Meet the Admin: Julie Self Main

On our campus, we have numerous hardworking administrators and each of them have taken different journeys which led them to their positions today. Julie Self Main, a principal assistant at Downey High, has worked here for 10 years and has contributed plenty to our school. 

When people inquire Main about where she grew up, Main’s answer is always Downey because she completed the majority of her middle and high school here. In actuality, Main grew up in Arkansas on a big chicken farm. In the 1970s, their farm folded, causing them to move back to California: the birthplace of her parents. Her father’s family was from Arkansas, but they migrated to Bell Gardens, California to make money during the Dust Bowl Era; they were some of the “Okies” whose farms were overtaken by windstorms. 

“If you trace back my family, that’s how we first came out here because they lost their farms,” Mrs. Main said. “That’s why this time period I always connected with.”

Throughout her childhood, Main found herself constantly moving, but the Main family found a more permanent residence in Bell Gardens, staying at their Uncle’s in his tiny two-bedroom apartment. Her parents got one bedroom and with six of them, the kids took turns sleeping on the bed. 

Despite living in Bell Gardens, Main did not attend the schools around there since Downey provided better schooling. In order for Main to go to Griffiths Middle School, she used a fake address; her mother would drop her off at Treasure Island Park, and hop on the bus, acting as if she lived in the area like the majority of the students. Eventually, when her parents got more money, they were able to move to Downey.

As mentioned before, Main found herself moving around continuously as an adolescent, which didn’t give Main the chance to stick to one school each year; she was always the new kid. In 1985, the move came to a stop during her sophomore year at Warren High School. She cherishes every year she spent in high school because she had an amazing experience.

“I only wanted to be at one high school, that’s a gift I mean what a privilege to have one high school for three years,” she said. 

Main took the chance to be involved in school activities; she joined cheer for one year and then ran for the office in ASB. “When you’re involved in school you make friends” Luckily, she slowly made her way to ASB President and allowed Main to create friendships with those around her. After a few years in 1987, she graduated from Warren. 

Aside from being a student at WHS, she became a teacher as well as the Cheerleader Advisor at Warren for 7 years. Now, she’s been working for nearly 10-11 years at Downey High School. 

Main has had an adventure of experiences throughout her life in terms of her career. She studied for a history major at Cal State Long Beach and became an American History teacher at Warren High School. She mentions how connected she’s been with everything from her past that has led to her future, for example, becoming a history teacher. “I fell in love with my history teacher teaching,” says Main. She very much loved the stories from the south, growing up in Arkansas, she mentions how many historical parks she grew up living around in and everything connected to her interests; the Battlefield parks. 

“All the parks were famous battlefields so I grew up kind of in Arkansas around battlefields…” she states, “When you read about a battle you like ‘OMG’ that’s where we were on Sunday”

Later, Main went back to school and studied at Azusa Pacific, a Christian University, for her counseling master’s and later on her administration. Main believes her counseling career was meant to be as one may know in counseling the staff has the role with/job to work with new students. As a student who moved around many times, she felt connected with the students she helped and “spoiled” them.