Source: Valley Roadrunner

VCPUSD superintendent announces retirement

by Michael Crane
Staff writer

February 20, 2014

After eight years of dedicated service as superintendent of the Valley Center Pauma Unified School District, Dr. Lou Obermeyer will be retiring at the end of the school year.

Obermeyer made the announcement at the meeting of the school board on Feb. 13, citing her wish to spend more time with her husband as the reason for her decision.

“It’s very mixed feelings to let you all know this, but it is time for me to move on to the next part of my life,” Obermeyer said at the outset of the meeting. “I am just so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to serve as the superintendent of such an outstanding school district.”

Surprise and sadness were clear on the faces of many in the audience, and Obermeyer’s great positive impact on the community was made obvious by a standing ovation from all who were present.

Since she was appointed superintendent in January 2006, Obermeyer has steered the district through financial hardships and overseen district-wide improvements in student achievement.

Obermeyer was also awarded the prestigious Superintendent of the Year award in 2011 by the Association of California School Administrators.

“That was a highlight. It a surprise and something I never ever expected. It was very meaningful to be selected,” said Obermeyer. “Honestly one of the highest honors I’ve ever received.”

Looking back on her tenure, Obermeyer is most proud of the increase in student achievement, positive relationships with union leadership and district employees, and how closely VCPUSD administrators and principals have worked together.

Undoubtedly, one of the largest feathers in Obermeyer’s cap has to be the district’s resiliency weathering the financial woes that plagued it, especially at the beginning of her term.

“One of the first things I had to do when I came to our school district in ’06 was do budget cuts, and yet even with the budget cuts we’ve pulled through and now have very high reserves, and did it without having to have furlough days for teachers or fewer school days for students or roll backs in salaries for employees,” Obermeyer told The Valley Roadrunner.

After the school board renewed Obermeyer’s contact in January, she shared the news with her husband, Roger. A retired educator himself, Roger was very excited for his wife, but after talking it over, Obermeyer decided it was time to spend more time with her husband.

“He supports my career and he supports what I want to do professionally, but he’s also ready to spend some of his retirement with me,” said Obermeyer. “I had to really think about it, and I thought ‘you know, the time just seems right.”

Obermeyer says she has no big plans for her retirement at the moment, but hopes to continue camping with her husband, a favorite activity of theirs since they were married 31 years ago. She also hopes to remain active in the Rotary Club of Valley Center; an organization that she says is very “near and dear to my heart.”

Prior to her current position, Obermeyer taught middle school English and Home Economics and held various administrative posts in Riverside County and Temecula. She was also the superintendent at Atwater Elementary School District for two years before coming to Valley Center.

She says the people in the district office, at all the school sites, and around the community are what have really made her time in Valley Center so special.

Looking to the future, Obermeyer sees the main challenges lying ahead for VCPUSD to be providing appropriate technology for teachers and students in the classroom, and transitioning smoothly into the Common Core State Standards and related assessments.

The school board will be meeting in the coming months to decide upon Obermeyer’s successor. As School Board President Don Martin quipped at last Thursday’s meeting, the compact Obermeyer may not wear big shoes, but any successor will certainly have a heck of a time filling them.

“It’s been a special place to be and work and it’s going to be tough to move on down the road, but I knew it was going to happen soon or later,” Obermeyer said. This just seemed like a really good time to go ahead and make the final decision.