Election Sharpens Scrutiny of School Superintendent



As a mother with children in our school district, I was looking forward to the first Coffee Break presentation by our district’s administration, but was dismayed to hear our school superintendent, Sherine Smith, give yet another boring power point presentation – Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century. Within five minutes attending parents were either mentally checked-out or physically checking their phones for something of interest.

Where is this woman’s originality or leadership skills? No explanation of how our schools are going to incorporate Common Core principals, nor mention of several of our advanced chemical research high school students being selected as finalists for the TEDx Challenge. Just a rote reading off of 21 items.

At my son’s graduation from Thurston, she read verbatim, without looking up,

Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”  Parents were yawning, students fidgeting.  Again, absolutely uninspiring. No acknowledgement of the next step our tweens were taking towards high school nor congratulations on their graduation.

When interviewed regarding our beloved Dr. Culverhouse’s departure, her total comment “echoed school board member Jan Vickers’ sentiments”.  Can’t this woman speak or think for herself without resorting to regurgitating charts, books or even someone else’s comments?

Not only do I fault our superintendent for not making an effort, I also blame our current school board who decided it was easier to extend Sherine Smith’s contract than to look for a qualified, inspiring person.

We need a strong superintendent who connects with our students, parents and teachers. One who knows and acknowledges what is happening in our four school campuses and will share his/her visions and goals as to what our school district can become.

I decided to Google the book “Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century.” An excerpt reads, “What happens if we never look up, if we fail to understand the larger world and appreciate our place in it? We become too entrenched and trapped in yesterday’s ways of thinking.”

So, I ask all parents and students who are now 18 and can exercise their right to vote in this coming election for school board. There are two wonderful candidates who really care about what is happening within our school district and care about our kids’ education: Carol Normandin and Dee Perry.

Who knows, your vote may actually get Sherine Smith to look up and understand that Laguna Beach parents are now paying close attention.


Pat Stibble, Laguna Beach

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