Mary Gorsuch named next superintendent
March 05, 2014As of July 1, the Valley Center Pauma Unified School District will have a new superintendent at the helm. Mary Gorsuch, long-time Valley Center educator and current assistant superintendent, will be filling the opening left by Dr. Lou Obermeyer's retirement.
The VCPUSD Board of Education unanimously appointed Gorsuch to the position at a special meeting held on Feb. 26. With over 23 years of experience in the school district, as well as six years working side-by-side Obermeyer, Gorsuch appears to be an ideal choice for the position.
"It's a great honor to continue the wonderful tradition of success and innovation that we have in our district, to continue leading the district that I love so much," said Gorsuch. "Our district is really special because we are so close and we're such a big, extended family."
First arriving in the district in 1991 as a teacher, Gorsuch says she "just felt like it was home" as soon as she met the administration and teachers.
From 1991-98, Gorsuch taught kindergarten, fourth and fifth grade at almost all the schools in the district, as well as coaching drama at Valley Center Middle School. After a brief tenure as assistant principal at Valley Center Elementary Upper School, Gorsuch was appointed principal of Pauma School & Palomar Mountain School in 2002, a post she held until taking her current position of assistant superintendent in 2008.
Gorsuch was also named the State Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators in 2013. Despite her success, Gorsuch remains humble and prefers to think of her award as a mark of the district's achievement, rather than her own.
"It's a wonderful honor and I'm really happy about it, but I'm really happy that it represents the entire team," said Gorsuch. "It's an honor for our whole team."
As far as her agenda as superintendent, Gorsuch says she plans to stay the course by maintaining strong relationships with district employees, continuing to implement technology effectively, and preparing every student for college.
"I'm not thinking about making a lot of changes at all, but rather, continuing us on the trajectory that we've been on — continuing that trajectory of success," said Gorsuch. "We've kept our focus on improving student learning and I'll support and continue that focus."
Gorsuch also witnessed the tough financial times of recent years and says she is mindful of the challenges that lay ahead.
"We need to make sure that as the next budget years come through that we are fiscally responsible and that we use the new funding that's coming through for maximum student learning," said Gorsuch. "Budgets are always going to be a challenge because we never know what the future's going to bring, so we need to prepare."
Gorsuch and her husband of 36 years, Scott, live in Escondido with their new dog, Pilot. They have two grown daughters, Amy and Lisa, both of whom went through Valley Center schools. Gorsuch also has two grandchildren.
In her free time, Gorsuch counts reading and running among her favorite hobbies. She has run several half-marathons, and last year she even completed the triple-crown, or three half-marathons in one year
"When I'm running, it's a great time to think," said Gorsuch.
Gorsuch will take up the torch from Dr. Lou Obermeyer, who announced her retirement at the regular meeting of the school board on Feb. 13. After eight years serving as superintendent in Valley Center, Obermeyer is looking forward to spending more time with her already-retired husband.
"[Obermeyer] brought us through hard times and at the same time built the team and the strong bonds that we enjoy today," said Gorsuch. "Under her leadership we regained financial stability, we increased student achievement, and our district has won many, many awards under her leadership. And beyond that we know her for her wisdom, her strength, her kindness."
After six years working closely with Obermeyer, Gorsuch stands ready to assume the responsibilities of VCPUSD's next superintendent.
"In every single aspect of leadership I've learned from her example. She's a marvelous role model and also a very effective coach, and she's inspirational too," said Gorsuch. "I'm so happy for her and her husband that they're going to have this retirement time together."