|June 23, 1962 -
September 29, 2006
Tolbert, Jr., a man of great charm, intelligence and wit. He loved
life and lived it fully during his 44 years. Born in Tuskegee, Alabama,
he journeyed to California in his parents arms during his first year and
celebrated his first birthday in Palo Alto, California.
A zest for school, cooking, sports and
living life with gusto showed early in Louis and continued throughout
his life in his work as a counselor and administrator at Mountain View -
Los Altos High School District and a business man with the El Cajon
Louis is survived by his wife Regina
Tolbert, his parents, Louis Sr., and Mattye Tolbert, his brother Kenneth
and a host of loved ones. Services were held at Family Community
Church at 478 Piercy Road, San Jose on October 5 at 3:00 p.m. The
family is requesting in lieu of flowers, friends contribute to the
American Cancer Society or the United Negro College Fund in his name.
Below is an article written about
Louie when he became Vice Principal at Los Altos High School:
Like the fire extinguisher on the wall
next to his office door, Louis Tolbert puts out fires. As the new
assistant principal for Los Altos High School, Tolbert is a man of
solutions and suggestions.
"I'm a professional problem solver," he
said. Between teacher evaluations, back-to-back meetings, heading
the school's High Tech Computer and Systems Organization and a
multi-cultural student program, Tolbert said there's always something to
keep him busy. So far, he said he hasn't had any major problems
other than time management.
"There are so many things that happen at
once, or back to back to back. Whatever you don't finish today
will be here when you come back in the morning." In his short time
with Los Altos High School, he has already filled several binders that
line his desk and cabinet, and he is thankful that he has two computers
to help him handle the heavy work load. Despite some moments of
depression, he said there are moments of stardom.
Judging from the big "Welcome" banner
that hangs above his door, and comments by staff members, his presence
and decisions have been well received.
"They have been very warm and receptive
and they are allowing me to learn. They are willing to work with
me. I can't ask any more than that." he said. "I like students,
and I think that comes out in my personality."
The students have noticed this and seem
to be happy with the school's new administrator, even those who haven't
personally come in contact with him.
"He's really nice," senior Laurie Hunter
said. "I haven't really talked to him, but he seems really easy to come
up to and talk to. I think Los Altos should keep him."
Senior Cindy Davidson said, "He seems
really cool, more on the student level. He's not out to get you."
She also has yet to actually meet the new assistant principal.
"He's very personable. He seems like he's looking out for your
(students) best interest."
The students aren't the only ones happy
with Tolbert. Principal David Brazer was quick to bestow kind words
about his fellow administrator. "He's been great," he said.
"He's jumped right in and already established a relationship with
students. He's exceeded my expectations. There are some
long-term things Louis will have to learn, but as far as day-to-day
contact with students and helping with student behavior, he has been
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Tolbert grew
up in the Bay Area. A graduate of Morgan Hill's Live Oak High
School ('80), he received an undergraduate degree at Santa Clara
University in theater arts with an emphasis on television production.
After working at KNTV as a facilities maintenance person, he was bumped
up to film editor for late night movies, bleeping out curse words and
nudity, and adding commercials.
Not happy with his job, and looking at a
long family history of educators, he decided to go to San Jose State
University to get a master's degree in counseling. As he was wrapping up
his education in 1989, an opening was available at Mountain View High
School, where he stayed until September 18 of this year.
He spent two years as the summer school
principal at Los Altos, before being asked to be the regular term
assistant principal. Tolbert spent his last four years at Mountain
View as the counseling coordinator. He also founded a culinary
academy for at-risk students in conjunction with Blue Sky Cafe in
When he's not in school, Tolbert can be
found on "any" golf course in the area or spending quality time with his
wife at their home in south San Jose. Next semester, Tolbert plans
to go back to SJSU to earn his teaching credential. Although his
current job is on a one-year interim basis, he said he would be more
than happy to stay where he is. "It's a nasty commute, but I love
what I do," he said. "We're in the interest of educating students,
and I want to see us maintain that."