The wattage on the campus of Oakdale High School is likely to go up come July 1 as Joni McGinnis begins her journey as a new Vice Principal.
With 25 years of education under her belt, McGinnis will join Oakdale Joint Unified after spending the last 19 with Tracy Unified School District. Eleven of those 19 years were spent as the Assistant Principal of Tracy High School.
“We’ve literally torn down the school and built it back up,” she said. “I wanted to see it through and that was a great opportunity that I was able to do just that.”
A 1985 Grace Davis High School alum, McGinnis moved to Oakdale with her husband and two children, Race and Daytona, 12 years ago.
“We moved to this town for the schools,” she said. “We live in the community and have been involved in the community. I know the climate of the town, but I’m coming in as an administrator.
“I’m looking forward to meeting all of them,” she added of the staff, students and parents.
While the title remains the same, the job and its scope will be a bit different than what McGinnis has experienced at Tracy High. McGinnis will primarily work with freshman students versus a split of the alphabet at her past post. She will also be the administrator directly involved with OHS Future Farmers of America, an assignment she is visibly both passionate and excited about.
“I was an avid supporter of the FFA in Tracy,” McGinnis shared. “It’s a great group of kids. A great group of parents. I just kind of fell into the Ag world and I absolutely love it.”
McGinnis began her teaching career with Stanislaus County Schools. She taught eighth grade.
“In those years not only was I a teacher, but I was a coach. I coached cross country and track,” she shared. “I was an athlete and I felt like I needed to give back to the community.”
A sense of community responsibility is a recurring theme with McGinnis, perhaps prompted by her inspiration to pursue education as a career.
“I had two awesome teachers in junior high,” she shared. “They made such a positive influence on me that I knew, yep, I was going to do that.”
McGinnis said since making the decision, she hasn’t wavered.
“That’s always been my drive and that hasn’t changed,” she said of being involved in education.
“We’ve got to do what’s best for our kids,” she continued. “That’s the number one priority. That’s our job.”
McGinnis admitted that leaving Tracy High prompted much emotion.
“It is a big change,” she said. “It’s been very hard. I get emotional because of the relationships I’ve built with the people.”
Yet the incoming VP is excited and eager to create and build new relations on the campus where her daughter will be an incoming freshman and her son a junior.
“I look forward to it,” she said of her new job just minutes from her home. “I look forward to giving back to the community in a whole different way. I need to show this staff how good I am. There (Tracy High) I have record. I’m excited.”