‘Dr. A’ leaving school district after 35 years

Last Wednesday friends and family gathered at the San Vicente Golf Resort to honor and say goodbye to Dr. Joe Annicharico. Joe didn’t want a lot of speeches or a roast. He didn’t get either. UNTIL NOW!

Joe Annicharico and Guy Hanford will retire as, respectively, district assistant superintendent and teacher, at the end of the school year. Between them they have worked in the district for 71 years. Hanford was on Annicharico’s first staff at Ramona Elementary. Sentinel photo/Bill Tamburrino

The first thing that those who attended the festivities noticed was a picture of Joe circa 1977. Joe was a teacher in those days. Teachers didn’t make a lot of money, so to make ends meet Joe decided to save money by avoiding haircuts and shaving. I asked if I could get a copy of the picture for the Sentinel, but Joe made me an offer that I could not refuse. Annicharico is an Italian name, so I knew better than to ask twice or ignore his request.

Joe came to us from the East Coast and it came here with him. He is a New Jersey guy, a graduate of Monmouth University in the Garden State where he was a trustee after only two years. He loves the Yankees and his favorite player is Mickey Mantle. He has a personalized license plate with the number 7.

Joe and his sons made a pilgrimage to see a game in the final season at Old Yankee Stadium. He called me to rub it in because I called him the year before from Mickey Mantle’s monument in Monument Park. Joe took up Yoga to help his ailing back because he thought it was Yogi.

Joe has been teaching in Ramona since 1971. He started at Green Valley Ranch and then moved to Mountain View School, but his years there didn’t count toward retirement or tenure because they were non-public schools. They were also called licensed child institutes. Joe started in the trenches.

Ramona somehow incorporated the LCIs into the Ramona Unified School District in 1976 and Joe has been an employee of the district ever since.

Joe taught and coached. The two are synonyms, but not enough administrators  realize that. He re-started the soccer program.

Myron Bill had coached soccer  earlier but the program was scrubbed. Most of the world calls soccer futbol and Joe coached soccer like football. His teams were not as talented as they were physical. They fought hard literally and figuratively.
Joe also coached baseball at the high school and coached teams in the summer program. Joe once told me that, “Coaching is like dessert. It comes at the end of the day and it makes the day.” In those days all coaches had to be teachers. Joe was and still is a teacher.

Joe earned his master’s degree and his doctorate while he was teaching full time. He once passed out a questionnaire to the teachers at RHS while he was doing research for his master’s degree. I filled it out and he came to me and said,

“Tambo, I can help you.” I asked how and he said that he was taking a class in abnormal psychology. I didn’t know what that meant, so I never got any help.

In 1981 Joe went from teaching to being a program specialist in special education. He worked with one of the finest educators and men I have ever known, John Conniff, and Ramona Unified School District developed one of the bestm if not the best, special education departments in the nation. Joe and John made sure that as many of their students as possible tried out for and participated in sports.

They encouraged their teachers to coach. Both believed that that was the dessert of the day. Both had played in high school and college. Both wanted the best for their students.

Joe Annicharico stands with his boss, Ramona school district Superintendent Robert Graeff. Sentinel photo/Bill Tamburrino

Joe eventually became RUSD director of special education and in 1986 he became the principal of Ramona Elementary School. Joe also served as principal at James Dukes Elementary School and Barnett Elementary School.
He never, however, quit being a teacher. He teaches teachers how to teach these days at a university.

Joe was once offered the job as the principal of Ramona High School but he had to decline the offer. The RUSD had a rule against spouses being an administrator at a school where their significant other worked. Joe’s wife, Penny, was at RHS first and Joe wouldn’t think of asking her to switch assignments. Besides, it would have been hard for him to try to pull off being the boss at school when everybody knew who the boss was at the Annicharico residence.

Joe never lost his love for sports. His three sons, Trent, Trevor and Tyson, all played recreational sports and sports at Ramona High as did his daughters, Tarina and Tavia.

Joe never stopped competing in sports. He played in every faculty soccer, basketball and baseball game. He played adult soccer and softball. He then did his Forrest Gump bit. Joe started running and ended up running in 10K races and he even completed the one and only Ramona Half Marathon. He still runs, just not as far and not as fast.

When Joe became an administrator, he suddenly had the time and money to take up golf. He loves the sport and always shoots in the 70s. At his age it is too cold for him to shoot when the temperature is in the 60s and it is too hot when the thermometer gets in the 80s. Joe practices hard and his scores are enhanced by his creative use of mathematics (He was a high school math teacher.) and his fondness for the famous Mr. Mulligan.

Joe will be leaving the Ramona Unified School District at the end of the school year. But as long as the teachers, coaches, administrators and classified personnel that he hired as the district’s assistant superintendent of human resoursed are here, Joe will be here.

Dr. Joe A has been a teacher, coach, program specialist, director, principal and an assistant superintendent. He has been roasted. He will always be a husband, father and friend. He is a Bulldog! A Yankee Bulldog but a Bulldog.

Related posts:

  1. Cuts and changes at Ramona school district
  2. School district adds six educators to staff
  3. Four schools have ‘new’ principals
  4. School district takes center stage at state conference
  5. Reflections of 34 years as a Bulldog coach

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Posted by Nancy Stegon on May 26 2011. Filed under Sports, Time Out With Tambo. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “‘Dr. A’ leaving school district after 35 years”

  1. Helen Cawyer

    What a great article! I never knew Joe was a Yankee fan; he probably kept that quiet since he knew I always rooted for the Dodgers back in "the day". What a great ride! We both worked for John Conniff, too, and experience none of us will ever forget. Hope Joe doesn't wake up too many nights alert to the fact that the next day is the Board Meeting and he forgot to set up his "meeting god"!!

    and that the future is all "a hole in one",

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