Thank you for your dedicated service Dr. Tarwater (Opinion) |

Thank you for your dedicated service Dr. Tarwater (Opinion)

Brian Hogan
Guest column

On behalf of the Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation Board of Directors, we would like to congratulate Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent Jim Tarwater on his upcoming retirement after decades of dedicated service to K-12 students in California, and particularly LTUSD.

Unfortunately, for now, COVID-19 precludes the public celebration that he so richly deserves.

Looking back, some of us remember Jim’s arrival in Lake Tahoe 15 years ago when our situation was dire. Severe enrollment declines and a failed parcel tax led to closing two schools, elimination of class size reduction and dozens of teacher positions, and the prospect of cuts to many more essential programs.

Little did we know when he rode into town how quickly things would change. In what has to be some kind of record, Dr. Tarwater took on not only the superintendent role, but also assistant superintendent, CFO, and principal of the Magnet school, which he managed to reopen in his first months here.

His leadership continued through passing a school bond measure and obtaining matching funds to build state of the art facilities, especially at our high school, that are a source of pride for this community. Most do not know how truly amazing this was – doing project after project on schedule and in budget. Jim set out the vision and made it happen.

Along the way, he also helped bring us much needed technology upgrades, amazing Career Technical Education programs, Two Way Immersion, Preppie K, enhanced alternative education, the new middle school track and ‘Friday Night Lights’ — just to name a few.

Dr. Tarwater may be best known for high-fiving Magnet School kids every morning for eight years and also directing traffic at South Tahoe Middle School each morning and afternoon. But we who watch education closely know how deep his commitment to student safety and wellbeing runs. Kids are at the heart of all his amazing work.

The education community will surely miss the only ‘Supe’ most current students and parents have ever known.

From the Angora Fire through COVID-19, he led our schools with a strong and sure hand that inspired confidence in troubled times. Jim Tarwater left LTUSD and South Lake Tahoe much better off than he found us.

Thank you for your superb leadership and a truly outstanding career in education.

Brian Hogan is the board president for LTEF.

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