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Retiring DHS Staffer Shepherded Thousands of Students to Chart Their Next Course

October 13, 2021

As we know, life is a journey. For Leann Nobida that odyssey began as a youth in Michigan, then to personal and professional success in California and will now shift to Washington state by the end of October. While employed at Dublin High School as a College & Career Specialist, she has had the rare opportunity to guide students – regardless of where their post-high school path might take them. As an active parent volunteer that supported her two children at DHS, a professional opportunity emerged that would allow her to impact many more students.

To appreciate the College & Career Center, one must appreciate its evolution. With the confidence granted to her by the school administration, Ms. Nobida created a vibrant environment that transcended the mere name of the space. Among other things, the center served as a temporary meeting place for clubs, a quiet space for those that needed it, a central repository for scholarship opportunities, a location to host “First Friday” discussions and even a place to see a friendly face. Throughout the past seven years a countless number of students have gained resources that have impacted their post-DHS route. We recently sat down with Leann to reflect on her experiences and accomplishments.

Ms. Leann Nobida, retired Dublin High School College & Career Specialist. Photo by: Michael Utsumi
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Dublin Family Joins Forces to Share Stories and to Inspire Young Readers

September 15, 2021

Recently, a rare trifecta was formed in our midst. It had nothing to do with horse racing. Rather, it was a cross-generational collaboration of love. Three siblings contributed their personal writings with the guidance of their maternal grandfather. Some of these stories are a decade old and they were carefully edited and then embellished with original artwork. The result of this collaboration yielded the now published and available book “Rishi’s Jungle Safari.”

Rijuta, Ritama and Ribhav Vallishayee have either matriculated or continue to progress through the Dublin Unified School District. Rijuta is in her second year at Rice University in Houston TX, Ritama is a junior and Ribhav a freshman at Dublin High School. Their proud grandfather, Sadhan Kumar De is a retired professor from the Indian Institute of Technology. He currently resides in Kolkata – the capital of the Indian State of West Bengal. Sadhan is a published author and one of his titles is “Two Beautiful Minds”: Untold Story of IVF Invention. He continues to create stories and the family will concede that he lit the spark that inspired his grandchildren to follow in his footsteps. “Rishi’s Jungle Safari” is a compilation of short stories from all three siblings and the senior De. To understand this journey, we were blessed to sit down with a segment of the family and they shared their thoughts.

Authors and Dublin High School Students, Ribhav (9th Grade) and Ritama (11th Grade) Vallishayee. Photo by: Michael Utsumi
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Fellow Gaels Take Similar Journey That Is Connected Through Early Child Care

August 24, 2021

“You can’t go home again” – Thomas Wolfe

With all due respect to this brilliant author, many do but we’ll touch upon this later. The education business is no different than any other industry. Enterprises generally focus on their core competencies – in the case of Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) it is providing educational opportunities for all in a safe environment. But the mission is truly accomplished when partnerships are created that benefit both sides.

This profile is about two Dublin High School (DHS) graduates that are separated in age by six years. While they both attended Frederiksen Elementary School, they would not know each other until they became adults. What links them is that they are currently enrolled college students, and both are employed by Extended Day Child Care Center (EDCC). EDCC operates at all eight elementary school sites in Dublin and at Walnut Grove Elementary School in Pleasanton.

EDCC Site at Cottonwod Creek School K-8. Photo by: Michael Utsumi
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Arrival of Superintendent Chris Funk Marks a Pivotal Moment for DUSD

July 22, 2021

After a comprehensive search process, the Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees confirmed the appointment of Chris Funk as its new Superintendent. While his actual employment commenced on July 1, 2021, he invested time in June to meet with key personnel and stakeholders to facilitate his transition. This hire could not be more critical as DUSD is entering into both a dynamic phase and one that could benefit from greater stability from the superintendent’s office.

Dublin Unified School District Superintendent, Chris Funk. Photo by: Michael Utsumi

To be frank, the district has experienced a fair amount of turmoil in leadership over the past few years. After the abrogated tenure of Dr. Leslie Boozer in 2019, DUSD was fortunate to tap into a known quantity in Dr. Dave Marken. He came out of retirement after serving as superintendent of schools in Newark Unified. However, he elected to depart suddenly and Dr. Daniel Moirao agreed to serve as the interim superintendent for the 2020-21 academic year. To gain some perspective, it is interesting to consider some employment data from the academic world. As two references, we cite a study conducted by the Council of the Great City Schools and a post from the American Association of School Administrators. Between the two sources, the average tenure of a superintendent varies from 3.2 to 5.5 years. One of the explanations for the variance is that some surveys only account for large/urban school districts vs. treating all of them in the same manner. Regardless, the district has been led by three different leaders over the past three years.

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Inaugural Poetry and Pizza Open Mic to be Held at Patxi’s Pizza (Dublin)

July 8, 2021

DUBLIN, CA–In his first event as Dublin, California’s new Poet Laureate, James Morehead is teaming up with Patxi’s Pizza (Dublin) for the inaugural Poetry and Pizza Open Mic, to take place on Wednesday, Aug 18 6pm – 8pm, with the intent of creating a monthly space for East Bay poets to share their original work. The free event will be hosted by Morehead, feature local poets (adults and students, sign-up details below) including Poet Laureates from the Tri-Valley area.

