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School board hires new district chief

May 17, 2006|By Michael Miller

There were two singular things about the Newport-Mesa Unified School District's Tuesday board meeting. First, the district finally appointed Jeffrey Hubbard as its new superintendent, ending a nationwide search that went on for months.

Second, the meeting adjourned with the sun still shining. No one wanted to put much else on the agenda, given the ceremony waiting outside, and the result was the shortest school board meeting in recent memory: a whopping 30 minutes.

In a room packed with Newport-Mesa principals, county educators, parents and others, the board members voted unanimously to approve Hubbard as their new superintendent. The agenda contained no other voting items, but the board still raced to get through it; when President David Brooks began to formally announce Hubbard as the new superintendent, clerk Judy Franco reminded him that the board hadn't yet voted to accept him.

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A moment later, seven voices sounded, "Aye," and it was a done deal. In a short speech after his acceptance, Hubbard paid tribute to his predecessor, current Supt. Robert Barbot, and thanked the community members who helped with the superintendent search.

"I know you, as a board, and the community have entrusted me to take care of children," Hubbard said. "That is a tremendous responsibility, and I promise I'll never let you down."

The board members themselves made brief remarks about Hubbard, most of them lighthearted in tone.

"I always look for something wrong, but I haven't found it yet," Tom Egan said, getting a laugh from the audience.

Later, citing Hubbard's favorite football team, he began, "I'm not a USC fan, but ?"

"Get used to it," retorted Martha Fluor.

"Dr. Hubbard is very courageous," Serene Stokes said on a more serious note. "We have a superintendent we've loved for the last eight years."

Afterward, those in attendance packed the indoor courtyard for chocolate strawberries, crackers and other refreshments, while Hubbard shook hands and mingled with his new clientele. He expects to take office on July 1, the day after Barbot retires.

A Southern California native, Hubbard graduated from the Rim of the World School District in Lake Arrowhead and later became a teacher and administrator there. He started in Beverly Hills as assistant superintendent for human resources, then took the top job in 2003 when his predecessor resigned.

In April, Hubbard announced that he had accepted the Newport-Mesa job. In the ensuing weeks, the school board visited Beverly Hills Unified to speak to Hubbard's colleagues and negotiated a contract with him. Last week, the district announced his selection as superintendent.dpt.17-hubbard-CPhotoInfoN81R1CRP20060517ize6qoncMARK DUSTIN / DAILY PILOT(LA)Jeffrey Hubbard, the new superintendent of the Newport-Mesa district, shakes hands with high school senior Elizabeth Crosby.

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