Regina Carr, the new principal of Yosemite High School, has an immense fondness for both the school and the Mountain Area.
Growing up in Fresno, Carr said Oakhurst was always a top stop on her family’s way to Yosemite, where she learned to backpack, hike, and ski.
“Though I have been fortunate to travel to many countries, Yosemite and the Sierras are my favorite place in the whole word,” said Carr, who also spent a summer at Bass Lake as a child. “I consider it a privilege and honor to be a part of the tradition that is Oakhurst and Yosemite High.”
With more than 10 years as an administrator and 17 as a teacher, Carr was frank in saying she’s dreamt of becoming part of the Badger family.
“Honestly, it’s my dream job,” Carr said. “Working with a highly engaged community, a smaller school setting, and a comprehensive high school that provides a diversity of activities, sports, and programs is simply ideal.”
As her immediate goals, since her first day Sept. 12, Carr had two words. Learn, and listen.
“To get to know the staff, students, and community is the first goal,” Carr said. “Listen to concerns and also what people feel that are the things are successful, and what is and isn’t working at the high school.”
In previous years, administrators with Yosemite Unified School District (YUSD) have noted that budget issues over declining enrollment, as well as increases in debt and pension payments, have cast a tense economic cloud over the district.
For Carr, those challenges are nothing new. And to help tackle them, she said involving the community, from students to parents and staff, was paramount.
“As I learned as a child, watching the efficacy of what people can create when they work together, I believe that whatever the challenges may be, when we work together to address them we can make YHS even better,” Carr said. “I tend to look at challenges or conflicts from the angle of what is possible ... I strive to be action oriented.”
Her new job hasn’t been an easy one to step into. YUSD and some other districts recently canceled classes as the Railroad Fire in Fish Camp, and Mission Fire in North Fork, belched out enough smoke to push hazardous conditions more than 700% above federal standards.
Carr said student safety was always the highest priority, no matter how difficult cancellations can be, and thanked her staff including assistant principal Diane Adney for their quick response.
“Living in a remote area possesses a lot of challenges,” Carr said. “Fires in the fall, snow and fog in the winter, and mudslides or other issues from water in the spring. I know that last minute changes are difficult for families. Being in communication as soon as possible with updated information is important and I’ll look to make sure that always takes place.”
Additionally, during a Patriot Day ceremony at the school in honor of Sept. 11, several parents raised concerns about two Christian-themed prayers during the event, which was mandatory for students to attend. The program was hosted by Sierra Tel, and the school as well as the public were invited to attend.
Public schools, as a government body, cannot by law advocate religious practices in any form.
Carr and YUSD Superintendent Cecelia Greenberg - also in her first year - investigated the incident. They found the prayers were given by outside speakers, and said in a letter to parents they shouldn’t have occurred, and will not be allowed again. Student-led prayer remains acceptable at the school.
Carr said it’s important to be a part of the community and work to resolve any issues.
“I am here to support our students and teachers,” Carr said. “If anyone has a concern or a question, they are welcome to give me a call any time.”
Some parents who expressed those concerns also noted they were pleased with the high school’s response.
Mostly, Carr said she was happy to be a part of the town and looked forward to building on the strong foundations at Yosemite High.
“I am thrilled to be joining the team, not just at the high school and in the district but also the community,” Carr said. “I can't wait to live in the mountains. From the moment I stepped onto campus for my interview, everyone from security and students to teachers and district staff have been incredibly welcoming and gracious. This reflects on positive school and community culture, I feel fortunate that I get to be a part of this.
“I look forward to meeting you and seeing you at the games and activities. Go Badgers!”