Urbanac to begin new chapter in life after 21 years at Johnstonville School
The Johnstonville School Board has three new members and the building project at the school is almost complete and Urbanac said he thought now would be a good time to transition.
“This is just a great time to make this transition for the school,” Urbanac said.
Urbanac has been in education for 35 years and said he has enjoyed his time in public education.
His interest in education began when he took a college elective while a student at California State University, San Diego.
Originally interested in studying business, Urbanac said he didn’t have an interest in education until he was required to volunteer in the inner city of San Diego for his elective class.
He worked with students in the fourth through fifth grades in the physical education program.
It was then that Urbanac’s interest in education took off.
“I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed working with the kids,” he said.
He then changed his major to history thinking he would teach secondary education, but after receiving his degree he decided to teach elementary education and obtained a kindergarten through ninth-grade credential.
Urbanac said he had a friend who encouraged him to go to Idaho because it is beautiful country and, wanting a slower pace of life, Urbanac and his wife moved to Cascade.
Urbanac said he had four to five job interviews lined up in Idaho and he interviewed at Cascade first and was offered the job the same day.
His teaching career began as a sixth-grade teacher and while teaching in Cascade he worked on his administrative credential through the University of Idaho.
When they moved, Urbanac said it was a big change for he and his wife, who is a teacher at Diamond View School, as they moved from a metropolitan area that has warm weather year-round to a community with less than 2,000 people and an area subject to receiving three feet of snow and temperatures reaching twenty degrees below zero.
However, he said the Idaho area was beautiful and he and his wife have a lot of fond memories and close friends they still keep in contact with.
After working at Cascade for five years, the Urbanacs’ moved to Post Falls, Idaho where they lived for nine years.
While in Post Falls, Urbanac worked as an elementary school principal for five years and then as an assistant superintendent working with the elementary and secondary curriculum and personnel.
Urbanac then applied for an opening at Johnstonville School when he and his wife wanted to move back to California.
Following his interview, Urbanac said some of the board members traveled to Idaho to visit the school and talk with the community members and teaching staff as a follow-up to his interview.
When Urbanac and his family moved to Susanville, he said he planned to only stay for two years.
The Urbanacs’ have two daughters who had already been uprooted when they moved from Idaho making it difficult to leave Lassen County.
“So we stayed here to raise our kids,” he said.
Reflecting on some of his fond memories at Johnstonville School, Urbanac said he looks back and sees some of the accomplishments the students have made.
Students have graduated from high school and moved on to attend fine universities including Stanford and West Point United States Military Academy.
In addition, Urbanac said students from Johnstonville School have moved on to vocational fields and have received auto technician scholarships at Lassen High School.
Being at Johnstonville for 21 years, Urbanac said he has started to see second-generation students attending Johnstonville. “It’s a strange feeling,” Urbanac said of seeing children of students he had in sixth and seventh grade 21 years ago.
But he said it is neat and said some of the parents still refer to him as Mr. Urbanac rather than Dave.
He also said it is nice to see his former students’ children doing well in school.
While superintendent, two major modernizations have occurred at the Johnstonville campus and the facilities are in excellent shape.
Since 1999, all the classrooms have been remodeled, new roofs have been constructed on the buildings and the schools’ two septic systems have been repaired with financial hardship money from the state.
Three new classrooms have been built and two more will be completed within then next month and a half.
By the end of summer, the new gymnasium will be completed and Urbanac said the facility will be a real asset to the community.
When the new chapter of his life begins, Urbanac said he has many options to keep busy.
Urbanac has been taking care of his 91-year old father who resides in San Diego, has one daughter who lives in London and another daughter who lives in Southern California and Urbanac said he will be able to spend more time with his wife and family.
In addition, Urbanac, who is involved with the Kiwanis Club, said he is interested in participating in more volunteer work, traveling to other countries, working in third-world countries with his wife and participating in archaeological digs.
Urbanac is currently working on obtaining his real estate license, but said real estate is a full-time job.
Although he is torn which way he will go, Urbanac said it is more than likely he will be spending time with his family and doing volunteer work because whatever he does it will be a full-time occupation.
During his time in Lassen County, Urbanac has served as President of the Kiwanis Club in 1994 and was the Lassen County President of the Association of California School Administrators.
While teaching in Idaho, Urbanac received the 1983-1984 Administrator of the Year award from the staff members.
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