Las Vegas high school principal beats the odds

Beth Fisher

Las Vegas high school principal beats the odds

CREATED Apr. 3, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Just a few months out of surgery for both sides of her brain and already Dr. Sandra Ransel is back at work. And she's doing a job nobody else wanted -- leading the second-chance adult high school.

The principal of Desert Rose Adult High School spends her mornings greeting students and touring campus. Just weeks from her cutting edge brain surgery to help battle Parkinsons Disease, Dr. Ransel is already back on the job.  And though each step requires concentration, she covers the campus every day earning the respect of students and colleagues. 

Dr. Ransel says, "I respect them also for what they're doing. They are coming back against the odds. it's not always that easy."
Many of these students are the only ones working in their family.  
Others are parents trying to make a better life.  And some, simply put, goofed around in traditional high school. Each of them is fascinating to Dr. Ransel.  
"They even asked me why I would take the job to begin with. Some people thought it was a dead end. That's true. But I took the job because it was a challenge and it looked like something I could make a real difference."
And she is. Students like Richard tell us Dr. Ransel is always accessible, helping them navigate everything from classes to transportation needs. "I think that's  why our school is the way it is. She's our principal. She's our mother. She's our foundation. Without her, we wouldn't have this school."
Pictures show a younger Dr. Ransel earlier in her career but not a more capable one. And she insists she would do the job in a wheelchair.  "This is a job you do with your head and your heart. Your feet come along for the ride."
Dr. Ransel has served at risk students at Desert Rose for 13 years.