A surgeon and a teacher
By Michael Brooks
Every time a new school year starts, some teachers have left, and some new ones have taken their places. This year Ganado hired Dr. Yusuke Yahagi to teach Biology, Anatomy, and a Physiology.
Yahagi, a Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, brings a most interesting history to GISD.
Yahagi was born in Tokyo, Japan, and at 16 he moved to the Seattle, Washington, area.
“I went to high school and then attended The University of Washington where I majored in Chemistry and Math,” he explained. “After that, I was an international banker for a while, which moved myself, my wife and daughter, back to Tokyo. I went back and forth between New York and Tokyo doing a lot of financial transactions. I really enjoyed what I did.”
While working as a banker, Yahagi was offered the opportunity to go to medical school in Tokyo.
“I went to Tokyo University and became a medical doctor but I wanted to specialize in heart,” he said. “In Japan, there is not as much heart disease compared to America, so my family and I came back to the United States."
Back in America, Yahagi continued his education training at the University of Kansas and the University of California and did a fellowship at the University of Texas.
“While I was at UT, I had job offers from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Victoria,” he explained. “I did all the interviews and I fell in love with Victoria. Since then I have been at Citizens Medical Center. I was chief of Cardiothoracic and Vascular surgery for over ten years.”
During this time, Yahagi was also teaching Cardiovascular courses at Victoria College and UHV, but he wanted to teach younger kids as well.
“I was at Citizens for 13 years and I did over 3,000 cases and at the same time I was a teacher, but you’re not really a teacher unless you can teach different levels of education, so I decided I wanted to teach at the high school level. My time had come, I wanted to start teaching the kids and build up the future for Texas.”
Thankfully for Yahagi, and for Ganado, GISD had the right opportunity at the right time.
“There was an ad for Ganado needing a Biology, Anatomy, and a Physiology teacher so I submitted a letter of application,” he explained. “The principal called me, the interview was the next day, and we kind of fell in love with each other.”
As a Cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon, Yahagi operated on hearts and lungs as well as the vascular systems so he brings a lot of knowledge to his class room however, teaching at the high school level may take some getting used to.
“I know there will be a difference in attention spans between high school and college,” Yahagi explained. “That is something I am interested to see. In college, everyone pays tuition and comes to listen to the lecture. I will have a learning curve because I have never taught any kids, but I want to share anatomy and physiology. Not only DNA, mitosis, and cell structure, but I want to the kids to be familiar with the disease process, to know how to diagnose using modern technology.”
Going from doing heart bypass and valve replacement surgeries to teaching high school will surely bring in less pay, but Yahagi isn’t concerned about the money.
“My period of time now, the pay doesn’t matter, I just want to do something I really enjoy,” he said. “I am now a 24/7 dedicated teacher. I want to build up a foundation for the kids because they are the future. In the future, the kids can be much stronger than other cities, colleges, and all other higher education levels. I want my high school kids to be able to beat those university kids. My mission is to make sure the kids in the Ganado area do really great.”
Yahagi got his first taste of being a high school teacher when Ganado started school on August 9.