Blair Principal Mr. David Ibarra
Mr. Ibarra grew up anticipating he would follow in the footsteps of his five siblings who attended Blair. Though plans changed and he ended up across town attending Pasadena High School, he finally came to Blair in 2016 as Blair’s principal.
Mr. Ibarra attended PUSD schools (Willard Elementary, Wilson Middle School and PHS) and then headed to Rio Hondo College. While there, he spent a semester abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he took a job teaching English. This experience led him to pursue a career in education, earning a Bachelor’s degree at Cal State Fullerton and then a Master’s Degree from Azusa Pacific. He began his teaching career in PUSD teaching English at Eliot Middle School for seven years. After time as an Instructional Coach, he became PUSD’s Literacy Coach for secondary schools, and finally an assistant principal at his alma mater PHS for three years.
Having grown up playing Little League, Mr. Ibarra went on to play on the PHS baseball team, which won the league championship for the first time in twenty years! In high school Mr. Ibarra could be found during lunchtime tossing around a football or playing basketball, and after school hanging out in Old Town Pasadena--and of course there was always In-N-Out!
In coming to Blair Mr. Ibarra knew the school no longer had the big athletic program of his siblings’ Blair years, but he found some of his other perceptions of Blair not so accurate. Over the years he had heard discussion in the community about possibly closing Blair, and wondered what the reasons would be to close—did people not want to go to Blair? But now that he is at Blair, where enrollment is in fact growing, he has been struck by the sense of community, the strength of parental involvement and the staff’s strong collaborative working atmosphere.
Mr. Ibarra is not the first in his family to work at Blair. His mother worked at Blair in a community assistant role and drew on her own immigrant experience to help other families. Though Mr. Ibarra was born here after his family came to Pasadena, he speaks Spanish fluently and his family’s experience learning a new culture continues to influence his perspective.
As home of the International Academy, Blair has many students new to this country, which adds to Blair’s global mindedness as an “IB World School.” Besides the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and the IB Middle Years Programme (all students grades 6-10), Blair is also home to the Health Careers Academy and the IB Career-related Programme, the middle school and high school Spanish Dual Language Immersion program and a thriving Army JROTC. One of Mr. Ibarra’s top goals for Blair is to make IB a bigger presence on campus, showcasing the rigor of IB’s project-based curriculum and using IB to inspire students and teachers. Mr. Ibarra also places a strong emphasis on school spirit, not just among students but with staff and the community as well.