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Leisa Winston hired as Huntington Beach City School District superintendent

Leisa Winston has been hired as the superintendent of the Huntington Beach City School District.
Leisa Winston has been hired as the superintendent of the Huntington Beach City School District.
(Courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District)

Leisa Winston has been hired as superintendent of the Huntington Beach City School District, the district announced Thursday.

Winston will take over for interim Supt. Greg Magnuson starting on Jan. 4, pending contract negotiations and final board of trustees approval on Dec. 15.

She is currently the deputy superintendent of human resources and instructional services for the Laguna Beach Unified School District, a position she has held since July 2019. Before that, she spent nearly six years as Laguna Beach’s assistant superintendent of human resources and public communications.

“I’m really excited to work with the board and community,” Winston said. “Huntington Beach City is a really highly regarded school district with quality schools. They already have remarkable student achievement, so I’m just excited to start working with the staff, community and the board to really get a sense of what their vision is for what the school district could be. It’s a challenging time with everything going on, but I’m really excited about the opportunity.”

College View Elementary School, which has about 300 students on campus during the coronavirus pandemic, is back open following $18 million in renovations.

Winston, 44, an Aliso Niguel resident, also has worked as an assistant superintendent in the Westminster School District and a program specialist in the Capistrano Unified School District. She holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from Eastern Michigan University, a master’s of education from Oakland University and a doctor of education degree from Brandman University.

This year, she was named Region 17 Personnel Administrator of the Year by the Assn. of California School Administrators.

“I think I have a unique experience in that I have overseen HR instruction and communications for school districts,” Winston said. “Really, the only job I haven’t done is CBO, Chief Business Official or assistant superintendent of business. But I’ve worked closely with our CBO in our negotiations and things like that. So, I feel like I’ve had a well-rounded experience, and I’m ready for that next step.”

Magnuson was hired as interim superintendent for the Huntington Beach City School District in June, when Gregg Haulk resigned after nine years in charge.

HBCSD, which consists of six elementary schools and two middle schools, has been operating in a hybrid learning model during the coronavirus pandemic. Elementary school children went back to class on Oct. 26 on an a.m./p.m. split schedule, with middle school kids following a week later.

“The board [of trustees] wishes to extend its appreciation to Dr. Winston and each of the applicants who showed an interest in the position,” the Huntington Beach City School District said in a news release. “Trustees also want to express their gratitude to HBCSD employees, parents, students, community members and ESS search advisors for their valuable input throughout this process.”

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