Amador High School

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Amador High School
330 Spanish Street

Amador County

Coordinates38°23′53″N 120°48′39″W / 38.39813°N 120.81094°W / 38.39813; -120.81094Coordinates: 38°23′53″N 120°48′39″W / 38.39813°N 120.81094°W / 38.39813; -120.81094
School districtAmador County Unified School District
AdministratorJulie Riffel
PrincipalJessica Dorris
Teaching staff28.62 (FTE)[1]
Age range13-18
Number of students694 (2018–19)[1]
Average class size27
Student to teacher ratio24.25[1]
Hours in school day7 hours, 45 minutes
Color(s)Dark Blue, White, and Gray    
Fight song"On to Victory"
Athletics conferenceMother Lode League
Team nameThe Thundering Herd
RivalArgonaut High School
National ranking1747 (2016-17 School Year)
Newspaper"Herd This"
Yearbook"The Skip"
Feeder schoolsIone Junior High School, Jackson Junior High School
Mascot NameBuckingham "Bucky" Amador Buffalo
BandAmador High School Marching and Concert Band

Amador High School, located in Sutter Creek, California, is one of two high schools in Amador County. It is a public school that serves about 700 students in grades 9-12.[2] Originally known as "Amador County High School" at its inception in 1911, the school's name changed to "Sutter Creek Union High School" in 1916, reverting to "Amador County High School" in 1949, at the request of that year's graduating class. In 1984, upon completion of the merger of three school districts in the county, the name was changed to "Amador High School".[3]


California uses the Academic Performance Index (API) to measure annual school performance and year-to-year improvement. Amador High School had an API growth score of 791 in 2009. Amador High School's 2009 base score was 788, however the school did not meet its 2009 school-wide growth target.

Under No Child Left Behind, a school makes Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) if it achieves the minimum levels of improvement determined by the state of California in terms of student performance and other accountability measures. Amador High School made AYP in 2009.

School statistics[edit]

Scores on the California Standards Test[4] follow:

Subject Amador HS Other CA Schools
English/Language Arts 58% 41%
Geometry 42% 24%
US History 38% 38%
Biology 51% 36%
Science 32% 35%


Amador High School is home of the Buffaloes (Thundering Herd). They are part of the Mother Lode League and a member of the California Interscholastic Federation (Sac-Joaquin Section) and offer the following programs:

  • Fall Season

- Football (Men)

- Cross Country Running

- Volleyball (Women)

- Water Polo

  • Winter Season

- Basketball

- Wrestling

- Skiing/Snowboarding

- Soccer

  • Spring Season

- Baseball (Men)

- Softball (Women)

- Track & Field

- Golf

- Swimming

- Tennis

Amador High School is well known for their superior Girls Soccer program. Since its inception in 1998, the Amador Girls Soccer program has amassed 13 league championships. The Amador Girls Soccer program has campaigned its way to four consecutive years of league championships, in both Varsity and Junior Varsity squads, (2012,2013,2014,2015) and has 2 CIF Section Championships in both division 6 in 2013 and division 5 in 2015. Amador also offers many other sports, such as football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, and swimming. Throughout the 1980s they had the most successful track and field program in the Mother Lode League with at times over 70 athletes participating on one team. The schools pee-wee football & cheer team is called the "Amador Jr. Buffaloes". Current UC Davis Football Defensive Assistant Brian Bellotti was a member of the Amador High School Football Team from 2001 to 2003. In 2011, the boys basketball team made it to the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships, held at Arco Arena. The team unfortunately did not win, but became the runner-up. Amador's cross country has had some notable performances and consistently advances each year to sections led by Jesse Shaw. Amador's Girl Cross Country won the Sac-Joaquin Sections in 2012-2013, and continued on to State. The boy's cross country team ran very well in their 2017 season and became undefeated MLL Champions and placed 3rd at Sac-Joaquin Sections. Amador also has a stellar football program led by Bill Baker. He has produced multiple winning seasons as well as playoff appearances in the past few years. After losing in the 1st round 3 years in a row, some of the Amador players have decided to change up the tradition of 'facing the house' and now face the hill in all warm ups. In 2016, Coach Bill Baker lead the Thundering Herd to win the CIF Division 6 Sectional Championship.

Rivalry with Argonaut[edit]

Known as the "Big Game" officially, and unofficially also the "Cross-County Clash",[5] the towns of Sutter Creek and Jackson have watched Argonaut High School & Amador High School face off in athletics for more than 50 years. In football, both teams play for the coveted "Rotary Bell",[6][7] which remains in the possession of the winning team for a full year. Students previously participated by defacing the other school's property, but in recent years police have succeeded in controlling the vandalism. The town of Sutter Creek supports Amador during sports seasons by displaying the school's colors along Main Street.


Amador High School Drama[8] and Publications is headed by theater teacher Giles Turner (who has held the position since 1967).[9] The curriculum within the program focuses on a wide range: improvisation, solo acting, duo acting, musical theater, playwriting, and both modern and classical plays are chosen for productions. In the year end show, Revue, students are encouraged to write original skits and perform original music. Community involvement is a cornerstone of Turner's program, with students often asked to volunteer at events in the county throughout the year.

Students of the program typically compete in two separate theater festivals: Lenaea Drama festival in Folsom and Amador's own Motherlode Drama Festival (MLDF). Typically held in the last week of April, the Mother Lode Drama Festival invites schools from across Central and Northern California to compete in solo acting, duo acting, one-act plays and vocal competitions. A larger focus of either festival is on community building for the students, rather than outright competition/awards.

In 2013, the school's theater was retitled The Giles Turner Performing Arts Center, in honor of Turner's 50th year in the teaching profession. Later in 2018, Turner was again commemorated with a celebration held by former students in honor of his 50th year teaching theater at Amador; in order to continue his legacy, a theater scholarship, the Giles Turner Alumni fund, was set up to provide financial aid to those who wish to continue to study theater.[9]


Amador High School started the first band in all of Amador County in Sutter Creek in the 1914–15 school year, with the 2014–15 school year marking the 100th anniversary of bands in the county. The band has had a number of directors, most notably Hank King, who was the director at the school on and off for over forty years. Evan Fellman is the current band director for the high school.

In 2005, Christopher Tootle became the main director for the ailing school band program, and has since built it back up to over fifty students. Tootle had recently announced his resignation for the 2014–2015 school year,[10] although UOP-graduate John Johnson took his place as of September 16, 2014. Johnson himself had graduated from Amador High School in 2010.

The concert band participates in the Disneyland Performing Arts program, going every two years. Other band events include: The Italian Picnic Parade, the Parade of Lights, Forum Festival, PacWest, and many more. The standard uniform for marching is white tops with silver buttons, navy pants, black shoes and black shakos. Concert attire is black blouses and skirts for the ladies and tuxedos for the gentlemen.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Amador High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 12, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Amador High School: School Accountability Report Card, 2016–2017, Amador County Unified School District.
  3. ^ Amador High School Yearbook, "The Skip", 1989
  4. ^ "Amador High School: School Accountability Report Card, 2005–2006, Amador County Unified School District" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  5. ^ "Ledger Dispatch: Big Game is tonight as Amador visits Argonaut. November 13, 2009". Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
  6. ^ Ledger Dispatch: To the victor goes the bell. Oct 6, 2017 .
  8. ^ Amador High School Performing Arts
  9. ^ a b Schaap, Caitlyn. "Alumni Come Together to Celebrate Teacher's Impact". Ledger Dispatch. Retrieved 23 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Ledger Dispatch: The Day the Music Died. July 24, 2014". Archived from the original on 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2015-06-30.

External links[edit]