As the nation’s economy continues to move in the right direction and inflation is holding steady, demand for teaching positions in the Bay Area also expects to remain high. A career in teaching can be one of the most fulfilling jobs an individual can possess and Dan Young, a graduate of San Francisco State University, has demonstrated how hard work and a lifelong music passion led him to become music director of a high school near the South Bay.

(Photo Courtesy of Dan Young)

(Photo Courtesy of Dan Young)

What is your current position?

“Instructor with the Regional Occupational Program at Santa Cruz County Office of Education, serving as music director at Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville. I was hired in 2004 to create a music department at the brand new PVHS, an environmentally tasked institution. I was selected due to my unique skill set of being a professional musician, a biogeographer and also a project director. The music program was canceled in 2012 after the Pajaro Valley Unified School District cut music in all of its schools. This year, I was hired by ROP to reintroduce music at PVHS and teach a combination of music appreciation and music technology.”

What other positions have you held in your career?

“Two of my earliest positions were as a public information officer for the U.S. National Park Service and a paralegal for the Center for Law in the Public Interest, both in Los Angeles. More recently, I helped found the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organization for the protection of surfing spots and coastal resources, now with 60,000 members.”

What advice can you offer to others interested in pursuing a career in education?

“Besides pounding through college after a teaching degree, get out in the real world and work in a variety of fields. If your goal is to become a music educator, go out and work as a professional musician: play bars, tour in a 15-person van, play a couple of parties, hit the jam night at local clubs, etc. This will definitely give you a different perspective on the world of music.”

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on