Yosemite Unified School District Superintendent Steve Raupp has announced that he will retire June 30, ending his 34-year career in the district.
Raupp announced his retirement to the district board of trustees during closed session Jan. 9 and to the Yosemite High School staff last Friday through a prepared e-mail statement.
Raupp was first hired at Yosemite High in 1978 as a coach and a business teacher after teaching and coaching three years at Indio High School. He was named the school's third head varsity football coach in 1979 and served in that capacity for 11 years. In 1983 his team won the school's first league championship, upsetting then No. 1 state ranked small school Dos Palos.
Raupp also served as the school's head track and field coach between 1982 to 1990, winning six league championships. In 1984 he was named Yosemite's athletic director and in 1990 was appointed assistant principal at the school.
In 1999, Raupp was named school principal, a position he held until 2009. During his tenure as principal, Yosemite High School was twice named a California Distinguished School, in 2001 and again in 2005.
"I am very proud of the two distinguished school awards," Raupp said. "They are really a reflection of the outstanding staff and the great students I have been privileged to work with at Yosemite."
In 2005 the school was also one of 15 in California to be recognized as having an exemplary career technical education program.
In 2008 Raupp was named the Madera County School Administrator of the Year. He was named co-interim superintendent from October 2008 until July 1, 2009 when he became the superintendent, replacing Bill McCabe.
"I have enjoyed my 34-year affiliation with Yosemite High School, especially relationships with students and colleagues," Raupp said after his surprise announcement. "Living in the community this long I run into former students virtually every day and it is rewarding to see that they have gone on to become successful. Seeing former students come back to Yosemite as teachers and staff members and as parents of current students is very rewarding."
Raupp, 59, grew up in Orange County, graduating in 1970 from Fountain Valley High School where he was an all-league and all-county selection as an offensive guard in football. He also ran track. He continued his football career while attending Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach for two years and then transferred to Claremont Men's College (1973-1975) where he was named honorable mention all-conference.
He received his teaching credential from Claremont Graduate School and his master's degree in educational administration from National University along with his administrative credential.
Raupp is active in the education community outside the district serving as a visiting committee member and team leader for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation process. He has been active as an athletic administrator, serving as league president and president of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Section. He has also been on the State CIF Federated Council, a member of the State CIF Executive Committee and chairman of the State Track and Cross County Advisory Committee.
He is a member of the Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise Rotary Club, serving as the club's president in 1996-97. He and his wife Jane, will celebrate their 39th anniversary this year. The couple have two children, Matt, a 2000 Yosemite High graduate, now a firefighter in Fresno and Carrie, a 1998 Yosemite graduate now teaching at Quail Lakes Charter School in Sanger and married to 1996 YHS graduate Dustin Hail, a Cal Fire battalion chief.
Raupp said while he has enjoyed every role he has played at Yosemite High, he most enjoyed working directly with students as a teacher and coach.
"Beyond the wins and the championships, it is the relationships you develop along the way that are most memorable," Raupp said. "It's great to see former students and players going on to lead productive lives. Hopefully I have had a positive influence on them."
Raupp said the biggest changes in education he has seen over the past 37 years is the implementation of more accountability on staff members, higher standards for students including more focus on test scores and additional state and federal educational requirements. He feels the overall economy has hurt education.
"This has resulted in larger class sizes, fewer resources and has made the job for teachers much more difficult," Raupp said. "I have a great deal of respect for the work teachers do every day in the classroom that makes a difference in the lives of children ... and they continue to do a great job everyday, despite the budgetary constraints they have to deal with."
He hopes when the economy starts to rebound funding will be restored. "The governor faces a huge challenge. I believe he is trying to address the problem in a responsible manner, through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Hopefully his tax initiative will pass in November."
Raupp feels that for the past four years, education has borne the brunt of the state budget cuts and school districts have been working diligently to deal with it.
"We have had to make staff reduction and increase class sizes, but we are running out of places to make cuts," Raupp said. "We have done our best to maintain programs and services for students but are running out of options."
Best memories from the football field
Although Raupp has many good memories as a teacher and administrator, his best memories are from the football field. Especially two giant wins over powerhouse Dos Palos at home on a muddy field in 1983 and at Dos Palos the following year.
"In 1983, they were two-time defending CIF champions and had a 29 game win streak, the longest in the state at the time and we were coming off a 2-8 season," Raupp remembers. With the Broncos ahead 7-3, they fumbled inside their 10-year line and the Badgers quickly scored on a play action pass and Yosemite had the 10-6 upset victory.
The two teams ended the season as league co-champs.
The very next year, the Badgers beat Dos Palos 14-10 to end the Bronco's 67 game home win streak. The Badgers won league going 5-0. The team was down to 19 players by the end of the season but still managed a school record that still stands today -- seven shutouts, giving up just 33 points -- least in the state that year.
That year, quarterback Chris Mullins was named the Cal-Hi small schools Player of the Year.
"In a four year span Dos Palos won four CIF championships and lost only two games ... both to us," Raupp said. "We were ranked as high as No. 3 in the Cal-Hi small school division that year."
Raupp and the Badgers went on to win additional championships in 1984 and 1987, and were ranked as high as third in the state's small school division during his tenure.
Special board meeting Jan. 23
The district will be retaining a search firm to recruit and hire a new superintendent and a special board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 to begin the process of selecting the firm.
Raupp will be working with the board to facilitate the hiring process for the new superintendent and he says he is confident the district will be able to find a strong candidate who is the right fit for the district.
One solid plan
Looking forward to his retirement, Raupp said he might get involved with CIF again.
"Right now, I have made only one solid plan -- I will be taking my grandson to his first day of kindergarten in the fall."