Mrs. Shimizu Retires After Changing Dublin High for the Better


Mrs. Shimizu speaks at Senior Awards night for the Class of 2014.

Each year, graduation marks the end of an era for the senior class as they leave childhood and begin to transition into adulthood. However, this year also marks the end of an era for the entire school, as DHS’s longest serving principal Mrs. Shimizu retires.

Although her retirement this year marks the end of Mrs. Shimizu’s forty-eight year career in education, she initially didn’t want to be an educator; instead she stumbled onto teaching by accident.

“For a long time when I was in college, I kept changing my major because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but only that I wanted to work with people. So eventually I started to study Psychology and Child Development and English, but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with all that. So, when I graduated from college, my husband was sent to Germany with the military and in Germany I started teaching in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten program. I really enjoyed teaching.”

When she came back to the US, Mrs. Shimizu decided to go into education. She started teaching Child Development classes at San Jose State University before moving to Andrew Hill High School where she taught English, Psychology and helped students earn Early Childhood Education certificates. Mrs. Shimizu discovered that she enjoyed working with high school students better than with college students. She ended up staying at Andrew Hill High School for twenty years.

After she left Andrew Hill, Mrs. Shimizu became an administrator at Independence High School, also in San Jose. With 4,000 students, Independence High School is more than twice the size of DHS. To combat the school’s size, Independence HS didn’t have Assistant Principals the same way that we have at DHS. Instead, being an assistant principal at Independence High was like being in charge of a miniature school.” At Independence High, she “had [her] own school within a school.”

When Mrs. Shimizu started as an administrator at Independence High School, she drew on her more than twenty-year experience as an educator to become the type of assistant principal she wanted to be.

“I think being a teacher for a long period of time has helped me be a better administrator because I understand how hard teachers work and I appreciate how challenging their work is and I always want to make our school a great place because I valued that when I was in the classroom. I always had a lot of support from my administrators, and I always wanted to be able to give support back to my teachers.”

Although she had been a teacher for twenty years, becoming an administrator was a bit of an adjustment. Unlike a teacher, an administrator creates policy that doesn’t only affect one group of students, like a single class, but the whole school.

“There’s tremendous responsibility to being a principal. Huge, huge responsibility: responsible for the safety of students, to make sure teachers are talented and engaging students in learning, and to make sure that the school reflects the values of the community, to have a strong education purpose. There’s a large responsibility for that. With that comes a really rewarding part of the job, which is having an influence on educational policy. “

After working at Independence High for several years, Mrs. Shimizu worked as an Assistant Principal at Cupertino High School, and then worked at Homestead High School before coming to our very own DHS in 2004.

Upon coming to Dublin, the biggest problem Mrs. Shimizu faced was the school itself. Today, DHS has an awesome campus: there are the new  buildings, the Sports Complex, and the new theater. However, the key word here is new; when Mrs. Shimizu first arrived in 2004, the campus looked completely different.

“The buildings had been constructed around 1968 and when I came in 2004 we were starting to integrate technology into the classrooms and there wasn’t enough infrastructure to support the technology; the circuit breakers would go off or the technology wouldn’t work because we didn’t have enough power throughout the school. So, the biggest challenge was supporting the bond, Measure C, and encouraging the community to vote for the bond so that we had the funding to rebuild our school so that it met 21st century standards for our students.”

Fortunately, the Dublin voters delivered and DHS today has a beautiful campus. However, nothing, not the new buildings, not the theater nor the Sports Complex, would’ve become a reality without Mrs. Shimizu’s support of the Measure C bond.

After twelve years of being DHS’s principal, Mrs. Shimizu decided to retire Dublin High with this year’s seniors, who, quite appropriately, had just finished twelve years in the Dublin Unified School District as well. Mrs. Shimizu says that she will miss, “the staff, the students, and the families” from Dublin High. However, as much she’ll miss Dublin High, Mrs. Shimizu knows that it’s being left in good hands: “I’ve worked with some amazing assistant principals on our admin team: Mr. Branca, Ms. Byrne, Ms. Holthe, and Mr. Faris and all the office ladies that work so hard. Part of the leadership team includes student activities and counseling and technology; all those people work so hard for Dublin High. So the success the school has experienced have been because there are contributions from everyone.”

Once she retires, Mrs. Shimizu is planning travel and enjoy her summer without another school year looming in the distance. However, even though she’s retired, Mrs. Shimizu still plans on giving back to the local community by volunteering at Villa Montalvo, an arts and performing center in Saratoga.

After her long career in education, Mrs. Shimizu leaves Dublin High with both academic and personal advice for her students: “take the hardest classes you can and do the best you can, but remember to be helpful and kind.”