Staff and parents hopeful for superintendent search
Now that it’s official – school district Superintendent Pat Gemma has decided to leave the mountains for the bay – the feelings of staff and parents have been diverse, mostly with sadness and hope.
“This is an excellent opportunity for him both personally and professionally,” said Sierra Mountain Middle School Principal Don Beno, who has been with the district for 13 years. “So, I have mixed emotions about him leaving.”
Beno also recognized that Gemma grappled with some serious issues at TTUSD, especially with the charter school and district’s reserves.
“He’s had a tremendous impact on our fiscal management. We were in a far different place four years ago than we are now,” he said.
The superintendent’s resignation was brought before the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board of Directors as an action item at its Wednesday meeting, making his departure a reality for those in the district.
“This is an excellent opportunity to bring our community together,” said Nancy Handel, a parent representative from Prosser Creek Charter School. “There are a lot of superintendents out there who are willing to work with a charter school.”
Glenshire Elementary’s Kathleen Gauthier has been a principal and vice principal for a few years and only under the direction of Gemma. Gauthier noted she’ll miss his philosophy and how he dealt with staff and the community.
“It’s going to be difficult working with someone else,” she said. “He always put the individual kids first – not what’s best for the district or the teachers, but what’s best for kids. And all kids are different. They’re individual.”
Gauthier said that Gemma’s principles of understanding by design – and not just memorization – have shaped the way she and others have instructed children in the past four years.
Some said they hoped the foundation Gemma helped create for the district will hold strong with a new superintendent.
Laurie Martin, director of Community and Youth Programs, said the superintendent created an infrastructure for programs serving students and their families.
“I hope he’s established a culture of openness and working toward positive change that, hopefully, our board and the search committee will continue in looking for a new candidate,” she said.