New district superintendent promises first to listen and learn

Hannah Blazei

On July 1, Dr. David Yoshihara assumed the office of TUHSD Superintendent after the resignation of the district’s previous superintendent last spring.

Yoshihara moved from southern California earlier this year to assume his position at the TUHSD. Due to his unfamiliarity with both the district and the area, he said that his goal for this semester is simply to listen.

“Sometimes it’s tempting for new leadership to come in and do a bunch of things and then leave,” Yoshihara said. “I’d much rather spend the time to learn about this community and what makes the community great, and see where they would like to go in the next couple years.”

DR. DAVID YOSHIHARA sits in his office located in the district offices on campus.  He is working to aid communication and offer equal opportunity to all students.
DR. DAVID YOSHIHARA sits in his office located in the district offices on campus. He is working to aid communication and offer equal opportunity to all students.

Yoshihara aims to ask questions directly to the students, parents, and staff in the district to find out what is working well and what they want to change.

According to Yoshihara, he is already intrigued by the base of students, parents, and the larger community that serve as the foundation for this district.

“Students here are very independent. They possess a sense of maturity and a sense of intellect that allows them to engage at a very high level,” Yoshihara said. “I think we have a community of parents that believe in their schools, and you can see that in the facilities we have, in the parents who come to events, and the amount of support they give—financially, but also in participating.”

Yoshihara, who grew up in Merced, California and graduated as an engineering major from UC Berkeley, discovered his interest in education through a field studies class during his senior year of college. He refers to the time he spent at an inner-city middle school as a defining moment in his life, a time when he discovered a true passion.

This experience led him to pursue a career in the field of education, and after beginning as a math teacher in the Central Valley, he continued to expose himself to a variety of other posts in a variety of districts.

Most recently, Yoshihara came from the San Gabriel Unified School District in Los Angeles County. While he realizes the similarities in achievement levels, he also acknowledges the diversity differences between the TUHSD and the San Gabriel District, which has a much larger Chinese population.

Yoshihara is not only an educator and administrator, but also a father of four children, an avid reader, and a lover of the outdoors. Not only does he enjoy observing students inside the classroom, but he also tries to get to know his students outside the classroom, whether it be on the sports field or on the drama stage.

The two main factors that attracted Yoshihara to the TUHSD were both the excitement of working with a high school-only district, as well as a basic aid district. In a basic aid district, the school receives funds based on local property taxes rather than state funding based on individual attendance.

Yoshihara acknowledges the great success and pride that is fostered at Redwood and he has high hopes to expand the same opportunities to the other schools in the TUHSD.

“I know that Redwood has a lot to be proud of from its drama, to its sports, to its academics—certainly that is something I have borne witness to here,” Yoshihara said.

Yoshihara made it clear that he intends to provide each school with equal resources and opportunities.

“I think sometimes, to the dismay of other schools, people do wonder ‘Why Redwood?’ from the Wellness Center, to the solar panels.”

Yoshihara said that if there is a way he can expand these opportunities to the other schools in the district, he hopes that the students and staff share their ideas with him.

To promote the accessibility that he advertises, Yoshihara will be holding student forums at every school on a monthly basis during lunch, giving students an opportunity to check in with him, introduce themselves, and ask questions.

Yoshihara said this was a successful practice in his previous school district.

“Anything, anytime, if there are any questions, people know I have an open-door policy,” Yoshihara said.