Friday, December 1, 2023

Yokayo Elementary Library Named After Retired Principal and Beloved Educator Carl Morgensen

The following is a press release issued by the Ukiah Unified School District

Principal Carl Morgensen [Photographs provided by UUSD]

The Yokayo School Site Council unanimously voted to name their library the “Carl Morgensen Library” on May 16, 2022. At their June 2022 meeting, Ukiah Unified Trustees voted unanimously to approve the name. Morgensen was a well-respected educator who students, parents, and staff loved. He devoted his life to teaching thousands in Ukiah to read and hundreds of teachers how to teach reading, and he was a great friend and mentor to many in our community.

“We are overjoyed to name the library after Principal Morgensen,” said Ukiah Unified Trustees president Zoey Fernandez. “He had a tremendous impact on local education and literacy, inspiring many of his students to become teachers. On behalf of Ukiah Unified School District and my fellow Trustees, I want to honor Principal Morgensen for his dedication and service to local education.”

Another shot of beloved Principal Carl Morgensen

Mr. Morgensen moved to Ukiah, CA, in 1975 to become the Principal at Frank Zeek Elementary, where he held that position until retiring in June 1994. After retiring and moving to Utah for a few years, Carl returned to Ukiah and worked as a reading resource teacher at Hopland and Yokayo Elementary schools. At the end of his career, he again served as the Principal of Yokayo Elementary from 2004 – 2006. Carl passed on August 14, 2020.

Yokayo Principal Dana Milani said, “While I was a student at Frank Zeek, Mr. Morgensen was my principal. Not only did he have an impact on students and reading, but Mr. Morgensen also spent hours putting on plays. Students learned how to act, sing, and work together to put together a production that I have remembered and valued both as an adult, a teacher, and now as a principal. As a teacher at Yokayo, Mr. Morgensen was also my principal, but in a different capacity. He guided me and encouraged me to become a teacher leader and, ultimately, to become a principal. His presence in my life, as well as so many others, has had a lasting impact on who I am. I will always be grateful for having him as such a wonderful role model.” 

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  1. My family always looked forward to the wonderful Christmas programs that Mr. Morgenson put on. You could tell he really enjoyed working with the kids, and they showed so much respect for him.

  2. He was the best. His wife, who was a speech teacher, was also wonderful. My children went to Yokayo when he was principal and they loved him. It is an excellent tribute to his contribution and his legacy to name the library after him.

  3. Carl came to Frank Zeek when I was a student in the 6th grade. Later, when I did my student teaching at Frank Zeek, he encouraged me and was always complimentary. I ended up doing a long-term sub job, then teaching full-time another 3 years there. Carl was always approachable both professionally and personally. He guided our school as we went year-round for a period of time with great leadership and optimism. His “baby” was the formula phonics program. Our students belonged to ALL of us and they read every day. 34 years later, I still use his program in my classroom because it works.
    So happy he is being recognized. Great tribute.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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