Wade Lawrence officially takes the helm as principal of Coast Union High School July 1, nearly six months after being chosen on an interim basis. Lawrence’s appointment was confirmed by the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees at its May 17 meeting.
Lawrence is now also principal of Leffingwell High School and Cambria Community Day School.
District Superintendent Chris Adams said Lawrence received top marks in a field of 48 applicants, and that he was the reviewing committee’s “unanimous pick.” He’ll earn an annual salary of about $102,000
In that “very stringent process,” Adams said,
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what “came through loud and clear was his passion…his dedication shone through 100 percent. We’re very happy that someone ‘from the inside’ won this position.”
After teaching at Coast for 18 years, Lawrence, 45, has been in the principal’s chair on an interim basis since Jan. 17.
He is focusing on his major goals. Among them are:
• Increasing outreach between the school and the community, to involve more parents;
• Juggling pressures of stripped-down budgets and declining enrollment — down from 350 students about eight years ago to 216 at the end of the 2011-2012 school year—with increasing demands for modern technology and college/job-market readiness for students;
• Blending tried-and-true teaching methods with less common strategies and the latest technology;
• Emphasizing all forms of literacy, “not just reading and writing, but oral literacy proficiency … and in word processing ...”;
• Having that technology available to all, with three computer labs, one of which can handle 26 students at once;
• Teaching students to work together, with more projects shared by teams of students, or cross-curricular work between one class and another;
• An equal emphasis on rules, regulations and good citizenship; and
• Encouraging staff to stretch their wings, too, with new software and updated teaching techniques, “not just lectures, overheads and notes.”
Lawrence received his bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Santa Barbara in 1991, and his master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Cal Poly in September 2011.
The avid cyclist lives in Templeton with his wife, Kathy, a special education teacher in Paso Robles.
Wade Lawrence succeeds Karl Dearie, who moved to the school district office on a fulltime basis in January as an assistant superintendent. Dearie had been high school principal for six years. For the last two years, he’s split duties between the district and the high school. He’s now also taking on duties previously performed by Business Services Manager Sharon “Cookie” Henslin, who is retiring at the end of the month.