With 27 years in education, Keith Thorbahn brings a wealth of experience to the San Benito County Office of Education in his role as assistant superintendent of educational services.
Coming from Ottawa County, Ohio, Thorbahn, 50, will provide leadership to fulfill the county office’s mission. He has held several administrative positions over the years, including being middle and high school principal and began his education career as a teacher of agriculture. He told BenitoLink he feels at home in San Benito County.
“The area that I have spent the majority of my career in education in Ohio was very similar to this county, rural in nature, agriculture was the backbone of the communities,” he said.
Thorbahn’s contract with the county began July 1 and is in effect until June 30, 2020. His annual salary with a Master’s degree stipend is $147,024 (Step H) and health benefits of $15,100.
Krystal Lomanto, the county superintendent of schools, said Thorbahn’s background in agricultural education made him a great fit.
“Keith will bring in an outside perspective,” she said. “He was the clear choice for us.”
Though the school districts in Ohio are K-12, Thorbahn said common core education is the same in California as it was there.
Thorbahn believes involving kids in their education will keep them in school. He said he understands that not everyone learns at the same pace and that different backgrounds bring unique challenges and strengths to the learning experience. What happens at home comes into the classroom, he said. He believes in supporting students who might be falling behind.
“The stronger those support systems are and the quicker they are implemented, the greater the success of that student will be,” he said.
The new assistant superintendent is working toward a 100% graduation rate. Of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of achieving this one year as a high school principal, and with San Benito’s already high graduation rate it could be done with “early intervention and making sure we are all one big family.” San Benito High School lists their graduation rate at 92% and Anzar High School lists theirs at 90%.
“Anything is possible with enough focus and effort on the task at hand,” Thorbahn said.