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Mayor Jean Quan greets acting superintendent Dr. Gary Yee before the unveiling of the plaque in honor of Caroline Chin Yee.

School building dedicated to longtime elementary educator

on September 26, 2013

Teachers, city officials and family members gathered at Lincoln Elementary School int Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood to dedicate the school’s Educational Annex to veteran educator Caroline Chin Yee, who died this year.

Yee served as the principal of Lincoln Elementary from 2004 until her retirement in 2008. Over the course of her career as an educator, Yee taught at Martin Luther King, Washington Elementary and Sequoia Elementary Schools. She also served as principal at Hillcrest and Emerson Elementary Schools before becoming the principal at Lincoln Elementary, a school that she herself attended.

The dedication ceremony was not one of mourning, but was instead a celebration of Ms. Yee’s commitment to education and her passion for the annex, which was completed earlier this year.

City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan praised Ms. Yee’s dedication to her students, remarking that she was “such a fighter on [the students’] behalf.”

Ms. Yee had helped spearhead the construction of the annex, which was designed by the school’s neighbor, Colland Jang Architecture. The annex was designed to replace portable classrooms in poor condition. “Caroline looked at the portables and said, ‘We can do better,’” said Connie Branson, a retired teacher and friend of Ms. Yee.

“Ms. Yee was the best principal I ever worked with,” said Rebecca Wong, who taught in Oakland schools for 35 years, 19 of which were at Lincoln Elementary.

The annex houses classrooms and is encased on one side by a red perforated wall to provide shade to the building’s interior.

Gary Yee, interim superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District and Ms. Yee’s husband, offered the final remarks of the day.

“If Caroline were here,” he said, “she would turn it around and thank all of you.”

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