Updated: Herzfeld to Exit as LBHS Principal

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Chris Herzfeld
Chris Herzfeld

A request for a reassignment as a teacher by Laguna Beach High School Principal Chris Herzfeld was approved by the school board Tuesday, district officials confirmed this week.

District spokeswoman Leisa Winston said Herzfeld voluntarily stepped down from the post after less than three years on the job. Administrators expect to recruit a successor to lead the 1,100-student school by July 1 when Herzfeld’s reassignment will be effective, she said.

Herzfeld is credentialed to teach social studies at the middle or high school level, though a teaching assignment has not yet been determined, Winston said.

In the public session, no mention was made of the reassignment, which was approved as part of the routine items in the consent calendar. Herzfeld was present at the meeting and did not speak. Nor did he explain the reason for his decision in a reply to a request for comment afterward.

Board President Jan Vickers said, “the board does not get involved in discussion with employees when they make these decisions.  And as you already know, personnel matters are confidential. The board respects his decision.” The only hire board members are directly involved in is that of the superintendent.

In an April 12 letter to parents and students, Herzfeld said he enjoyed leading the town’s only high school and leaves it in “excellent condition” for a successor. He said he looks forward to building positive professional relationships with students, staff and community in the next phase of his career as an educator.

“I am thoroughly invested in the quality of LBHS not only professionally, but as a 15-year resident and a parent of a future LBHS student,” said Herzfeld, who lives in town.

Herzfeld replaced former Principal Joanne Culverhouse on Oct. 13, 2014, shortly after the school year began. His 32-year career as an educator, coach and administrator included 10 years as principal of Fountain Valley High School before he was offered the post in Laguna.

His salary and benefits amounted to $192,322 in 2015, the most recent figures available at Transparent California, a website of public employee pay. That made him the ninth-highest paid employee in the district at the time.

Herzfeld completed his undergraduate studies at Fort Lewis College, in Durango, Colo., and earned a master’s degree in administration, supervision and curriculum at the University of Colorado.

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