Newly hired Tehachapi Unified School District Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson is looking forward to helping the district improve school culture, highlight student achievements, link communication between stakeholders, and successfully work on any challenges.
"I'm just so happy to be here," Larson-Everson said in an interview with Tehachapi News. "It's like coming home."
Larson-Everson has been active in her duties for just a few weeks, but is already thinking of ways to meet the needs of the district.
"There are going to be some things we need to continue doing and some things we need to stop doing. That's not a decision for me to make alone. That's really a true collaborative conversation working with staff to figure out how we can improve outcomes for students," said Larson-Everson.
Active communication and decision making with everyone is important.
In the future, Larson-Everson hopes to create an informal meeting each month for community members to come and meet with her to express their concerns. The time and place is still under discussion.
"I'm looking forward to doing that so parents and community members know that I will be available at that time. It doesn't have to be agendized or need to have an appointment to be able to come by," said Larson-Everson.
Visiting the classroom and speaking with students and teachers is essential to improving school culture and recognizing achievements.
"It goes beyond just academics and success," the news superintendent said. "We also want kids to feel comfortable, safe, happy and engaged when they are at school."
Engagement is key to understanding how students feel at school.
She added, "Do they have friends? What are the things they like to do? Do they feel someone on campus cares for them ? It's all those pieces."
More than just collecting hard data is needed; it's connecting with people.
"It's the person to person communication and having opportunities to hear directly from our stakeholders and then we take that information along with the hard data to help us guide our decisions in moving forward," said Larson-Everson.
She said making sure activities, accomplishments and work of staff and students is recognized at board meetings is a goal.
"Kids, just like the rest of us, have many facets of talent and not everybody is headed to be a mathematician, and not everybody is an artist. We have kids that excel in many different ways, whether that is through art or robotics and we really want to highlight and recognize those students," said Larson-Everson.
She has served for the past four years as the assistant superintendent in education services for the Bellflower Unified School District near Long Beach.
Larson-Everson also served in a rural community similar to Tehachapi. At Fallbrook Union School District, with a student population of more than 8,000, she served as an administrator and director for the services for English language learners.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Nevada and a master’s degree in educational leadership from National University.
The school board agreed to hire Larson-Everson from fiscal years of 2019-2021 at the April 9 regular board meeting. Her duties officially began July 1, after a search of more than a year concluded with her hiring.
Board member Joe Wallek said in an interview, "I support her and I think she will do wonderful. Everything I have seen so far has been positive."