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Meet the Principal

As that new teacher in the early 90’s, I taught U.S. and World History at Rio Lind Junior High in the Sacramento area. Looking back on that time, I smile. Many thought I was crazy to teach at this level, but I loved it. The students made me laugh and strive to become a better teacher. I would not change it for the world. These experiences drove my passion for preparing all students for college and achieving their dreams beyond the TK-12 classroom.


In the early 2000s, I met and married my husband whose family’s business was in Kern County. As a result, we moved to Bakersfield, and I decided to work part-time while raising our young family. This led me to work for the non-profit, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) for 18 years, ultimately becoming the Assistant State Director for Northern California. During this time, I coached and supported the AVID team in the north and provided consultative services to district leadership in the areas of instructional practices, coaching teachers, classroom visits, the use of data, team structures, and professional development.

I have always believed that students should grow as learners no matter their level, and I believe the same for myself. For this reason and to spend more time with my husband and now 15 and 17-year-old children, I decided to leave AVID to take on a new challenge by becoming a coordinator for the new professional development team in the Panama-Buena Vista Unified School District. While in this position, I helped to shape the district’s innovative professional development, pbvU. This opportunity helped me grow as a leader and make an impact at the district level.

As a young educator, my abilities and passion led me to teach, but I never dreamed of becoming a principal, like others of my colleagues. It was almost as if I backed into it. While working as a coordinator, one of my roles was to support schools when the actual principal was out. This afforded me the opportunity to dive back into a world with students, teachers, and support staff. I was hooked.


Now as the proud principal of Old River Elementary School, I envision a community of staff, students, and families who work collaboratively to improve learning for all students and to ensure students are ready for the rigors of junior high. I have seen how this focus benefited many students along my educational journey, so continuing at Old River seems natural. I look forward to affecting change together with the entire Old River community!


photo of Kathy Josephson



Kathy Josephson