School Board welcomes new PHS principal and PUSD director of special education

The Board of Education welcomed two new hires to the district at their April 24 meeting. Jean Fagin will take over as director of special education and David Yoshihara as PHS principal on July 1. Both Fagin and Yoshihara were in attendance at the Wednesday meeting.

Interviews for a new director of athletics are in process, according to PUSD.

PUSD Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hawn said that both candidates underwent a rigorous interview process that included three rounds of interviews, writing samples, extensive background checks, and that involved a large number of stakeholders — teachers, board members, community members, parents, and students.

Hawn said she took the extra step of conducting a site interview to observe how Yoshihara interacted with students and staff. “In all, Dr. Yoshihara shined as a collaborative leader who prioritizes relationships and building teams in the best interest of students and staff,” said Hawn in a statement.

PUSD shared the following background information on the two administrators:

Jean’s special education career has spanned twenty-two years. She has shared that she has had the privilege of working in both rural and urban settings, from the Navajo reservation in Arizona to large cities, such as Oakland and Chicago. Fourteen of those years were spent in the classroom as a special education teacher as well as a mentor teacher.

Jean’s initial training was focused on teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities, but she has also worked with students with a wide range of abilities, including as a Resource Teacher, Co-teacher, and Special Day Class teacher. And, for the past seven years, Jean has served as a special education administrator, including as the Director of Special Education for Leadership Public Schools and as the Regional Director of Special Education for Aspire Public Schools. Jean earned her undergraduate degree and certification from Illinois State University and her graduate degree from Loyola University Chicago.

David Yoshihara has been in public education for almost 30 years having worked in K-12, community colleges and universities. He has served in unified districts, elementary districts, high school districts, and county offices of education. Dr. Yoshihara has worked in all major areas of education from curriculum and instruction to business services and human resources. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from UC Berkeley – Go Bears.

His Master of Arts degree is from Chapman University and his doctorate in organizational leadership is from the University of La Verne. Dr. Yoshihara has served in all types of schools and districts, including districts very similar in high achievement to PUSD. His current areas of focus have been improving instructional leadership in schools, addressing issues of inequity, and increasing student voice in K-12 education.

Some of his major accomplishments include the formation of a first-of-its kind music immersion program to close the academic achievement gap and the establishment of school-based wellness centers. Dr. Yoshihara has served on various boards and commissions including but not limited to First 5 of Sacramento, Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistant Team, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Trustee dispels rumor that PUSD plans to close Millennium High School

Trustee Cory Smegal said that in the midst of recent budget cut discussions, a rumor circulated that PUSD planned to shut down Millennium High School, the district’s alternative high school. As the school board representative to the MHS parent club, Smegal said parents asked her to make a public statement affirming there were no plans to close the school, which she did. “There are no plans or discussions about closing Millennium. MHS serves and extremely valuable purpose in our community.”

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