About Us » Principal's Message

Principal's Message

June 16th, 2020

Dear Cottonwood Family,


    It is with overwhelming pride and excitement that I have the opportunity to introduce myself as the newly appointed Principal of Cottonwood School.  I consider it an honor being selected to serve a school with such a rich tradition of education that is also home to the last one-room schoolhouse in Riverside County!  My passion for student learning and dedication to the field of education has spanned more than thirteen years while working with students from Transitional Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade.  My most recent experience took place in Menifee, where I served as Principal in a TK-12 charter school.  I am excited and eager to begin our partnership together in helping develop the “whole” child in character and academics.  It is my goal to bring my skills as an educational leader to Cottonwood and be a part of our school team that will embrace, educate, and empower your child to ensure their success.


    Along with the teachers and staff, I will work hard to continue the legacy of achievement established by Cottonwood School through building strong relationships with parents, students and community partners.  We will provide a safe and equitable learning environment that focuses on academic excellence through critical thinking, problem-solving and positive behavior to prepare students to become competent digital and world citizens in a diverse society. 


   All of us at Cottonwood School are eager and excited to begin the process of transitioning back to campus learning and will continue to develop a plan that focuses on the safety of our students, staff, and families.  As your Principal, it is important to me that everyone who steps through our doors-teachers, students and parents-are excited to be here!  This attitude enables us to meet the challenges of academic excellence in a positive, fun, and nurturing environment.  Through our partnership, we will work towards our school’s vision - having our students educated in a positive, highly engaging school environment to become connected, independent, and collaborative life-long learners that are prepared for high school and beyond.  My door is always open and I welcome your input.  Please feel free to call or email me to discuss any concerns you might have throughout the school year. 


I do look forward to a positive year that allows our students, staff, and school community to demonstrate “Excellence - Every Person - Every Day.”


In partnership,


Mr. Nick Stearns

Nick Stearns' Brief Bio At-A-Glance



I have an AA in Physical Education, a BS in Human Performance, and an MA in Teaching.  I began my educational career in 2007 as a Speech and Language Pathologist on an emergency credential.  I then served as a Specialized Academic Instructor and then entered into an Administration role.


Favorite Activities

Spending time with my wife (Denise) and three children (Dominick, Noah, and Amelia), lifting weights, going on drives, trying new restaurants, watching football and basketball, and anything superhero related.


Favorite Books

By the Great Horn Spoon!, The Giving Tree, Epitaph, Doc, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Reclaiming Conversation, Acts, The Book on Leadership, and any mystery fiction novel that I can get my hands on!


Favorite Subject

U.S. History


Fun Facts

I always had a love for the wild west, cowboys, and the city of Tombstone due to my grandparents living there.  I had the opportunity to play football at the collegiate level at Union College (Kentucky), and have previously coached high school football, being the only head coach to take my previous school to the CIF playoffs, and now hold the record for worst playoff record in school history (0-1)!


Favorite Teams

LA Lakers, LA Chargers, LA Angels, and USC Trojans


Favorite Historical Persons

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Doc Holliday