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Cathy Okubo

Cathy Many moons ago I was born into a family of teachers. My mother taught home economics, my brother taught calculus and physics, and most of my aunts, uncles and cousins are teachers. We could open up our own school and teach French, Spanish, math, special education, science, psychology and so much more. I knew that I was destined to become a teacher.

When I graduated from undergraduate school, I joined the Peace Corps and went to Colombia. After three years as a rural home economist and social worker, I came home with memories that still touch my heart and a yearning to help others. While waiting to enter school in public health, I read an article about bilingual education. Before I knew it, I was enrolled in the program and working as a teaching assistant. I received a Master’s degree from Eastern Michigan in Spanish, with an emphasis in bilingual/bicultural education.

Within a month of graduation, I was engaged and off to Waukegan, Illinois to teach a 4th grade bilingual classroom. Finally, in 1985, my husband and I made the big move out to sunny California and I received a job as a bilingual teacher at Taft School in Redwood City.

Years passed and I became the cooperative learning coach for the District, the resource/outreach teacher for Taft, the K-2 literacy coach, the 3-5 literacy coach, the Director of English Language Services, and finally in 2005 I became the principal of Orion Elementary School. In between these years, my husband and I raised a son and daughter and I received my administrative credential and masters in Administrative Education from San Francisco State University.

Due to the educational budget cuts, in 2010 the District had to look around and rearrange staff’s job duties. Having a strong staff development background and a small school, I was assigned to work for Staff Development and be Orion’s principal. This is my second year juggling the two jobs. While the workload can be a challenge, it has kept me up to date with the latest educational research and allowed me the opportunity to perform two jobs I love, teaching and running a school. Being with children all day long is a joy. Everyday I learn something new and continue to grow. For me, Orion is the perfect school; people come here because they want to be here. That’s why I am here too!

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