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School Principal Pursues Encore Career

Ron La Motte, right, among fellow school principals at a school fundraising event last November, will leave the district after nearly three decades.

Ron La Motte, right, among fellow school principals at a school fundraising event last November, will leave the district after nearly three decades.

Ron La Motte, Top of the World Elementary School’s long-time principal, will retire in June after 27 years in the district, though he’s not about to quit his profession.

La Motte said he’s starting an “encore career” as director of the master’s program at Irvine’s Concordia University where he will fulfill a desire to assist teachers in seeking master’s degrees and in becoming administrators in a new era for educators, where instruction melds with high-tech. He’s been a teacher and school administrator for 41 years.

With the new state-mandated Common Core academic standards, where student learning is shifting from memorizing and multiple choice tests to individual online research with emphasis on essay writing, La Motte said, “It’s a whole different world. A new breed of administrators is needed and I’d love to train them.”

La Motte will oversee a program where he already has experience. While in Laguna, he also worked part-time in the evenings and taught education administration courses in the master’s and credential programs. He said he’s expanding that interest.

“It’s something I’ve been working on for awhile,” said La Motte. “I taught for Chapman (University) for six years and Concordia for seven years, so I know pretty much what I’m going in to.  Now it’s a matter of overseeing the direction of what I’ve been doing.”

The retiring principal said many school administrators in the county are nearing retirement.

“My passion is training teachers to become incredibly good teachers and administrators,” he said.  “We need good administrators in the next few years.  Seasoned administrators are moving out. I’m one of them. There’s going to be a lot of openings for new administrators.”

The master’s program he will oversee encompasses students from the Bay Area to San Diego.

La Motte worked as an assistant principal and then principal for a combined 14 years at Thurston Middle School before being reassigned to TOW for the past 12 years.

The district will seek applicants beginning March 1 to fill La Motte’s soon-to-be vacated position. An elementary school principal opening in Irvine, for example, listed Feb. 10 on a job-postings website for educators, offers a salary range of $97,043 to $122,640 a year.

The job is expected to be filled before the end of the school year for an easy transition, La Motte said.

 

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