OUSD Superintendent Announces Retirement after Years of Service

(Sally Hogarty, Photographer)
OUSD Superintendent Dr. Carolyn Seaton announced her retirement in May after five years with the district. She and her husband are moving to Colorado to be closer to family.

    After 37 years in education, Dr. Carolyn Seaton will retire this July. She announced her decision at the Orinda Union School District (OUSD) Board of Trustees meeting in early May. The firm of Hazard, Young, Attea Associates has already begun a nation-wide search for her replacement.
    Seaton’s impressive credentials at various school districts include: 14 years as a teacher; seven years as either assistant principal or principal; nine years as executive director of education; and two years as executive director for human resources before accepting the position of OUSD Superintendent in 2016.
    “Serving here [OUSD] has been the pinnacle of my career. I was so honored to be selected to be the superintendent and so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together,” said Seaton. “And, by we, I mean the whole OUSD community. It doesn’t happen with one person. This is an amazing district. I’m excited about what is going to come, and I’ll be cheering from the sidelines.”
    The “sidelines” will be in Colorado where Seaton and her husband David are moving to be near their son and other family members.
“In her almost 40 years in public education, Carolyn has impacted countless students, teachers, staff and parents, and we in Orinda have been incredibly lucky to have her as the center of our District for the last five years,” said OUSD Board of Trustees President Liz Daoust. “She has been a transformative leader, and she has pushed OUSD forward in immeasurable ways.”
    Seaton said she is proud of so many things the district has accomplished with the passage of Measures E and I at the top of the list. The money from these measures is helping upgrade school facilities long in need of renovation. She pointed to the formation of the Orinda Network for Education (ONE) as another important accomplishment and applauds the perseverance of the various parents’ clubs to make it a reality. She also noted the pride she feels driving around town and seeing the “Everyone Belongs Here” signs.
    “The signs are a joint effort between OUSD and the City of Orinda,” Seaton said. “We have a lot more work to do, but I really want every educator, staff member, parent and particularly the children to feel welcomed, connected and celebrated.”
    Seaton acknowledges that this year of COVID-19 has been the most challenging, but also rewarding.
    “As educators, we truly had to take everything that we do and reimagine it. Remote education wasn’t something most public-school districts had delved into before,” she said. “The fact school districts and boards of trustees were put in a position to make decisions involving public health consequences was really unfortunate. Prior to this, we thought the public safety power shutoffs were stressful, but, in retrospect, that was just a drop in the bucket compared to what we’ve been dealing with.”
    Seaton also applauded her colleagues and board of trustees for their important work including fellow superintendents in Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Moraga and the Acalanes Union High School District.
    “We’ve met and talked and Zoomed countless times, sharing ideas and just brainstorming. We started calling ourselves the Walamorinda Superintendents,” she quipped.
    “Dr. Seaton’s can-do spirit and her stellar communication skills have been essential while our schools have faced arguably the greatest challenge in modern education with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Director of Curriculum and Instruction David Schrag. “She has helped to lead significant transformational change in our practices and improved nearly every facet of our schools. Dr. Seaton has done this with grace, finesse and a work ethic that is simply unmatched. She has also modeled for all of us how to continue to learn.”
    Seaton characterizes her leaving as bittersweet.
    “We’ve all gotten more connected during this pandemic, and I’ve been so fortunate to work with such a remarkable board and witness their fortitude, resilience and collective determination to rise to what was required in each moment,” she said. “They are all volunteers and I’ve grown quite fond of them. I also can’t say enough about our leadership team – directors and site leaders. They are an intelligent, dedicated group of educators. It has been such an honor to work here these past five years.”
    OUSD is looking for community input as it searches for a new superintendent. To fill out a survey, go to http://www.orindaschools.org/inputneeded.

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