Steve Hobbs is the new principal at Buhach Colony High School in Atwater.
Hobbs, 45, an associate principal at the school since 2011, replaces Stacy McAfee as principal. She was recently named the assistant superintendent for human resources at the Merced Union High School District.
“I am very excited that I was given this opportunity,” Hobbs said. “The staff and students at Buhach are like family and I am humbled by all of the positive responses I received from staff, students and parents about applying for the job.”
McAfee said there were 20 applicants for the job and Hobbs was one of eight finalists. She said she has known Hobbs for many years and watched him grow as an administrator.
“He has the biggest heart and is always doing what’s right for kids,” McAfee said.
Scott Scambray, MUHSD superintendent, said Hobbs emerged as the top candidate during the interview process and will do a great job in his new role.
Hobbs was vice principal at Sequoia High School in Merced from 2009-2011; from 2004-2009, he was a special education teacher and department head at Merced High School, developing and implementing individual education plans for each student.
From 1998-2004, Hobbs was a special education teacher and department head at Dos Palos High School; for the previous four years, he was a special education teacher at Dos Palos Elementary and Marks Elementary. He worked to get special education students mainstreamed into regular school programs.
Marcus Knott, now an associate principal at Buhach Colony, worked with Hobbs at Merced High School. He said Hobbs is the right person to lead the school as it transitions to Common Core instructional practices.
“He brings a tremendous amount of energy to the job,” Knott said. “There has never been a question in my mind that he’s looking to do what’s best for students.”
Hobbs moved to Merced in 1979 from San Luis Obispo. He said his most immediate challenge will be implementing Common Core next year. The district has done a great job training teachers on what is coming, but it still is a major shift in thinking and unlike anything that’s been done before, he added.
“I got into this profession to help young people succeed,” Hobbs said. “This gives me the opportunity to put a plan in place to help as many students reach their goals as possible.”
Rich Cometta, who teaches math and engineering classes at Buhach Colony, has known Hobbs for about seven years and said he is always positive and one of the nicest, most straightforward people he has known.
“He is very passionate about what he is doing,” Cometta said. “I know he has the best interest in kids at all times.”
Hobbs said his first job interview was in Dos Palos and special education was what was offered so he accepted it. He said he stayed in special education for 15 years because it was so rewarding.
“There is a time in teaching special education when you see that spark in the eye of a child when they learn something. That spark is addicting,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs received a master’s degree in special education in 2001 from National University in Fresno. He earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts in 1992 at California State University, Fresno and attended Merced College from 1986-1988.
“I know that when I wake up in the morning I have a smile on my face and whatever the day brings I still get to work with students and a great staff,” Hobbs said.