Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education named Elena Garcia-Yoshitomi as the next Principal of McKinley elementary school. Garcia-Yoshitomi, a Doctoral candidate at California Lutheran University, has over a decade of public education experience as a teacher, instructional coach, and site administrator with Conejo Valley Unified School District and Oxnard School District. She will begin her new role on July 1, 2019.
“Elena Garcia-Yoshitomi is a well-respected bilingual education leader whose enthusiasm, sense of humor, and strong academic expertise will be a welcome addition to the McKinley school community,” said Cary Matsuoka, Superintendent. “We are excited to have found an exceptional leader in Garcia-Yoshitomi and look forward to having her join us this July.”
Currently, an Assistant Principal at a kindergarten to eighth-grade school a part of Oxnard School District, Garcia-Yoshitomi has always felt a connection with Santa Barbara. She is a second generation University of California Santa Barbara alum. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish from the University of California in Santa Barbara and completed her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at the California State University in Northridge. Garcia-Yoshitomi credits her experience in Santa Barbara as the community where she formed her identity as a leader and advocate for education.
“I am excited to serve as Principal of McKinley elementary to utilize my experience and education background to give back to the city that ultimately ended the cycle of poverty for my family,” said Elena Garcia-Yoshitomi. “I believe in leading by building bridges between communities, families, teachers, staff, and students to create an emotionally healthy environment that promotes the academic success of all students. I look forward to being a part of the McKinley school community!”
Garcia-Yoshitomi’s parents were the first in their families to attend college at the University of California in Santa Barbara during the 1970s. After they met on the steps of Campbell Hall, graduated, and married, six of her mother’s eight sisters and nine other family members graduated from the University. Education opportunities in Santa Barbara ended the cycle of poverty for her family and defined Garcia-Yoshitomi’s purpose and commitment to lift others through public education.
In Garcia-Yoshitomi’s free time, she is a Doctoral candidate with California Lutheran University where she is studying social media and parental involvement in K-12 settings. She remarks that as a result, “I like to eat ice cream and drink coffee!”