By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
Laura Schwalm has formally announced her intent to retire as superintendent of the Garden Grove Unified School District.
Schwalm has worked for 40 years in the district, which serves roughly 48,000 students from Garden Grove, Westminster, Stanton, Fountain Valley, Cypress, Santa Ana and Anaheim.
Schwalm’s tenure as the superintendent began 14 years ago, but her career with GGUSD started as a student teacher.
She went on to continue teaching in primary and secondary education in the district, later serving in a variety of administrative positions.
“Absolutely everything has been achieved during my years as superintendent I credit to the work of a highly qualified and committed leadership team, talented and caring teachers, dedicated support personnel and classified staff and a very supportive board of education,” said Schwalm, in the press release handed out at the end of Tuesday’s board meeting.
“Leaving the district and community I have come to love will be difficult; however I do so with the peace of mind that comes from knowing I leave the GGUSD in very capable and committed hands,” the release concluded.
Schwalm has seen a multitude of projects in her career, the most recent and large scale is the $250 million Measure A improvements bond, approved by the public in 2010 and put into motion in summer 2012.
All the schools in the district will be seeing technological improvements and facilities repairs, while some have and will receive massive utility overhauls.
On top of the massive project load, the district received the Broad Prize for Urban Education as the best large public school system in the nation, a laurel that also garnered $750,000 for scholarships.
Also, the district’s Academic Performance Index has surpassed the overall state target and exceeds the statewide averages.
The wheels for choosing a successor are already turning.
“The concept of succession planning is the goal is to build a strong leadership pool within the organization,” stated George West, school board president.
This will be done through a “well-articulated process” and there will be a special meeting on Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. at the district education center at 10331 Stanford Ave. to get comments from invited parent, community and employee representatives.