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Superintendent Dr. Daniel Moirao Bids Farewell After Weathering Challenging School Year

June 29, 2021

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” – Walt Disney

The conclusion of this academic calendar will include changes at the Dublin Unified School District (“DUSD”) Office. Dr. Daniel Moirao has successfully concluded his interim contract and helped the district to navigate its most challenging year in recent memory. After the unexpected departure by Interim Superintendent Dave Marken in June,2020, the district sought out an interim replacement. The second interim would serve the 2020/21 year while a concurrent process would continue through a search firm to identify a permanent superintendent.

For anyone familiar with Dr. Moirao, they know that he is both fascinated and inspired by all things Disney. In June, he led the process of recognizing “Imagineers” throughout the district for staff members that led beyond expectations. However, the aforementioned quote becomes far more relevant when we consider what has actually occurred during his tenure. First, DUSD was facing the prospect of a full year of distance learning while COVID-19 remained the nation’s primary health threat. Second, a set of unforeseen and tragic circumstances within three months could have derailed all the progress that had been made. We recently sat down with Daniel and he graced us with an enlightening and very candid visit.

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James Morehead’s Debut Book “canvas: poems” Featuring Art by Kari Byron On Sale Now

June 15, 2021

DUBLIN, CA–City of Dublin Poet Laureate and OneDublin.org Founder James Morehead’s debut book canvas: poems, featuring original art by Kari Byron (EXPLR Media, MythBusters, Crash Test World) and Alla Tsank, and photographs by the author, went on sale today in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats, through retail booksellers and Ingram Content Group. Morehead documented his experience as a first-time author in a series of articles published on viewlesswingspress.com.

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English Language Development Teacher Lilia Tsui Honored by DUSD as Teacher of the Year

June 9, 2021

Pedagogy – noun: The study of teaching methods, including the aims of education and the ways in which such goals may be achieved. Source – Britannica.com

A decade ago, we had the pleasure to sit down with a DUSD English Language Development teacher after her recognition from the Alameda County Board of Education. She shared an anecdote that I found fascinating. The tale begins with a 3rd grader arriving in October from Vietnam. She did not speak a word of English. However, utilizing the proper techniques and tools, the young student had literally caught up to her peers in terms of English fluency by the end of the school year. It was then that I was introduced to pedagogy.

Ms. Lilia Tsui, DUSD Teacher of the Year. Photo by: Michael Utsumi

During the May 25, 2021 Board meeting, the district announced multiple staff recognitions. The 2020-21 Teacher of the Year is Lilia Tsui. After working for the Newark Unified School District for 10 years, she joined DUSD in 2012. Starting as a classroom teacher, she then transitioned as an English Language Development Specialist in 2015. She has supported students at both Dublin and Frederiksen Elementary Schools. In addition to her work with students, she has also trained her colleagues in Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) strategies. We met recently so that she could share her journey and to provide Lilia a platform to speak to her colleagues after such a challenging year.

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Dublin High School Well Represented Through City-Wide Recognition Program

May 11, 2021

While some of the neighboring cities in the Tri-Valley were established nearly 150 years ago, it is remarkable to note that the city of Dublin was incorporated in 1982. However, one of the enduring traditions that exists is recognizing a Citizen, Young Citizen and Organization of the Year. Annually, the community is encouraged to nominate those that embody the Dublin Integrity in Action Program’s 10 Characteristics: Responsibility, Caring, Respectfulness, Giving, Positive Attitude, Trustworthiness, Cooperation, Doing One’s Best, Honesty, and Self-Discipline. To encourage transparency, the evaluation and judging of these nominations are performed outside of Dublin. Historically, the event has been celebrated at the Shannon Center during an early evening presentation. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the winners were announced on April 28th on Tri-Valley Community Television. Award recipients will be recognized at the Dublin City Council Meeting scheduled on May 18th.

While past awardees have crossed a wide spectrum across the city, the 2020 winners had a distinct Dublin High School flavor. We recently had the great fortune to interview both the Young Citizen and Citizen of the Year. While their accomplishments would be notable in any year, it is even more amazing that they stepped forward during one of the most consequential periods of time that our community has experienced in recent memory.

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EXPLR Education Streaming Service from Kari Byron and Jenny Buccos Promises to Reinvent TV for Teens and Tweens

May 9, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–As families around the world gather to celebrate Mother’s Day 2021, many educators, parents, and students are struggling to adapt to the most significant disruption to education in a generation. Even as classrooms begin to welcome back students, changes to how education is delivered are here to stay.

That’s why I chose to be a backer of the EXPLR Kickstarter campaign (which recently raised it’s funding target after a successful start). EXPLR is a new, ad-free, subscription-based education streaming service from Jenny Buccos and Kari Byron targeted at tweens and teens. You can think of EXPLR as Netflix for high quality educational video content.

Scene from the EXPLR Series Girl Rising
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