By Maureen Robertson
Dave Lohman, a man who says he loves going to work every day, is excited about his promotion.
Assistant principal at Ramona High School for the past 10 years, Lohman will start his new job as Montecito High School principal in July, the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. He replaces Cynthia Nakhshab, whose retirement takes effect June 30.
“I’m extremely excited for this opportunity,” said Lohman. “It’s the challenge of these kids who, for whatever reason, are placed at risk, the challenge of getting them prepared for the next level, the next opportunity. I’ve always loved that type of student — to prepare them for what’s next in life.”
An educator for the past 26 years, Lohman came to Ramona High 17 years ago as an opportunity teacher.
“These are kids who were in a transition between here and Montecito, lacking credits,” he explained, adding that his students ranged from ninth through 12th grade.
Montecito High School is one of Ramona Unified School District’s alternative schools. Some students attend to get a second chance at their education. Others take advantage of the more individualized instruction to get through high school quicker, and still others prefer Montecito to RHS, the district’s traditional high school.
As Montecito’s principal, Lohman also will be in charge of Future Bound, a secondary homeschool program headquartered on the Montecito campus. Students meet with their teachers once a week.
“Some have jobs, some work and have families,” said Lohman. “This is an opportunity for them to get their education.”
Dan Lopez, Ed.D., president of the Ramona school board, announced Lohman’s appointment at the beginning of the trustees’ April 17 meeting. His annual salary will be $120,700.
“We’re excited about the opportunities that he presents for their school,” said Superintendent Robert Graeff, Ed.D.
Lohman thanked the trustees for their confidence in him.
“I relish the challenge and hope to serve the students and staff there for many years,” he said.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Lohman earned his undergraduate degree at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Vir., and his master’s degree in education administration from National University. He taught at Virginia Beach Middle School and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina before his wife, Judy, a Navy nurse, received an assignment as director of nursing at Balboa Hospital in San Diego.
The Lohmans have three sons: Josh, 26, a Poway High School graduate, and Chris, 24, and Jake, 21, Ramona High graduates. The family moved to Ramona nine years ago.
As RHS assistant principal, Lohman receives the majority of disciplinary issues at the school. He stands 6 feet 3 inches tall and admits his height is an advantage.
“People say my presence is a strong part of me,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s good or bad. But you have to earn the respect of these kids — and the staff — no matter how big or tall you are.”
He faced three interviews while applying for the Montecito post: First with Montecito High staff members and parents, then with the district superintendent and assistant superintendents, and finally with a one-on-one review with Graeff.
“I think the most difficult was with the staff members...to sell them on who I am, what I’m about,” he said.
Lohman hopes they were looking for a person who will serve them and their school, be consistent and fair, and make sure it’s a place for students to learn.
“I love education, the opportunity to make a difference with kids, and to get them where they want to go,” he said. “You see these kids who struggle — when they get it, that’s the best part, when they understand the whole picture, not just the book part.”