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Community Commentary: Irvine superintendent to leave this year

December 03, 2010|By Gwen Gross

Like our favorite books, each of our careers in education has a beginning, a middle and an end. After much thought and reflection, I have decided that this year will mark my final chapter as superintendent, and I have appropriately notified the Board of Education of my intent to retire in June.

My life in public education has been a thrill ride that has lasted nearly 40 years, and I am particularly proud to finish it in the Irvine Unified School District. I don't have to tell you that this is a special place, full of dedicated professionals who have built world-class schools with wisdom, foresight and hard work. The spirit of this district was established long ago under founding Supt. Stan Corey, and I know it will endure with future generations of passionate educators.

I also know that the time is right for me to step down. As many of you are aware, my husband, Jerry, has been retired for several years now, and we have so many new memories to create with a family that includes two beautiful grandchildren.

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Of course there are always bittersweet feelings associated with a pending retirement. But I can make plans with the satisfaction and confidence that the district is in great hands. This district is guided by five of the finest Board of Education members I've ever worked with, and their insight is among the reasons we are on solid financial footing relative to other school systems. Moreover, the district has a tremendous leadership team in place, and it goes without saying that we have the most committed and talented staff.

In time, a new superintendent will join this dream team. As is customary, I will not be actively involved in the selection process, yet I know this district will do its due diligence with a comprehensive search that will yield candidates of the highest caliber.

I can tell you it has truly been a pleasure to work with each and every one of you, but now is not the time for sad goodbyes. We have more than six months left in the school year, and there's plenty of work to be done on behalf of our 27,000 students. Nevertheless, please allow me to take this opportunity to thank you once again for all of your daily efforts, and for choosing to make a difference in the lives of children.

GWEN GROSS is superintendent of the Irvine Unified School District.

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