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Commentary

Looking back and looking forward

Retiring Eureka school chief reflects on career, community
By: Bob Schultz Eureka Union School District superintendent, retired
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I look back on 10 years with the Eureka Union School District and 36 years in public education with many fond memories as I retire and turn the reins of the district over to Dr. Tim McCarty. There are many things that made the last 10 years here in Granite Bay and Roseville so special. I got to get into every classroom in the district every year to see many outstanding educators working their magic with attentive and enthusiastic students with involved and supportive parents encouraging and expecting the best from their children and our schools. As a result of everyone’s hard work, Eureka has consistently held the highest Academic Performance Index of any district in the surrounding five counties. I served on many, many committees within the district and beyond that have helped us to define our mission and to improve on our educational practices. Watching our teachers, administrators, aides and other staff members continually renew their skills and knowledge through staff development training, workshops, reading groups and just learning from each other was always exciting. Working in the Eureka Union School District also meant working closely with parents and the community. The Eureka Schools Foundation and Parent Teacher Clubs do an amazing job of supporting our schools with their time and through their fundraising efforts. For me, that meant getting drenched in the dunk tank, jogging around trying to keep up with the kids, throwing barbecues for generous donors, and enjoying home tours and country fairs, golf tournaments and auctions, read-a-thons and many other worthwhile family events. We also had parent advisory groups for special education, the budget, safe and drug free schools, nutrition and other topics that have brought their collective wisdom and insights to support and strengthen our programs. The Eureka Union School Board guided the community through the growth years as we added school after school and now they have had the foresight to develop a long range plan and take actions to focus our collective energies on what students need now and in the future and to reduce costs to more effectively address those needs. Last year was an amazing school year in which a core group of parents, staff and community members developed a vision and a long range plan with input and support from a broad range of people. The hard work culminated with a community forum that drew a crowd of more than 400 people and a series of board meetings that resulted in decisions to close our three fourth- through sixth-grade schools and reconfigure to have three schools for kindergarten through fifth grade and two schools for sixth through eighth grade beginning in 2009-2010. Now Dr. McCarty steps in as the district’s fifth superintendent to implement those historic and exciting changes and to make final decisions on a potential charter or magnet school in the district. It has been a pleasure to serve this community and I look forward to watching the district grow stronger and even more effective in the future.