she did that."
Contact Trine Gallegos at firstname.lastname@example.org.