Meet Jo Ann Okabe-Kubo

Jo Ann Okabe-Kubo

After working nearly 30 years at De Anza College, Jo Ann Okabe-Kubo says she uses one or two things each day that she learned earning her B.A. in sociology that help her relate to faculty, student and community member needs and requests.

“My parents always said, ‘No matter what happens in life, your education is something that you will have forever. It is something that no one can take away from you.’ I think this was in reference to losing our rights and freedoms with the WW II incarceration of Japanese Americans,” Okabe-Kubo says.

As she values her own education, so she values helping other achieve theirs. The LEAD WMST21 students recently asked her to take part in creating a short video for the California History Center Oral History Project. “Jo took her own time to tell us about why she loves working at De Anza. The affection she has for her job and our students is inspiring and seldom equaled,” says her nominator, instructor Marc Coronado. Coronado teaches English, Women’s Studies and Chicana/o Studies.

“I am particularly grateful to Jo for her kindness and the patience she exhibits toward the LEAD mentors and the IIS interns,” Coronado says. “She has helped them become respectful and productive adults through her compassionate guidance of their everyday work and her true interest in their lives.”

Okabe-Kubo likes working in an educational environment where she can “give back” to students and faculty. “There were so many dedicated educators and support staff who made my college life memorable,” she says. “It’s exciting to me to support De Anza College students in a safe environment enriched with a multicultural, multi-sexual preference community.”

Coronado is grateful for her support. “Joanne always makes sure all of us have everything we need as instructors and department chairs to run our everyday work efficiently, and she still has time to show students where to find classrooms, organize the use of the MCC activities spaces, and help instructors figure out all of the complexities of shared office space, printing, and scheduling. We simply could not do our jobs without her,” Coronado says.

“The best part of my job is the opportunity to learn new things every day from the faculty, co-workers and students who help me navigate the 21st century technology, music, youth culture and challenges that each of them face,” says Okabe-Kubo. “My job means looking at challenges and frustrations as opportunities to 'stretch' and grow; and to exemplify this model for faculty and staff.”

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