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School District Welcomes Dr. Richard Tapia
Richard Tapia
Dr. Richard Tapia is the new Assistant Superintendent for Riverbank Unified School District and he is excited to be here. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Riverbank Unified School District has a new Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Richard Tapia, who is excited to make a difference.

Though classes at all Riverbank Unified School District sites have been cancelled due to the coronavirus – with a projected reopening date of April 20 – Tapia had a chance to settle in prior to the recent shutdown.

He has over 30 years of experience in the education field. With a goal of creating opportunities for growth and development for the teachers and staff, Tapia hit the ground running.

“So far I love it,” expressed Tapia about his new position. “My wife says there is a skip in your step that you were missing. A friend recently said I can feel the energy radiating from you. This was a great move and this is a great team.”

Born and raised in Roseville, Tapia had a plethora of experiences not only personally by completing his undergrad at Chico State and running an undergraduate teacher prep program at California State University, Bakersfield for a few years but also teaching kindergarten and fifth grade. He was also the Director of Alternative Education for the Yolo County Office of Education, dealing with at risk teens.

Tapia moved on to become Vice Principal at a middle school in Grass Valley and then Vice Principal for a junior high in East Roseville. For the past 16 years he was the elementary school principal for the Folsom Cordova Unified School District where he was in charge of four different schools. He said that there are over 20 elementary schools in that district with over 20,000 students.

Through his career he worked to attain his doctorate which he achieved from the University of Southern California. There were many accolades in his career including co-writing a grant for his former district that helped provide professional development and curriculum adoption. This led him to be part of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team to help with social and emotional learning.

“I have worked on my leadership especially in curriculum and instruction to kind of prepare myself for this,” said Tapia. “All of those kinds of professional development pockets always kind of pushed me. I really felt proud of the work that I did in terms of encouraging others.”

During his time as a student in school, there were a few teachers that inspired him like his math teacher, third grade teacher, and science teacher. In his career as a teacher and administrator at the schools, one of his favorite things to do was enjoying recess with the students.

Although Riverbank is new to him, he is familiar with the Central Valley spending time in Lodi and Bakersfield. He already has some favorite spots to frequent and has been enjoying the small town feel. Reminding him of the slogan for a little town called Loomis, “A small town is like a large family.”

He has already given some suggestions and has seen a few ideas already come into action with positive feedback.

“Recognizing the strength of the people around me and developing on that and working as a team is what has led me here,” added Tapia. “I have always been a strong proponent of making sure that we are appropriately training our teachers and our staff in general.”

As the Assistant Superintendent, Tapia will focus on the instructional practices, teaching strategies, and the LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) for the district along with other assignments. He will support the district’s instructional coaches, new teachers and assist with the English Language Learners.

“We have lots of great little pieces that are in place and now it is just having the opportunity in sanding the edges on those and to be more explicit on what our expectations are,” Tapia explained on what he is looking forward to. “We have some great systems in place and now it is just kind of regulating those systems. There is a ton of potential. I am really hyped and enjoying it. I am looking forward to having a positive effect on the community.”