Bonnie Bruington’s office is a sea of flowers. And for a very good reason: The longtime educator was appointed superintendent of the Santa Paula Elementary School District earlier this week.
“I’m really pleased the board has exhibited the faith in me to develop the district along the lines that they want, so that we do, in fact, become a world-class competitor,” said Bruington, who served as assistant superintendent for the last seven years.
“It’s a high quality of instruction that goes on in this district and we need to develop a process that will allow others to see the students’ growth here.”
Bruington was first assigned to temporarily replace Supt. Dave Philips during the search for a long-term superintendent in December, when the Board of Trustees placed Philips on administrative leave because of a salary dispute and concern over his administrative style. After months of debate, the board decided to buy out Philips’ contract. According to district figures, the amount owed Philips could be as high as $95,000. Philips had overseen the 3,600-student district since 1989.
Board President Dan Robles said moving Bruington into the position will have a positive effect on the district.
“She seems to fit the bill of the criteria of what people wanted in the district--parents and teachers alike,” Robles said.
“We’ve managed to see her in action for a few weeks and have been able to see how she relates to management,” he said, adding that Bruington exhibits a willingness to bring the district together to work as a team.
Bruington was appointed Monday at a special board meeting in closed session. A final employment contract will be finalized in a special meeting March 6.