Schools Hire a Top Administrator

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The Laguna Beach school board approved hiring Alysia Odipo as assistant superintendent of instructional services in a special meeting Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Alysia Odipo
Alysia Odipo

Odipo replaces Darlene Messinger, who retired after 30 years as an educator, effective, July 29. Odipo starts work in Laguna mid month at a salary of $178,377, according to a district report supplied at the meeting.

Under the general direction of the superintendent, the assistant superintendent plans, organizes and directs all elementary and secondary education programs, special education and pupil services, technology services and evaluates the directors who supervise these programs, according to district spokeswoman Leisa Winston.

Odipo was selected from a pool of 38 applicants, said the newly hired superintendent, Jason Viloria.

She currently works as director of elementary education in the Bellflower Unified School District. Previously, she was principal of Quail Summit Elementary School in Walnut Valley, where she also worked as a middle school assistant principal, literacy coach and elementary teacher.

Viloria said Odipo comes from a family of educators and earned high praise from three superintendents.

Odipo earned a doctorate degree in secondary education leadership from the University of Southern California, says an announcement. She also earned degrees in educational leadership from California State University, Los Angeles, and liberal studies from Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She teaches as an adjunct professor at UC Irvine, says the statement.

“I am thrilled about my new position in Laguna Beach Unified and look forward to transitioning,” she said in an e-mail. “I’m honored to work in such a dynamic community and work alongside outstanding educators.”

Odipo lives in Fullerton with her husband, Ben Odipo, a native of Kenya, and two children. He is the assistant superintendent of information technology in the Corona-Norco Unified School District.

Odipo isn’t entirely a newcomer to Laguna. Her mother, Marge Hobbs, led Top of the World Elementary as its principal from 1990 to 1993, the statement says.

“I think she is a fantastic fit to take over from Darlene,” said Viloria.

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