By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
State budget meltdowns. Economic uncertainty. Turmoil in the field of education. So who would want to head up a public school system these days?
Richard Tauer does, and he’ll get his chance on July 1 when he takes over as superintendent of the Westminster School District.
“I’m very excited about becoming a superintendent,” he said. “I have always been a very goal-oriented person and becoming a superintendent has been my professional goal since I began my career in teaching.”
Tauer, currently assistant superintendent for human resources, is replacing Dr. Sharon Nordheim, who is retiring. “I am very pleased that the board has such a high level of confidence in my work that they chose me to continue the excellent collaborative-based leadership approach of Dr. Nordheim.”
Calling himself a “quite feisty” 60-year-old, Tauer has been in education for 30 years, working as a teacher, a principal and a personnel director. He’s anxious to get started in his dream job despite all the rough waters in public education.
“We are entering a very difficult and challenging time, given the national and state economy,” said Tauer, “and that impacts public schools. These next two years will be particularly important as we navigate to maintain the highest possible educational program for our children.”
He’s got some resources some other districts don’t have, like a school bond issue, Measure 0, passed by WSD voters in 2008 which provided millions for school modernization.
Tauer is feeling optimistic that the district and he can come through with better things for local schools.
“We have worked very hard over the recent years to build strong relationships with our colleagues and partners: teachers, support staff, parents, and, of course, the board,” he said. “It is during the most difficult budget times that these relationships will be tested. As long as we remain steady and strong, and have faith and trust that we are all working for the best education for our children, we will come through these times unscathed.”
In May the WSD Board of Trustees approved a three-year contract for Tauer with an annual salary of $184,000, with 10 possible furlough days.
The WSD is a K-8 district dates back to 1872. Its student advance to the Huntington Beach Union High School District for ninth grade.