The local School Board voted Wednesday evening to extend Temple City Unified School District (TCUSD) Superintendent Chelsea Kang-Smith’s employment contract.
Kang-Smith became the District superintendent on August 1, 2008. Her contract was expected to mature in three years, but the School Board lengthened it to 2012.
Soon after taking over, the TCUSD faced its biggest challenge in years: budget cuts. The School Board cut the 2008-2009 budget and handed out pink slips to teachers, clerks and custodial staff.
Despite the dire circumstances, School Boardmembers attested to the strong leadership Kang-Smith has shown during her first year.
School Board Vice-President Rachel LaSota, who previously voted against hiring Kang-Smith, stated it was a wise decision to stay with one leader, especially given the “downhill ride of the state.”
Matt Smith, Board Clerk and up for re-election in November, added that Kang-Smith “passed with fine colors.” He supported an extension of the superintendent’s contract.
While School Boardmembers supported the move, teachers from several of the District’s elementary schools did not. Teachers from Longden, La Rosa and Emperor elementary schools spoke up against extending Kang-Smith’s tenure an additional year. Some asked the School Board to wait a year before deciding to do so.
Teachers have been unhappy about the actions the School Board has taken the previous year. Some complained about having to buy their own supplies when there was a 23 percent reserve in funds. Others were furious about the pink slips and layoffs.
Chelsea Kang-Smith is the seventh and first Asian superintendent of the TCUSD.
She was previously an area superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, overseeing 27 schools. Kang-Smith has been a principal, assistant principal, a high school and middle school teacher, and a substitute teacher.
If a future School Board decides not to renew her contract, her last day will be June 30, 2012.
This article was written by Chris Du. It was published in the Temple City Voice on September 25, 2009.