OUSD chief may leave
BDr. Van Riley, superintendent
of the Ojai Unified School District, announced Thursday that
he is the top candidate to take the same position with the Huntington
Beach Union High School District, with a July 1 starting date.
In a memo to district staff, Riley - hired in 2000 - wrote that,
"In the past three years we have made great strides in many
areas ... We have also worked through all the issues surrounding
declining enrollment and budget deficits. Ojai is strong and
heading in the right direction."
Though the Huntington School District has apparently announced
Riley as their selection, the process won't be final until May
6, Riley's memo stated.
Huntington Beach Union High School District, located in Orange
County, includes eight high schools, including Valley Vista,
a continuation school, and Coast High School, an alternative
school. Total enrollment in 2001-02 school year was 14,434. That's
a 360 percent increase from Ojai's 3,950 students.
"This is a real advancement for him," said board member
Bob Unruhe. "I congratulate him and wish him well."
Unruhe said that Riley made significant improvements to the district's
special education and building programs. "He's made some
real strong contributions to the district," he said. "He
can take real pride in having done that."
The board is scheduled to meet May 1 to decide on the process
of replacing Dr. Riley. The two most likely options are to seek
candidates and hire a replacement themselves, or to contract
with a recruiting agency.
"We've got a big challenge ahead," Unruhe said. "But
I think we're up to the task."
Riley concluded his staff memo by writing, "Remember, change
is imminent. How we handle change is up to us."
© 2003 The
Ojai Valley News
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