2010-09-30 / Schools
New head of schools shares outlook on public education
On July 1, I became superintendent, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on a wide variety of topics.
Please allow me to start by introducing myself and discussing some of my beliefs about public education.
I was raised in Ventura County and graduated from Buena High School in 1972. I was a member of the first fouryear graduating class at Pepperdine University in Malibu, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
I continued my education with a master’s degree in developmental psychology from the University of Denver and a doctorate in educational organization and policy studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Along the way, I earned a California teaching credential and administrative credential from our very own California Lutheran University (back in those days, it was called California Lutheran College).
Of my 33 years in public education, 25 were spent in the Hueneme School District as an elementary and middle school teacher and principal, and assistant superintendent. Seven years ago I joined CVUSD as deputy superintendent in charge of business services, where I have been more than occupied managing the complex business operations of our district.
I have been married for 32 years to my wife, Jenny, and we are proud parents of two adult children. I am honored and humbled to have been named your superintendent.
It is a huge responsibility, one that, for me, is far more than just a promotion; it is a calling.
Since I was named superintendent, I have been asked by a variety of people to share my beliefs about public education, a very valid question from my perspective, so here goes: I believe each child is a unique gift from God. There are 21,000 children in our school district, and each and every one of them matters.
Every day, parents trust us with this gift. It is an awesome responsibility, indeed, a sacred trust.
The greatest gift we can give in return is an excellent academic education.
In public education we are asked to address many pressing problems of youth, but our primary focus must always remain preparing students to be college and career ready.
As public educators, we are professionals, but we are also missionaries. What we do has great intrinsic meaning; it changes lives.
Public education is still the bedrock of our American Democracy. We are constantly preparing the next generation of informed and involved citizens. We provide the keys to prosperity for the great majority of our students.
In the Conejo Valley, parents have many choices in educating their children, including private schools, charter schools and home schooling.
Just like businesses, we must compete for our clients. We must offer a consistent and quality product and great customer service.
This is what I believe; this is what I will promote, and, as necessary, this is what I will fight for. I hope to earn your support.
Baarstad is the superintendent of Conejo Valley Unified School District. The Superintendent’s Column will appear monthly in the Thousand Oaks Acorn during the school year.