Rishi Lal is currently the Assistant Principal at Santa Cruz High School, located in Santa Cruz, California. Prior to this, he worked as a Special Education teacher, gaining his teaching experience in schools with predominantly low-income students and students of color. Rishi was born in the tribal land of the Nisenan, Valley Miwok, Me-Wuk, and South Maidu people. This land was later colonized and renamed as Sacramento, California. Rishi identifies as a queer, cisgender male. He has been married to his husband, Dante, for five years. As a child born to first-generation immigrants from India, he sometimes refers to himself as an “ABCD” (American-Born Confused Desi). However, he incorporates his traditional Punjabi upbringing into his yoga, spirituality, and Eastern approaches to medicine and education.
Throughout his work educational career, he has focused on equity, diversity and inclusion of LGBTQIA+ youth and students of color in schools. He is serving as an advisor for the Santa Cruz High Black Student Union, Santa Cruz High Rainbow Alliance, PAAHS (Parents of African-American Heritage Students), the Santa Cruz City Safe Schools Project, the Santa Cruz City Schools Queer Task Force, and the AASTF (African American Students Task Force) with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. He is also serving as an educational advisor for the Santa Cruz County Queer Youth Task Force. Rishi is currently on the Superintendent’s Race & Bias Advisory Board. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Creating Change Youth Delegate Program, and a member of the National LGBTQ Task Force.
As an artivist, Rishi expresses his passion for equity in education through video production and video editing. He also encourages his students to use video and media as a tool for their activism. Rishi is an expert in utilizing technology to transform the educational experience for underrepresented students.
Rishi graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences with an emphasis in multi-cultural studies, and a minor in Biological Sciences. He completed his Masters in Educational Leadership at California State University, Sacramento. He is currently enrolled in the Santa Cruz County Office of Education Clear Administrative Credential Program.