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The Man, The Myth, The Ponytail: Meet Mr. Taylor

On the first day of school, I vividly recalled seeing among the crowds of new and flustered freshmen a brand new face frantically chasing down students in hopes of slipping a dress code violation in their hands. For the first few weeks, the senior class shamelessly made Assistant Dean of School Safety and Security Mr. […]

On the first day of school, I vividly recalled seeing among the crowds of new and flustered freshmen a brand new face frantically chasing down students in hopes of slipping a dress code violation in their hands. For the first few weeks, the senior class shamelessly made Assistant Dean of School Safety and Security Mr. Matthew Taylor-Viruet’s life terribly difficult by running away from him when he was punishing an individual, calling him names such as “Mr. Dean” and “ponytail”, and enforcing “harsh” dress code rules that we, as a collective student body, never knew existed.

However, now students like Anna Cotter (’22) see Mr. Taylor as one of their favorite administrators on campus.

“He is the only person in the administration that has interacted with students on a regular basis and talked to them and made an effort to get to know them,” explains Anna. “I tell him everything — he is very trustworthy.”

Mr. Taylor grew up here in Sacramento with two twin brothers and attended Kit Carson Middle School then went on to Sacramento High School. After finishing his academic career at Sac High, he made the transition into Sacramento State and got a degree in criminal justice. And if that was not enough, he even got his Master’s degree in education.

Right down the street from us here at CB, around his junior year at Sac High, Mr. Taylor took up the sport of volleyball. “I just got tired of just being at home so I was just like ‘might as well… let’s go play volleyball’, and it was rough at first,” he recalls. “Then I played senior year and it was something I really enjoyed.”

Mr. Taylor found such an infatuation within the sport of volleyball that he began coaching the second he officially became a Sac High alum. He continued coaching into his time as an employee of Sac High and now coaches at Oakmont High School in Roseville. To say that volleyball is a passion of his is an understatement — it clearly is a piece of his life he has continuously clung on to.

When in college, Mr. Taylor randomly decided on criminal justice but became quite unsure if this career path is something he even wanted to continue. However, he stuck with the program and came out a well-seasoned expert in the criminal justice world. I mean, he is the dean of campus safety for a reason.

“Once you get into college and you’re ‘like I’m just gonna pick a random major’, then you just kind of stick with it,” he says. “At the time when I started college, I thought it was what I wanted to do, but as you progress through the program and hear different things about law enforcement, it’s kind of like ‘eh, I’m not too thrilled’ but it was too late in the game to switch majors.”

Clearly, Mr. Taylor finds great appreciation for the education here in Sacramento. So much so, he even continued coaching multiple sports such as volleyball and wrestling at Sac High during his collegiate years and continued to work as an associate dean for Sac High after graduation.

“At Sac High, it felt like I never left”, Mr. Taylor shared. “I graduated, and as soon as I graduated, I was already coaching so it genuinely felt like I never left.”

A Sactown legend, some may say, Mr. Taylor has been an educator since the second he graduated from college, jumping from Sac High to Arden Middle School and now to us here at CB. This made me wonder: why a criminal justice degree if he has such a passion for being a part of the education realm?

“It’s a flawed system,” Mr. Taylor explains. “The criminal justice system is broken — there’s no way to fix it anytime soon unless you overhaul so you know it was either as a cop you arrest people when they’re older or you work in a school and you try to help them when they’re younger. That’s the two realms of reality.”

From my own experience, Mr. Taylor truly does extend a helping hand to each and every student he encounters. At lunch I will see him interacting with every pod of students in an attempt to learn everyone’s name and a little more about each student. When Mr. Taylor first introduced himself to me and those at my lunch table, I know we all felt touched. It truly does mean a lot when an administrator makes an effort to better know their students.

I know, especially on days when I am feeling down, Mr. Taylor is there to pick me right back up. He offers advice, is not afraid to speak his mind if you ask for it, and always leaves his office door wide open for anyone and everyone if you need someone to talk to.

“I tell him all my business and trust him with my life,” Anna says. “He’s literally seen me cry.”

“You can trust him, but he can also do his job and be hardcore,” says Quinn Pulliam (’23).

Mr. Taylor’s job is maintaining safety among student life and on campus, but clearly students trust him and see him as a person they can turn to.

“Kids aren’t always going to be comfortable with their home situation, they’re not always going to be comfortable with a teacher, they’re not always going to be comfortable with a counselor, they just need somebody,” Mr. Taylor says. “If you really need to talk, my door is going to be open 100% of the time. That’s what it’s about.”

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