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Howard Holtsman ends successful career as principal
Howard Holtsman has retired as principal of the Lindbergh Educational Center. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
Credit a love of woodshop with starting Howard Holtsman on a journey that ended up spending the past 18 years helping put together an adult education and vocational training program that has earned numerous recognition for its effectiveness.

Along the way, thousands of people got a second chance at earning their high school diploma or general education development certificate plus thousands more high school students had doors open to promising careers through the Regional Occupational Program.

Holtsman stepped down this month as principal of the Lindbergh Educational Center.

“I really wasn’t into school that much until I took woodshop in high school,” said Holtsman who attended Luther Burbank High in Sacramento.

His personal experience helped set the stage – as well as inspire him – to work to put together a team that has consistently been honored and praised for his ability to inspire high school students to excel in vocational programs as well as encourage adults to pick up their education where they left off to secure the equivalent of a high school diploma.

His efforts have netted him a pair of Adult Education Administrator of the Year from the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) plus a slew of other honors.

“It’s a complete team effort,” Holtsman said, “I’ve been fortunate to have a great staff.”

Holtsman earned his Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Studies from California State University, San Jose in 1972. His Master of Education School Management degree came from LaVerne university in June 1980.

From 1991 up until his retirement this month, Holtsman served on the ACSA State Adult Education Committee and the Manteca Unified alternative education screening committee.

He started his education career at East Union High in the fall of 1973 and eventually served for three years as the campus vice principal under then principal Rick Wentworth.

He served as the secondary summer school coordinator for Manteca Unified from 1986 to 1991 and was the administrative assistant/counselor for the Lindbergh Educational Center from 1987 to 1991.

The relaxed atmosphere at Lindbergh where students want to be there has helped make the past 18 years at the helm pleasant for Holtsman when it came to dealing with students.

“It’s not like a high school campus,” Holtsman said of the atmosphere of Lindbergh. “It’s more like a community college.”

Holtsman said budget cuts will force a reduction in offering at the adult center as well as through ROP when the 2009-10 school year resumes in August.

Holtsman has served as an ambassador for the Manteca Chamber of Commerce, as a commissioner of the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau, a board member and past president of Manteca Rotary, and was president of South County Crime Stoppers in 1990 and 1998.