Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Dennis Chaconas, Principal 1983-1989
I am a third generation Oakland native. I was approached by Superintendent J. David Bowick to reopen Oakland Tech at the Broadway campus in 1983 and manage the move. It was truly a starting over point. Due to the rich history of the school, the staff was committed to rising to the occasion. I hired Maryann Wolfe and Marietta Joe, and the Paideia Program became nationally known for graduates admitted to some of the finest schools in the nation. I started the Health Academy under the leadership of Patricia Clark and also began the Engineering Academy under Carl Hertenstein and, a year later, hired Parker Merrill. We re-established the Drama Department, the Music Department, and the Dance Department. It was the best and most rewarding work I have ever done!
NOTE: Many people credit Dennis Chaconas with a dramatically changing the fortunes of Tech. The list of improvements he spearheaded includes: increasing CTBS reading scores by 30% and math scores by 33% and improving the college admission rates for Tech graduates from a rate 5% admission to four-year colleges in 1983 to a rate of 40% in 1988. Principal Chaconas helped develop many of Tech’s flagship programs including the Health Academy, a school-based health clinic, the Pre-Engineering Academy, the Paideia Program and the Interlinks Program. In his tenure as Principal, the number of students passing AP exams went from 9 in 1983 to 65 in 1989. After he left Oakland Tech in 1989, he served as Assistant Superintendent of OUSD 1990-1993, Superintendent of the Alameda Unified School District 1993-2000, and Superintendent of OUSD 2000-2003. His legacy lives on at Oakland Tech to this day.