OHS holds dedication ceremony for former high school principal Ms. Daisy Tatum
Given all Daisy Tatum did for Oxnard High School, her name could be on practically any building or field at the school. Tatum threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Saturday’s field dedication. The well-liked former Oxnard High School Principal was honored by city officials, family and friends during the OHS softball field dedication ceremony on February 22. Many call Tatum their mentor and over the years have shared stories about the positive influence she had on their lives. A plaque with the field’s new name now faces the softball field.
After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas, she took her first teaching job at a high school in Little Rock. In 1969, she accepted a job at Channel Islands High School as a physical-education teacher. Five years later she became assistant principal, and in 1982 she was moved to Hueneme High School as assistant principal. After 11 years at Hueneme, she was appointed interim principal at Frontier High, the alternative school.
She became the first African American principal in Ventura County in 1994 when she was assigned to Oxnard High. And since she has been there, attendance and test scores have increased, and the number of fights has decreased, according to Tatum and several parents.
Tatum is also credited with alleviating racial tensions at the school. Campus supervisor Pat Martinez said he remembers walking through the middle of campus, with blacks on one side and Latinos on the other, and feeling the tension. But now, he said, people of different races interact with little conflict.
Though Tatum has been married twice, she spent too much time at school to make either marriage last, she said. She has no children of her own, but cared for a foster child for more than eight years and has invited at least 30 foreign exchange students into her home. During summers, she visits her “children” all over the world. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mayor Flynn unveiled a plaque for the newly renamed field