Little Fanfare Greets New Principal

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By Rita Robinson | LB Indy

Christopher Herzfeld
Christopher Herzfeld

Without so much as a single handclap, Chris Herzfeld, a 12-year Laguna Beach resident and veteran educator, was unanimously confirmed as the new principal of Laguna Beach High School at a special meeting of the Laguna Beach school board Tuesday, Oct. 7.

He replaces much-liked Joanne Culverhouse, who was recruited by former LBHS Principal Don Austin to join him as an administrator of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District shortly before this school year began.

With 30 years of experience as a teacher, coach and administrator, including 10 years as Fountain Valley High School principal, Herzfeld starts work in Laguna Beach on Monday, Oct. 13, at a salary of $158,871 annually, according to district administrators. He has worked for the Huntington Beach Union High School District since 1999.

Carol Reynolds, a longtime Laguna Beach resident, told board members she was upset with district administrators for not including more of the non-school community in the selection process. Even so, Reynolds said she was pleased with Herzfeld’s hiring.

Herzfeld was not present at the meeting where his hiring was the only action item on the agenda.

Herzfeld completed his undergraduate studies at Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colo., and earned a master’s degree in administration, supervision and curriculum at the University of Colorado. He and his family are residents of Laguna Beach and his four-year-old daughter will be attending district schools next school year.

“We are faced with preparing students for global citizenship and careers that will look nothing like the world of careers that we know,” Herzfeld said in a statement. “Twenty-first century fluency means that all our students will have to be entrepreneurs, artists, videographers, journalists and website designers, no matter what line of work they choose. In many ways, our students are already way ahead of us regarding technology and social media, so our job will be to harness the instructional power of these tools, while providing the skills and character traits to navigate the affiliated minefields.”

Superintendent Sherine Smith, in a statement, described Herzfeld as, “a strong instructional leader who has focused his efforts on meeting the needs of students, establishing a student-centered climate, and hiring and supporting high quality teachers. I am confident he will work closely with the school community to ensure Laguna Beach continues its upward trajectory of success.”

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