LBUSD selects new Top of the World Elementary principal, special education program specialist

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The Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) has named Thomas Turner as the new principal of Top of the World Elementary School.

Turner will replace Meghan Schooler, who has taken a principal position with the Folsom-Cordova Unified School District. Schooler was the principal of Top of the World Elementary for four years.

The new Top of the World Elementary School principal Thomas Turner will officially start his position sometime this summer. Clara Beard/LB Indy

The district has also hired Jennifer Moss as the new program specialist for special education services.

Both new hires will formally join the district staff this summer, before the 2024-25 school year. The LBUSD Board of Education approved their appointments at a special meeting held on Friday, June 21.

“We are fortunate to be part of an exceptional school district that consistently attracts highly qualified educators. It speaks to the caliber of our current leadership team and the desire of exceptional leaders to join it,” said LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria. “We are excited to welcome Tom Turner and Jennifer Moss to our team, whose diverse experiences and perspectives will be invaluable as we continue our commitment to excellence as a top-achieving district in the county and state.”

Turner has nearly three decades of experience in education, with 20 years in school, district and county administration. He currently serves as the executive director of educational services at the Orange County Department of Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego and is a member of the California State Bar.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity and am very much looking forward to learning more about Top of the World and its wonderful community,” Turner said.

Turner was selected from a competitive pool of 47 applicants, 15 of whom participated in the screening round of interviews. Six candidates were interviewed separately in the second round by a panel of parents, teachers, support staff and administrators. Four candidates were selected to move on to the final interview panel.

Moss has worked in education for 26 years, with two decades of experience as a classroom teacher. She returned to earn a master’s degree in school psychology and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential with a School Psychology Specialization from National University in 2018. She earned her Administrative Services Credential in 2022. Moss also holds a master’s in teaching and a bachelor’s in psychology from Chapman University. She is currently the district coordinator of Special Education Mental Health Services at Capistrano Unified School District.

“I am beyond excited to join the Laguna Beach Unified team,” Moss said. “I look forward to collaborating and supporting our students, families, and staff. It is a privilege to join the district team, and I cannot wait.”

Moss was selected from a pool of 29 applicants, 13 of whom participated in the screening round of interviews. Five candidates were interviewed separately in the second round by a panel of teachers, support staff, and administrators. Three candidates were selected for the final interview panel.

LBUSD will host a series of meet and greet events for the Top of the World Elementary school community, including teachers and staff, to meet Turner once his official start date is determined.

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