Hermosa Beach school superintendent retires

Retiring school Superintendent Bruce Newlin with former school board member Greg Breen and current member Jack Burns, shortly before the mayor’s State of the City address in March. Photo by Robb Fulcher

Hermosa Beach city school Superintendent Bruce Newlin has announced his resignation, sticking to the plan he made three years ago when he came out of retirement to lead the small, 1,300-student district.

Newlin announced his retirement to the school board on Wednesday, saying his hopes of shepherding the district through the economic downturn were stymied by the downturn’s length and depth.

Even if the economy picks up in the next couple of years, the effects on education will last significantly longer, Newlin told the board.

He said officials must focus on “educational sustainability” as new models surface, including online teaching and “blended learning,” which combines computer-based teaching with in-person teaching.

“Education will look different” in 20 years, or perhaps sooner, Newlin said.

He told the board his career in education will end when his resignation becomes effective Dec. 31.

“It is not my goal to leave the district as the oldest sitting superintendent in the U.S…I will enter a new phase of my life called retirement,” he said.

“As a retiree myself, I understand,” School board member Ray Waters said. “It’s great.”

Board members praised Newlin for his leadership, saying he brought to the district a more cooperative form of labor negotiations called “interest-based bargaining,” and helped spearhead a comprehensive ongoing study of the district’s financial future.

Newlin also steered the district during “Project Forward,” a push for greater financial accountability and clearer communication with the public, which followed a failed parcel-tax measure under his predecessor.

Board member Jack Burns said in an interview that Newlin’s resignation date leaves plenty of time to find a permanent or interim replacement.

Newlin had served as interim superintendent when he signed on in Hermosa, and then was named superintendent by the school board following a nationwide search. He replaced Sharon McClain, who resigned to take the helm of the larger Del Mar Union School District in coastal San Diego County.
At the time, Newlin declared a three-year commitment to the superintendent’s position.

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