HS Principal Takes Position at Palos Verdes Schools


By Rita Robinson | LB Indy

Joanne Culverhouse
Joanne Culverhouse

Saying she took a “significant decrease” in salary, Laguna Beach High School principal Joanne Culverhouse confirmed that she is the new assistant superintendent of educational services at Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. She starts next Thursday.

After a week’s vacation in Hawaii, the well-liked principal said Wednesday she’s moving to Long Beach to take the new position to elevate her title and further her career.

“I applied for the position back in June,” Culverhouse said. “I was ready to expand my career. This is a good match for me.” She said Palos Verdes is a community similar to Laguna Beach. “It’s a high-achieving district with great parent support.”

Culverhouse said she considered an assistant superintendent’s position at LBUSD that opened up last year but she “wasn’t ready.” She said she had a new assistant principal and counselor at the high school to integrate into her team.

After 15 years as principal at three of the district’s four schools and three years as high school principal, Culverhouse said she’s leaving a well-tuned staff and highly achieving student body. “I feel the school is in great hands,” she said.

Her last day in Laguna Beach is next Wednesday, Aug. 27. She said she’s saying goodbye to students on Monday at registration and to her staff on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Culverhouse will join former Laguna Beach High School principal Don Austin as his second-in-command at PVPUSD. Austin, 43, was officially hired by PVPUSD this month from Huntington Beach Unified School District.

Carolyn Williams, retired administrator and former Dana Hills High School principal, will be considered by the school district board members next Tuesday as the interim high school principal.

Online surveys and staff and parent meetings will be conducted in early September to obtain input for hiring a new principal. Dates for the meetings will be released as soon as they have been finalized.

“Having worked with Dr. C for almost 15 years, I know how we have benefited from her loyalty, integrity, passion and educational knowledge,” said board president Jan Vickers. “Of course, I am sad she is leaving, but just as one of her hallmarks is her true compassion and caring for all students and their families, I need to give her the same respect as she advances to meet her career goals.”

LBUSD superintendent Sherine Smith echoed Vickers’ sentiments.

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