Yosemite High School Superintendent Steve Raupp surprised many, including the district's board of trustees, when he announced his retirement last week after a 34-year career as teacher, coach, athletic director, vice principal and superintendent.
Raupp and Jane, his high school sweetheart and wife of 38 years, moved to Oakhurst in 1978 after being invited to come visit Yosemite High. Oakhurst and the Yosemite campus were a pleasant sight for the young couple after spending three years in the desert town of Indio where summer temperatures could reach 115 degrees.
Although he had offers from a couple other schools, Steve and Jane liked Oakhurst so much he decided to buy a house in Oakhurst and interview for a position at the high school ... in that order.
The school and Oakhurst has benefited from that decision ever since.
As a young teacher and coach, Raupp brought enthusiasm and a winning attitude to Yosemite High.
He was also a disciplinarian as his young football teams discovered quickly. You can still find him at home basketball games, back against the wall with one eye on the game and the other on the Yosemite student section -- his presence alone probably keeps some student's behavior in check.
He became district superintendent three years ago during a tough transition in the district's history. The job hasn't gotten any easier with declining enrollments and an eroding state budget nightmare that impacts all school districts. He has had his share of challenges that would have been daunting to even an experienced superintendent.
Although the USS Yosemite ship has been listing a bit, Raupp, along with the school board, can be credited with working hard to keep the ship afloat.
District board member Monika Moulin said Raupp always used a collaborative approach -- always seeking input from those best informed when evaluating and acting on tough issues.
This collaborative approach not only made for sound decisions but also gained Raupp the respect of school board and community members, district staff and county school officials.
Colleagues have called him honest, ethical, fair, organized, professional, supportive and generous.
One can only hope the new superintendent will have his qualities.