Meet Your Superintendent | Dr. Catherine Kawaguchi and Kerry Clegg, Sulphur Springs District
The Sulphur Springs School District recently welcomed in a new superintendent, Dr. Catherine Kawaguchi.
Kawaguchi is a wife and mother of two who started her career as an elementary school teacher. Over the span of 15 years she spent much of her time teaching sixth grade.
“One of the things Sulphur Springs School District brings is a sense of family,” said Kawaguchi. “I came from Ventura County, where I was born and raised, so that sense of family was really important to me.”
Before becoming superintendent at Sulphur Springs School District, Kawaguchi was an Assistant Superintendent Educational Services from the Oxnard School District in Ventura County.
There are nine schools in the district and Kawaguchi makes her best effort to visit all of them.
“If I come to the district office it’s usually harder for me to get out. Being with the kids and seeing what they do every day is why we do what we do.”
“We meet monthly and we talk about things that are going on within the valley because we share similar areas of challenges or successes,” said Kawaguchi.
In addition to Kawaguchi becoming the Sulphur Springs School District superintendent, the district has also made some changes and has run into some challenges.
“I look at challenges as always opportunities, I always look at it as a positive,” said Kawaguchi. “I always feel, especially as a superintendent, there’s not enough time in the day to get to see the kids. I just have to say, that’s a challenge.”
In addition to being new to the district, Kawaguchi welcomed new staff members this summer and underwent training with them.
“We’ve had a lot of staff changes this year. We’ve hired a number of new principals, we have some district office staff changes and assistant principal, assistant superintendent positions that have come up,” said Dr. Kerry Clegg, president of the Sulphur Springs School District Board of Trustees. “And of course the superintendent, she’s only been here for seven months, but already she’s starting to put her mark on things.”
Teachers are being trained in English Language Development Common Core. Common Core is a research and evidence based curriculum aims to facilitate clear, understandable and consistent learning aligned with college and career expectations that is based on rigorous content and the application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills, according to the core standards website.
“Common Core has really forced districts to work together if they aren’t unified, which is really nice, and really preparing our children,” said Kawaguchi. “We have a one to three ratio, so for every three children we have one Ipad. The children working together has really strengthened their skill set, and that to me is a huge success.
Teachers are also preparing for the launch of the Next Generation Science Standards, or NGSS. The new standards are slated to be fully implemented by the 2017-18 school year.
The Sulphur Springs school board has also recently adopted a new, three year arts plan. The school will be working closely with College of the Canyons and aims to bring more music and dancing to classrooms.
“One of our goals in the district is have art as part of core,” said Kawaguchi. “I really feel passionate as a superintendent about that and I don’t think that art should only be for some kids, it should be for all.”
Sulphur Springs School District shares families with the William S. Hart Union High School District and works hard to make sure when their students move on, they are prepared.
“Hart works with us so they know what our children are learning,” Kawaguchi said. “When they come to the high school they are prepared.”(c) SCVTV 2015